How Much Protein Do
We Really Need?
Many of us consciously eat a high-protein diet, with protein-rich foods available, but how much protein do we really need? And does it really help us lose weight?
At the beginning of the 20th century, Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson spent five years in the collective eating only meat. This meant that his diet consisted of approximately 80% fat and 20% protein. Twenty years later, he did the same as part of an annual experiment at Bellevue Hospital in New York in 1928.
Stefansson wanted to refute those who claimed that people cannot survive if they only eat meat. But, unfortunately, for him, in both conditions he fell ill very quickly when he ate lean meat without fat. He developed “protein poisoning,” nicknamed “starvation fasting.” His symptoms disappeared after he reduced his protein intake, and he increased his fat intake.
In fact, after returning to New York and a typical U.S. diet with a more normal protein level, he is reportedly discovered that his health was deteriorating and was returning to a low-carb, high-fat, and high-protein diet until his death at the age of 83.
His early experiments are some of the few reported cases of high protein intake with extremely adverse effects, but despite the high sales of protein supplements, many of us are still not sure how much protein we need, how best to consume it, and if too much, or too little, is dangerous.
Despite doubling obesity over the past two decades, we are increasingly aware of what we eat. In recent years, many of us exchanged white bread for brown and wholemeal bread and skim milk.
Our health focuses on protein, protein balls, candy bars, and improved protein versions of staple foods, from cereals to soup, the dominant supermarket shelves. And with the global protein supplement market, which in 2016 year valued at $ 12.4 billion (£ 9.2 billion), it’s clear that we are buying the idea that we need a lot more protein.
But few experts now say that high protein (and priced) foods are money thrown away.
Complementary brands are advised to drink protein shakes after exercise to help grow and repair muscle tissue.
Protein is necessary for the growth and restoration of the body. Protein-rich foods, such as dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, and beans, are broken down into amino acids in the stomach and absorbed by the small intestine, then the liver breaks down the amino acids needed by the body. The rest is washed in our urine.
Adults who are not particularly active are advised to eat approximately 0.75 g of protein per day for every kilogram that they weigh. On average, for men, it is 55 g and for women, it is 45 g.
Not getting enough protein can lead to hair loss, skin breakdowns, and weight loss as muscle mass decreases. But these side effects are very rare and mostly occur only in people with eating disorders.
Despite this, most of us have long been associated with muscle-building protein. That’s for sure. Strength exercise causes protein breakdown in the muscles. To make muscles stronger, proteins need to be rebuilt. A type of amino acid called leucine plays a particularly important role in initiating protein synthesis.
Some experts even argue that non-protein-consuming post-workout can cause muscle breakdown to be higher than synthesis — meaning there is no net gain in muscle mass. Complementary brands are advised to drink protein shakes after workouts to help grow and repair muscle tissue, usually in the form of whey protein, rich in leucine, a by-product of cheese production.
Indeed, studies on muscle-building protein supplements are diverse. An analysis in 2014 of 36 articles showed that protein supplements do not affect lean mass and muscle strength during the first few weeks of resistance training in untrained people.
Over time, and if the workout becomes more difficult, supplements can promote muscle growth. However, the document also concludes that these changes have not been proven in the long run.
A 2012 review further states that protein“Increases physical performance, restores training and reduces body weight” … but in order to be optimal, it must be combined with fast-acting carbohydrates.
But even if athletes and spectators at the gym can benefit from post-workout protein boosts, this does not mean that they must achieve supplements and shakes.
The global protein supplement market was valued at $ 12.4 billion (£ 9.2 billion) in 2016.
Tipton adds that even among bodybuilders, foods like whey protein are not as critical as they are bloated. “Too much attention is paid to what additives should be taken, and not in the gym and work more intensively. There are so many other variables, such as sleep, stress, and diet, ”he says.
Most experts agree with Tipton that protein is best eaten instead of supplemented. But there are some exceptions, such as athletes who find it difficult to hit their daily protein targets, says Graham Blees, professor of human physiology at the University of Liverpool at John Moors.
“I believe that what is most needed than the recommended daily allowance strong evidence to support this, ”he says. In this case, he said, shaking can be useful.
Another demography that might benefit from extra protein? Older. This is because, as we age, we need more protein in order to maintain muscle mass. But we also tend to consume less protein as we get older because our taste buds begin to prefer a sweet taste.
Emma Stevenson, a professor of sports and exercise at the University of Newcastle, works with food companies to get more protein in snacks that older people are known to regularly buy, like cookies. “We need to maintain our muscle mass as we age because we become less active and fragile,” she says.
Close says older people should increase their protein intake to 1.2 g per kg of body weight.
Most people get more than the recommended daily intake of protein from their diet.
Fortunately, it is difficult to have too much protein. Although we have an upper limit on protein intake, it is “virtually impossible” to achieve, Tipton says. “Among some nutritionists, there are concerns that a high protein diet can damage kidneys and bones, but evidence for healthy people is minimal.
Perhaps a problem may arise if someone with a primary kidney [produces] consumes a large amount of protein, but the chances of any side effects are very low. “
But while the protein itself is not harmful, many protein supplements contain carbohydrates called FODMAP, which cause digestive symptoms, such as bloating, stomach, and stomach pain.
Stevenson advises reading labels with labels, bars, and balls carefully. “Often they are very high in calories and contain a huge amount of carbohydrates, often in the form of sugar. You don’t have to think that because he says it’s a high protein, he’s healthy, ”she says.
Protein has long been associated with weight loss, low carbohydrate, high protein diets such as Paleo and Atkins promising to extend the feeling of fullness. People often do not lose weight because they feel hungry, and MRI studies have shown that high-protein breakfasts can help stop cravings later that day.
There is sufficient evidence that the protein is saturated, says Alex Johnston of the University of Aberdeen. If you are trying to lose weight, it is important to have a high protein breakfast such as beans on toast or a milkshake, rather than having supplements.
But she does not protect the Atkins diets and found that carbohydrate cutting has an adverse effect on intestinal health (and now we know that maintaining a healthy intestine is critical to many aspects of our health and well-being ).
Protein balls often contain a lot of calories and can contain a lot of carbohydrates (Credit: Getty Images)
Instead, Johnston recommends that overweight people consume a high-protein, moderate-carb diet of 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% fat – compared with an average diet of about 15% protein, 55% carbohydrate, and 35% fat
But, of course, increasing your protein intake alone will not help you lose weight. The choice of meat, such as chicken or fish, is key. Studies also show that eating large amounts of animal protein is associated with weight gain, and red meat, in particular, is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, as well as heart disease.
There are, however, healthy proteins that are not meat, like mycoprotein, a vegetable protein derived from mushrooms. Mycoproteins, such as Quorn, are high in fiber and protein.
Researchers are now studying how this unique composition (both protein and fiber) can affect the satiety and insulin levels that are associated with type 2 diabetes. One team compared the mycoprotein diet to a chicken diet and found that the insulin levels of those who consumed the curve achieved the same sugar control, but needed less pancreatic insulin.
The risk of consuming too much protein is small, but the greater risk may simply fall on overpriced foods, offering us more protein than we need. “Some foods designated as high proteins are not, and they are quite expensive. In any case, consuming more protein than necessary is wasteful in terms of money, and it is paid in the toilet, ”says Johnston.