Protein is important! Of the three macronutrients (the part of foods that have calories), protein is by far the most important when it comes to how the body can repair and recover from an injury or after exercise.
How much do you need? The Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. We usually round that up to 1 gram per kilogram of your body weight to make it easier for patients, or 0.5 grams per pound of body weight.
If you weigh 150 pounds, that means the minimum amount of protein you need is 75 grams.
For reference, that’s about 3 chicken breasts or 2.5 cans of tuna per day!
If you’re active, recovering from an injury, or experiencing high stress, your protein needs increase even higher to at least 1.5g/kg body weight (0.75g/lb body weight). This is because your body uses it at a higher rate in these situations, and you need to make sure to replace what your body is using or else your muscle will start to wear down and you might start to feel fatigued, or ill more frequently.
We often get asked whether protein is safe: Yes! Several research trials have shown that in healthy patients the upper limit is so high that it’s physically difficult to eat that amount, even in protein shakes. No negative outcomes were shown in a research study where patients took 4g/kg per day for 1 year. Better to be over-eating your recommended amount of than under-eating it.
The general rule of thumb is that a serving of meat that is about the size of a deck of cards is 20 grams of protein.
There are lots of food sources of proteins, but sometimes when you’re on the run, or just don’t have the time to put together a proper meal, protein powders can help make sure that you’re hitting your minimum amount that you need. In Canada, supplements are extremely well regulated, and since every bottle lists all of the ingredients on the bottle, you can easily choose the right one for you.
Are you close to eating the amount of protein you need based on your activity level?
If you want to speak with someone about your nutrition, book an appointment with our naturopathic doctor Dr. Andrew Krause ND today!