Adequate protein in our diet is important for our body’s growth, maintenance, and repair needs. Adequate protein also helps us to feel full.
What is protein?
- Protein is one of the macronutrients in our diet.
- Protein is made up from smaller sub-units called amino acids. There are some amino-acids that are essential for us to eat because our body cannot make them.
- Protein, and its amino acids, are the ‘building blocks’ for every single part of the body. Protein can also be used as a fuel for the body if needed.
How much protein should we eat?
There is a minimum amount of protein needed in our diet. The recommended minimum amount of protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. For example, someone whose ideal body weight is 60kg should eat at least 48g of protein each day.
The suggested ideal amount of protein is a bit higher. Approximately 1 to 2g of protein per kg of ideal body weight is suggested, especially if weight loss is a goal. There is evidence that we should eat towards 2g of protein per kg of ideal body weight as we age to maintain muscle. People exercising a lot, and trying to gain muscle, may benefit from up to 3g of protein per kg of ideal body weight.
To improve health consider
- Eat protein at every meal.
- In practical terms, adequate protein means protein foods should be prioritised at a meal.
- Protein is typically more expensive than carbohydrate and fat, and there is no benefit in overeating protein.