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Everything you Ever Wanted to know about Protein

 

The Book of Protein

Prologue:

Protein is one of three macronutrients necessary for the body’s growth, development and maintenance.   

 

Chapter 1:  What are Proteins?

Proteins are large molecules composed of amino acids.  They are the body’s major source of nitrogen.

 

Chapter 2: The Importance of Protein

We need protein for:

  • cell growth, repair, and continuous maintenance

  • hormone functions

  • enzymatic reactions

  • fluid, electrolyte and pH balance

  • energy source

 

Chapter 3: A Day in the Life

10-35% of your daily nutrient needs should come from protein. In relation to body weight, this equates to a minimum of 0.8g of protein for kg of body weight per day.  This is the standard for a healthy individual to prevent muscle depletion. The amount varies according to age, physical factors, and activity levels.

The distribution of protein should be 25-30g in meals and 10-15g of protein in snacks.

 

Chapter 4: A.A (Amino Acids)

20 different amino acids are used to make proteins.

There are essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids, 9 of them altogether, cannot be produced naturally by the body and must be obtained in the diet. However, non-essential amino acids are produced naturally by the body.

The quantity of essential amino acids, in turn, determines protein quality.

 

Chapter 5:  High Protein Consumption

Most Canadians meet or exceed the dietary recommendations for protein. The risks associated with too much protein include high cholesterol and heart disease, possible bone loss, and kidney disease.

 

Chapter 6: Selecting Sources

Meat products are an excellent source of protein. The “alternatives” we speak of include pulses, nuts, seeds and tofu, they should be chosen more often! 
 

Tips: purchasing “beano” can help alleviate any discomfort and washing or soaking the beans before adding them to your meals.
 

Fish should be incorporated, recommendations include two servings of fish at least twice per week. 

Select lean meats or trim off any visible fatty edges. Removing the skin on poultry is beneficial as well. 

The selected cooking method of the protein is important, avoid deep frying meats and fish when possible. Roasting, poaching, baking or grilling fish and meat are healthier options.

 

Chapter 7: Vegetarianism

There are many health benefits associated with vegetarianism, a diet that does not include meat and poultry products. These include:

  • lower intake of fat, and total energy

  • reduced risk of heart disease

  • Reduced risk of hypertension

  • fewer digestive problems 

However, while maintaining this type of diet, the challenges may result in reduced vitamin and mineral consumption.  If you are thinking of, or choose to follow a vegetarian diet, make sure it is balanced and adequate and speak with your friendly local RD. 

 

Chapter 8: Protein Supplements

Many people have been turning to protein bars and sport protein supplementation to meet and/or exceed their protein needs. These can be handy in a pinch but we ultimately we don't need these in our diet.  We can get enough protein in our diet through foods like meat, poultry, fish, legumes, pulses, soy, and dairy. It is important to read the nutrition facts tables and speak to a Dietitian if you choose to use protein supplementation. Making your own protein bars using homemade recipes is a simple idea to monitor the exact ingredients and amount of protein going into your bars.

 

Conclusion:

The human body needs protein! Incorporate a balanced, adequate, and varied diet. This will ensure you are meeting your protein, and essential amino acids needs for your body to thrive.  When planning your weekly meals, you are encouraged to eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week, limit yourwith red meats each week, and two servings of alternatives each week.  This will ensure variety in your diet!

 

 

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