Protein is an essential component in our life, but, how much Protein do we need? Read this article
Protein, no doubt, is an essential part of our diet. But under the guise of having our daily protein intake, we end up consuming more than what our body actually requires. Those who indulge in high-intensity workouts are often seen consuming proteins in different forms – whether it’s animal-based, plant-based, or dairy-based.
Studies say that we end up consuming more proteins than our bodies actually require. Another misconception we have is that we can derive protein only from animal-based sources such as meat, fish, or dairy. But again, that’s not true. While meat does give us a share of protein, what we don’t realize is that plant-based sources of proteins are more effective and with amino acids easier to absorb by our bodies than their animal-based counterparts. And yes, the plant-based version is easier to digest as well.
Coming back to the main point of contention – how much protein do we need? Ideally, it should be 4-5% of the total calories we consume every day. Scientists have derived this number after measuring proteins consumption in different groups. They also simultaneously checked if these displayed any signs of proteins deficiency. Corroborating both the figures, scientists have arrived at 4-5% of our total calorie consumption.
But quite a lot of us actually require more than this average percentage derived. So, keeping a buffer, the researchers suggest getting 8-10% calories from proteins. At this rate, most of us would get the protein intake we require on a daily basis.
One look at the USDA dietary guidelines, and we’ll notice how the proteins requirements listen out there range from 10-35%. Wondering how it got that high and how much we need to consume? The lower value of the range – 10% only.
There’s no research out there that states that humans require more than this 10%. In fact, it has been noted that consuming more than 10% proteins, especially animal-based, would actually end up with us more prone to chronic diseases.
Another question that comes to our minds is- will plant-based protein consumption suffice our daily recommended proteins intake of 10%? Yes, absolutely! With a whole-food plant-based diet, our bodies can still derive all the protein they require. All we need to do is look for plant-based sources of protein and include them in our diets daily.
Tofu, peanut butter, quinoa, sprouted whole grain bread, oats, legumes, and lentils are some plant-based sources of protein, which we can regularly include in our diets. These are not only great sources of proteins but other nutrients as well unlike animal products that contain nothing but fat and low-quality protein.
Overconsumption ends up doing more harm than good – which is why we need to be careful of how much we consume. We need to observe our bodies and then decide how much protein we require, rather than merely following facts and figures blindly.