As we are bombarded by the ads about protein bars and shakes, one might easily think that humans are deficient in protein. Marketers claim it even helps with weight loss and builds the muscles. But those are misleading statements and before you go and eat a new protein bar, make sure to read this article first.
As Mayo Clinic’s nutritionist Kristi Wempen explains, “contrary to all the hype that everyone needs more protein, most Americans get twice as much as they need.” And if you’re male of 14-70 years of age, you should actually decrease protein intake and reduce the consumption of eggs, meat, and poultry. What’s more, athletes also get too much protein even without all the supplements they use.
But protein is not what builds muscles. Rather, only through physical exercise and strength training your muscles will grow. Protein itself won’t do the job. And if you use too much of it, protein will be stored as fat and instead of muscles, you will increase the size of your belly.
In addition to this, increased intake of protein can lead to other serious health problems. For example, elevated blood lipids, heart disease, and problems with kidneys all happen because of high protein consumption. So, how much protein you should consume?
Doctors suggest that between 10 to 35 per cent of your daily calories intake should come from protein. If your body needs 2,500 calories each day to maintain the existing weight, you should consume somewhere between 250 to 875 calories from protein. That is equal to 60 to 185 grams of protein.
And if you have more than 40 years, the consumption should be higher. The reason is that around this time your body will start to lose muscles. To counter this threat, you need to exercise regularly and eat more protein to maintain the body weight. And if you are younger than 40, but exercise regularly, you should also increase the consumption of protein.
The healthiest source of protein is natural foods, and not supplements. If you want to eat more protein, consider consuming the following as recommended by the Mayo Clinic:
-Soy, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils
-Lean meats, such as skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey, and lean cuts of beef or pork
-A variety of fish
Don’t be fooled to believe that supplements are any more effective than whole foods. On the contrary, eating natural food could help us beyond the obvious as it might contain good nutrients that we aren’t even aware of.
At the same time, eating lab food is never a good idea as it is not natural. Another important point to keep in mind is to eat protein evenly throughout the day. Don’t skip it for breakfast as protein will keep you full and you’ll have fewer cravings.
And if you really want to consume protein supplements, experts suggest that you buy those with 200 or fewer calories, 2 grams or less of saturated fat, no trans-fat or partially hydrogenated oils, and 5 grams of sugar or less.
If you want to remain fit, you need to regularly exercise as well as to eat in a healthy way. Protein should be just one part of your diet, and you need to also consume fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy as well.
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