The Purpose For Protein

Protein is an important part of our diets not only because it builds muscle and bones and keeps cells in good working order, but because eating enough of it can make a meal more satisfying. Satisfying meals in turn could help you maintain your weight. Despite the evidence, many of us are still not getting as much as we should.

A 2008 analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 7.7% of adolescent females and about 8% of older adult women were not getting the minimum recommended amount. Do you know how much protein you should be consuming daily?

Protein requirements can be complicated because they change based on age and gender. 

Infants require about 10 grams a day
Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day
Teenage girls need 46 grams a day
Adult men need 56 grams a day
Adult women need 46 grams a day

For women, the recommended amount increases to 71 grams a day if you are pregnant or lactating. It is important to try and get enough protein in your day, especially if you are trying to lose weight. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing protein from 15% to 30% and decreasing fat from 35% to 20% of daily calories resulted in substantial weight loss.

It is not always easy to get enough protein, especially if you are a vegetarian, but it is possible. Meat is one of the leading sources of protein in the American diet. The healthiest choice is lean meat which is lower in saturated fat. Fish is considered an excellent source of protein since the oil in it also helps protect against heart disease. Eggs are full of protein, but they also contain cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation. Beans and nuts are great sources because they contain fiber and help lower your risk for cancer and heart disease. 

The best plan is to choose a variety of protein sources and include it at every meal, which will help you feel full longer and help with weight loss.