Understanding Macros: PROTEIN

Proteins are a macronutrient that are essential in your daily diet. It is important to learn about how to incorporate protein into your diet and why it is so beneficial for you to eat protein sources.

What are proteins?

Protein provides the body with amino acids which are necessary for muscles and important structures like the brain, nervous system, skin, and hair. Some amino acids can be made by your own body; however, others you can only get from your diet which are known as essential amino acids. There are different types of protein that supply amino acids.

Complete proteins provide all the amino acids that your body needs which are found in food such as meat, poultry, eggs and quinoa

Incomplete proteins provide some but not all the amino acids your body needs. Plant based proteins are typically incomplete proteins. But, if you eat multiple incomplete proteins such as nuts and seeds, you can get all the amino acids your body needs.   

Where can you find protein in your food?

Protein is found in a wide variety food. It can be found in either animal or plant protein sources. There is a misconception that vegetarians and vegans don’t receive enough protein in their diet. But if they eat enough plant protein sources, they are typically able to receive sufficient protein in their diet.

Foods that are high in protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Soya
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans
  • Tofu

Why do you need protein?

It is essential that you eat protein as a part of your diet as they help the body build, repair, and maintain body tissues. Protein can also help provide energy if your diet does not consist of enough carbohydrates. Everyone needs protein in their diet, but it can be beneficial for some people to eat more protein for different reasons.

Children need protein in their diet to help their bones grow

Athletes may need more protein to increase their muscle mass or endurance

Older adults may benefit from eating more protein as it helps prevent muscle loss that comes with aging

How much protein should be in your diet?

It is suggested that you consume roughly 0.8 – 1g of protein per 1kg of body weight daily. However, it is important to know that specific protein guidelines are heavily based on age, sex, and level of activity. If people are trying to reach a certain fitness goal, they will likely be consuming more protein.

To learn more about proteins visit: Protein – British Nutrition Foundation