What is the Right Amount of Protein?

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A balanced diet with protein is one of the body’s most important building blocks. Here is some advice on finding the right balance between too little and too much protein in your diet.

The importance of proteins in diet

Protein is essential for a healthy diet. Proteins provide a major nutrient your body needs to grow and repair cells properly.

Technically speaking, proteins are chemical “building blocks” called amino acids. The body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and make hormones and enzymes. According to the Australian government’s website on Better Health, there are about 20 amino acids that link together in different combinations.

Proteins can also be used as an energy source.

Sources of complete protein:

The primary protein sources come from animal and plant sources such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, dairy products, seeds, nuts, soy products, quinoa, and legumes such as beans and lentils. These all contain the essential amino acids known as complete, ideal, optimal, or high-quality protein.

How much protein do you need?

Experts say we need to receive 10%-15% of their daily caloric intake from protein, US News reports. In addition, we should receive 20%-30% of caloric intake from fats and the remaining 30%-55% of calories from carbohydrates.

A well-balanced diet considers sources of complete protein and whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats and oils.

Getting enough protein can be accomplished on a vegetarian diet

One doesn’t have to eat meat to consume enough protein. If you want to consume a vegetarian diet, you can still get adequate protein. Take a look at this guide to the top plant-based sources of protein.

How much is too much protein?

Getting too much protein can also be problematic. In fact, there is a growing problem with excess protein intake and diets, particularly in the US.

Excessive protein intake can be converted into fat, causing excess weight gain.

Too much protein can lead to kidney stones, and elevation of uric acid in the blood, leading to gout, a painful form of arthritis.

Who shouldn’t receive optimal protein in their diet

Certain medical conditions or personality aspects may interfere with consuming the optimal amount of daily protein in their diet. Here are A few of those obstacles, and not a complete list:

· Limited access to nutritious diet.

· Food allergies.

· Picky eaters.

· Autism.

· Heightened oral sensitivity.

· Swallowing problems such as with neuromuscular disorders.

· Heart, lung, or kidney problems and/or disease.

· Conditions that affect the absorption of protein (Crohn’s disease, celiac disease).

· Metabolic disorders that require special diets.