According to my research, I’ve made a summary of most of what you need to know about proteins, in order to estimate your needs as part of a healthy diet.
WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Proteins are part of the basis of a healthy diet. They are crucial for muscle repair as well as for skin regeneration and hair and nails regrowth. They provide essential hormones, amino acids (needed for muscle recovery) and immune function (prevent sickness).
Another protein benefit is that it assist our satiety, which means we feel full after we have eaten a meal containing protein. Therefore, by including protein at each main meal you avoid cravings and constant unhealthy snacking.
Contrary, excessive consumption of protein can overload the kidney, which will have a hard time eliminating waste.
Proteins are made of amino acids. There are 22, 9 of which are called essential amino acids, as they need to come from your diet as your body cannot produce them.
WHERE TO FIND PROTEIN?
All animal sources of protein provide all amino acids (essential ones included) that your body needs. However, plant sources of protein provide only some of the amino acids that our body needs to function effectively. That means you must be careful to vary your protein sources.
Thus, complete sources of protein are the following : Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs and Dairy.
Animal protein is generally better absorbed. Indeed, it contains a higher concentration of leucine than other protein sources. Leucine is involved in muscular development and increases the assimilation of protein in a meal.
- Good sources of animal protein are :
Eggs, Chicken Breast, Turkey, Lean beef, Tuna, Salmon and Greek Yougurt.
However, pay attention to the quality of the meat you chose. For instance processed red meat is linked to heart disease.
- Good sources of plant protein (which are very high in fiber too) are :
Quinoa, Broccoli (steamed), Lentils, Nuts & Beans of any kind.
Soy contains, in proportion to its amount, more protein than beef and more calcium than milk.
PROTEIN POWDERS : ARE THEY MADE FOR YOU ?
Protein powder should be consumed in supplement as part of a balanced diet and a regular exercise practice.
- Whey protein is the most common one. It is a complete protein made from milk.
- Soy protein is also a complete protein, and it is made from soybeans.
- Pea protein regulates blood glucose levels, and it is gluten, lactose and soy free : great for a plant-based diet!
HOW TO ESTIMATE YOUR NEEDS?
The need of protein is calculated accroding to your weight (in grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight).
Your daily requirement of protein (in grams) is the following : g = weight (kg) x factor above.
|Adults :||0.83 g per Kg of body weight per day.|
|Children and Teenagers :||Between 0.83 and 1.31 g per Kg of body weight per day.|
|Pregnant women :||Additional intake of 1 g, 9 g and 28 g per day respectively for the first, second and third quarter.|
|Breastfeeding women :||Additional intake of 19 g per day during the first 6 months of breastfeeding, and 13 g per day thereafter.|
According to the European Food Safety Autority (EFSA)