Age, gender, physiological state, health state, physical activity, the nutritional value of protein, energy metabolism of the body – all this has a significant impact on what is the need for protein in the diet. In order to ensure the best possible functioning of the body – proper growth and development, general recommendations indicate that protein intake should be 10-15 per cent of the daily energy value. Of course, it is necessary to take into account all those factors that can modify the daily requirement – in children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women – the requirement for protein is higher due to the development of new tissues and growth of the body. In general, an adult needs about 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Protein during different lifestyles
People who are on a weight loss diet should provide their body with about 1.2 g of protein/kilogram of body weight daily. An important influence on the daily supply of protein is physical activity, as well as the type of activity – a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle needs to provide the body with protein in the amount of 0.8 g/kilogram of body weight/day.
This amount increases significantly in the case of different disciplines – during endurance training the daily protein intake should be 1.4-1.6 g/kilogram body weight/day, whereas during strength and speed training, as well as endurance and power training – 1.6-1.8 g/kilogram body weight/day. The highest protein intake is recommended for strength sports – 1.8-2.0 g/kilogram body weight/day.
It is worth remembering that an adequate supply of protein has a positive effect on weight loss. It has been proven that protein increases the satiety of meals, which helps reduce the appetite, accelerates metabolism, and is also essential for proper muscle regeneration after training, which should be especially taken into account by physically active people. As a way to meet the increased demand for protein, people who exercise can include good protein supplements in their diet.
Complete protein – protein of animal origin
Protein is present in both animal and plant-based products. Since protein is an ingredient that is supposed to provide an adequate amount of amino acids, it is important to pay attention to which products are sources of complete protein and which are not. Animal products that provide complete protein include eggs, milk, dairy products, meat, including poultry, and fish.
Which plant products have the most protein?
Plant products have a lower amount of essential amino acids, so they are a source of incomplete protein. As far as plant proteins are concerned, proteins from legumes, soybeans and nuts have a higher nutritional value. When composing your daily menu, you should also take into account the possibility of complementing each other with proteins from the food you eat, so it is beneficial to combine in one meal, for example, milk and cereal products.
Why protein deficiency is dangerous to health?
Since protein performs many important functions in the body, it is important to ensure its adequate intake. Both protein deficiencies and the consumption of protein in excess can cause various conditions that are unfavourable to the human body. In the case of protein deficiency, many functions are impaired, e.g. in the case of children, growth and physical and mental development are slowed down. In adults, a decrease in psychophysical performance may occur.
In addition, the digestive processes may be impaired, blood clotting time may be prolonged, oedema may develop or problems with wound healing and burns may occur.
Excess of protein in the diet – what does it lead to?
Not only protein deficiency has a negative effect on the functioning of the body – but its excess is also dangerous to health. If the intake of this component is too high, protein catabolism and removal of unnecessary metabolites from the body increases. When a high-protein diet continues for too long, the excretion of calcium in the urine will increase, which ultimately may promote the development of osteoporosis (if the intake of calcium and vitamin D is not increased at the same time). Too much protein in the diet can also affect the formation of kidney stones, putting a strain on kidney and liver function. On the other hand, excess protein in infants may cause diarrhoea, dehydration and fever.
It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the daily diet is varied and contains products of plant and animal origin, then you can be sure that the body received an adequate amount of protein and there will be no extreme situations – leading the body to protein deficiency or excess.