Protein is an essential nutrient and one that gets a lot of well-deserved attention. Here are five reasons why protein is important, and how you can get enough.
Importance of Protein
These are just a few of the many reasons why you need protein.
Protein is a nutrient that is slow to digest. For that reason, it can help keep you full for longer after a meal than after a meal without protein. This can help you eat less overall, and it makes it easier to control weight. Another possible benefit of protein for weight control is that it helps prevent blood sugar spikes and decreases. These fluctuations can lead to excessive hunger and carb cravings.
Your muscles are made of protein. You need protein from your diet to maintain muscle mass, and to repair muscles and build new muscles when you exercise.
Proteins also make up other structures in your body and are part of skin, nails, hair, blood vessels, and bones, for example.
Your immune system comprises many types of proteins that help fight and destroy invading pathogens.
Your digestive system is jam-packed with proteins that help break down and use nutrients in food. You need to consume protein to replenish your supply.
Speaking of proteins that help with reactions, every reaction in your body requires protein!
How Much Protein Per Day?
A sedentary person needs about 0.8 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight. For someone who weighs 176 pounds, that would be about 64 grams of protein.
Another estimate is to get about 10 to 35% of calories from protein. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that would be 50 to 175 grams of protein daily.
People who are bariatric surgery patients may need more. There are also other people who may need more, such as elite athletes or people exercising intensely.
Foods with Protein
You can get protein from animal-based foods and from plant-based foods. These are some sources of protein.
- Meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish
- Dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and milk
- Beans, lentils, split peas, and soy products
- Whole grain products, such as oatmeal, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread and pasta
- Peanuts, nuts, and seeds
Vegetables have a small amount of protein.
Getting More Protein in Your Diet
There are times when you need more protein than what you normally get from your regular meals and snacks. It could be because you are extra active, or because you have undergone a surgical procedure, or because you have a malabsorptive condition. It could even be because you are sick of the regular sources of protein.
Netrition has all kinds of foods and beverages to make it easier to get more protein.
- Protein Shakes, Hot Drinks, and Smoothies
- Protein Bread, Cereal, Oatmeal, Pasta, and Potatoes
- Protein Bars
- Protein Snacks, such as Protein Chips, Pretzels, Cookies, and Chocolate
- Protein Pancakes, Waffles, Omelets, and Doughnuts
You can add these items in as snacks or as part of your meals, or use them instead of lower-protein alternatives.
With Netrition, it’s easy to get the nutrients you need. Our high-protein options are convenient, delicious, nutritious, and designed for your lifestyle. Browse our aisles and have fun on your meal plan!