Hang on a moment – not content with:
• finding out my BMR (my Basal Metabolic Rate – the rate I burn calories at rest)
• how many calories I burn as a result of exercise
• all balanced against how many calories I eat
You now want me to look at how much protein I eat every day?
Yes, protein intake is a crucial element of our daily food intake. As we have always said, all calories are not made equal. If your daily calorie requirement is, for example, 2,000 per day – you could say ‘well, I am going to eat 8 and a half Mars Bars – that is about the right number of calories’. Well it is, but with over 30 grams of sugar and only 2.3 grams of protein per standard bar, its not going to do you much good. In fact, that amount of sugar is positively harmful.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones.’ (Medline plus)
We know that digestion breaks protein down into amino acids and that our bodies need the right amount of amino acids to keep us healthy. So, where can you find these amino acids and how much do you need every day? Amino acids are found in meat, milk, fish, and eggs. But don’t worry, there are also non- animal sources such as soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains (for example – wheat germ and quinoa).
‘Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, and must be supplied by food. They do not need to be eaten at one meal. The balance over the whole day is more important.’ (Medline plus)
So we know we need protein to maintain our body cells and to make new ones. If you are working out in the gym you will be building muscle, but only if you eat the right foods. Simple carbohydrates will not build muscle, you need complex carbs (porridge, sweet potatoes, seeded brown bred, brown rice) to give you energy, protein then helps to build you up.
‘The amount of protein you need in your diet will depend on your overall calorie needs. The daily recommended intake of protein for healthy adults is 10% to 35% of your total calorie needs. For example, a person on a 2000 calorie diet could eat 100 grams of protein, which would supply 20% of their total daily calories.’ (Medline plus) Drilling right down, 30 grams of protein rich foods have 7 grams of protein. For example – one large egg is about 30 grams and will therefore give you 7 grams of protein – so will 30 grams of meat or fish. Tofu has 11 grams of protein in every 100 grams (not sure about tofu? Check out our next blog ) Keep applying the general principle that protein rich foods have 7 grams of protein per 30 grams of food and you won’t go far wrong.
If you are getting bogged down in the math’s, speak to someone in the gym, they will help you to work out your BMR then your daily calorie requirement, from that you will be able to work out your protein requirement. Or you can do it the easy way, use your smartwatch and an app, such as MyFitnessPal and enter everything that you eat and it will work everything out for you!