I was very interested to listen to the Director of Nutrition Studies at Stanford University on the Zoe Podcast, talk about protein requirements.
Fats and carbs provide most of our fuel. Protein provides our structure and repair, plus it’s needed for all the enzymes in our body, reactions and our metabolism, plus many hormones are proteins.
In terms of how much protein we need, the answer is far less than any of us realized or have been led to believe. The maximum that almost anybody needs is only 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight and most people are eating double that as part of a normal healthy diet. The only exceptions are growing kids and pregnant women who will need a little higher.
Any extra protein that over and above your daily requirement will be converted to fats and carbs, and if there is an excess – it will be stored as fat. So those avoiding carbs and eating a lot of protein for weight loss are missing the point.
If you are eating a regular healthy diet of around 2,000 – 2500 calories per day, you will get your protein requirements without trying, and without needing protein shakes, protein bars and all the other ‘protein’ rich foods that food manufacturers are trying to sell us.
Protein isn’t just in meat, eggs and fish, it’s also in nuts and seeds, beans and pulses, grains and dairy. Animal protein is higher in protein so you need less of it. The bottom line is that eating a portion of beans and wholegrain rice per day, along with other healthy foods will provide enough protein.