Mar 23 , 2021
This week, we'll discuss protein sources, its different forms, where it belongs on our Fit Plate and some of its basic functions within our bodies. Protein (one of the macronutrients), provides 4 kcal per gram. The two sources through which we can obtain protein through our diet are:
- Animal based (complete): poultry, seafood, beef, pork, eggs, dairy
- Plant based (incomplete but with a few exceptions): lentils, beans, rice
- Quinoa, spirulina and hemp seeds are plant-based proteins but complete.
- When looking at protein’s different forms, a protein is either complete or incomplete.
Complete: source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals
Incomplete: source of protein that may or may not contain all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. If it does contain all the amino acids, it will have an inadequate proportion
Proteins serve numerous functions in the body including but not limited to:
- Repair and maintenance of tissues
- Provides sustained energy
- Forms hormones, enzyme, and antibodies
- Forms transport molecules in our body
Adequate protein consumption is essential in order to live your most healthy life. There are so many processes and tissues in our bodies that rely on it! Focusing on the amount of protein you are get daily is a great first step. It is also important to eat mainly complete proteins or combine incomplete sources to form complete proteins and choose organic or hormone and antibiotic-free meat whenever possible.
How much protein do you need? 1 gram for each pound of lean tissue, 0.8 to 1.2 g per kg (weight in lbs/2.2) body weight or 20% to 30% of total calories is a good baseline.
How do we work it into our balanced plate: If we look at our Fit Plate, protein has its own section. Protein should be included in all 3 meals throughout the day and it should make up ¼ of your balanced plate. Another way to think of it is to make sure you are getting a piece of lean protein the size of your palm without the fingers. At least one of your snacks during the day should also include a lean protein source.