Do you eat enough protein?

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Do you eat enough protein?

To meet your daily protein needs, combine small to medium portions of meat, dairy, and nuts with protein-rich whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Protein is essential to good health. You need it to make the bricks and mortar of the body, including muscle, bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average man need in order to stay healthy?

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines state that an adult man should take in a minimum of 10% of his daily calories from protein. (In absolute numbers, that’s equivalent to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.) The body breaks the protein down into amino acids and—among other things—uses them to build muscle. Any protein left over is available to fuel energy needs. Each gram of protein you eat contains 4 calories.

On the other hand, boosting protein to 20% or even 25% of daily calories is unlikely to harm you—assuming your overall diet is still nutrient-rich. Men with chronic kidney disease should check with their doctors before substantially increasing the amount of protein in their diets.

Here are some suggestions to guide your choices:

  • Choose protein sources low in saturated fat. Also avoid highly processed carbohydrates.
  • Protein powders and shakes provide amino acids but offer limited nutritional value. Ready-to-drink shakes may also contain added sugar and other caloric sweeteners, so make sure to read the nutrition label.
  • Unless you are a bodybuilder, you don’t really need an extra boost of protein before a strength training workout. The current 15% protein intake of the average American male, combined with regular exercise, is sufficient to maintain muscle.

Source : Harvard Medical Publications