In the world of health and nutrition, carbohydrates and fat seem to get all the love and attention. Everyone wants to know how many carbs they should eat or how much fat is too much.
Meanwhile, the third macronutrient, protein, is vitally important to our health, yet gets less attention than the other two. And this is why so many people aren’t getting enough protein into their diet.
Why Protein is So Important
Of all of the macronutrients, we’ve actually got to put protein at the very top as far as importance. Without protein, your body can’t build and repair itself. Sure, carbs and fat are important as well, but without protein, you simply couldn’t exist.
Protein are the essential building blocks of all tissues and organs of the body including:
- cartilage, tendons and ligaments
- skin, hair and nails
- blood proteins (haemoglobin, transferrin, albumin and globulins)
- immune system antibodies
Proteins also help control blood sugar levels, heal wounds and fight off bacteria. Because proteins are constantly used to grow and maintain our bodies, they must also constantly be replaced. And, when we don’t get enough protein in our diets on a daily basis, what do you suppose happens to our health? It takes a hit.
How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day?
There are different schools of thought on the exact amounts of protein the average person requires. Some argue we need .8 to 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. If you are an athlete or body builder, they say you can go as high as 2.0 or 3.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
Some health experts like to put it into different language. They will say the average person requires half his or her bodyweight in protein each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be aiming to eat around 75 grams of protein per day. Again, athletes may need a bit more.
And then again, some people try to make it even simpler by saying to eat 20 – 30 grams of protein at each meal.
The thing that is important to mention here is that for years there were myths floating around that eating too much protein was bad for you. Like really bad.
The myths suggested that eating too much protein could hurt your bone density and even kidneys. But research has finally laid these myths to rest.
Eating too much protein is not a problem. But there are health risks from eating too little protein.
Signs of Protein Deficiency
If you’re wondering whether or not you may be getting too little protein each day, here are some of the most common symptoms of a protein deficiency.
Increased anxiety and moodiness can certainly be attributed to events going on in your life. But if there is nothing different going on, and yet you are noticing you’re feeling moody and anxious, this may be a sign you’re not eating enough protein.
Proteins are the building block for neurotransmitters in the brain that control mood. In addition, proteins help synthesize hormones like dopamine and serotonin that help bring on positive feelings like calm, excitement and positivity.
Poor sleep and insomnia are often linked to unstable blood sugar levels as well as a decrease in serotonin production. Serotonin eventually gets converted into melatonin, which is the chemical responsible for maintaining sleep cycles.
Eating more protein, especially at dinner, will help your body to produce tryptophan and serotonin and they have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels. That’s a win/win.
Protein builds muscle, and muscle is what powers our bodies. A low protein diet will result in muscle wasting, fatigue and even fat gain. If you’ve been trying to workout but have zero energy, or if you’re working out and not seeing much results, it’s a sign you don’t have enough protein to give you energy and repair tissues.
Without enough protein, our brains cannot function optimally. Remember those neurotransmitters I mentioned awhile back? Without protein, you don’t have adequate amounts of neurotransmitters, and without adequate amounts of neurotransmitters, you will experience poor concentration, brain fog, and trouble learning and remembering. In other words, protein is what helps our brains fire on all cylinders.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
One of the most common reasons women suffer from irregular periods and infertility is a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Two major risk factors for PCOS are obesity and pre-diabetes or diabetes. It is estimated that insulin resistance affects 50–70 percent of all women with PCOS.
Low-protein, high-sugar/high-carb diets typically lead to insulin resistance, fatigue, inflammation and weight gain that disrupts the delicate balance of female hormones (including that of estrogen, progesterone and DHEA) needed to sustain a regular cycle.
A low protein diet not only raises your risk for muscle loss, but also for bone weakness, fractures, slow bone healing and even osteoporosis. While calcium is important for bone health, protein is required for calcium absorption and healing. Older adults with the greatest bone loss have been found to be those with the lowest protein intake.
You Get Sick Often
There are many amino acids that are required to keep the entire immune system working properly. If you are one of those people that always seems to get sick with the flu or colds all winter, or if you have bad allergies, you may need to up your protein intake.
How to Get More Protein in Your Diet
Getting more protein into your diet is simple: stop filling up on sugary processed foods and carbohydrates and instead, focus on eating more meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds.
In addition to these foods, one of the absolute best and easiest ways to get quality protein into your diet each day is to supplement with a protein shake. But not all protein powders on the market were created equal. Some, in fact, are loaded with chemicals and carbs. This is NOT what you want.
Look for a protein powder that is pure, delicious, and will help you build lean muscle and lose weight.
Primal Lab’s Smash-It contains 25 grams of slow and fast-digesting QuadSource Protein Blend. We combine hormone-free whey, casein, pea, and cranberry seed proteins to help you:
- Feel fuller – and for longer
- Curb your cravings
- Build and maintain lean body mass
Smash-It! will supercharge your fat burning ability and metabolism – all while boosting your heart health and supercharging your energy levels. Not bad for a protein powder.