Proteins are composed of amino acids linked by peptide bonds that, once broken down in the gut, are used for building and repairing tissue, immediate energy consumption, or energy storage. Protein is an important component of a well-balanced diet and can be adjusted according to your lifestyle to help you stay fit and healthy!
How much protein should I consume per day? (note kg vs lbs)
- Sedentary or Lightly Active: 0.8- 1.0 g/kg (0.4- 0.5 g/lb.)
- Strength Athletes: 1.2-1.7 g/kg (0.5-0.8 g/lb.)
- Endurance Athletes: 1.2-1.4 g/kg (0.5-0.6 g/lb.)
While there are 20 amino acids, 9 of them cannot be synthesized naturally by the body. These are called essential amino acids and must be obtained through our diet. Therefore, protein sources can be broken down into two categories: complete and incomplete proteins.
What protein sources should I consume?
- Complete Sources– those that contain all 9 essential amino acids. These include animal sources, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Also includes quinoa and chia seeds.
- Incomplete Sources- those that contain some but not all 9 amino acids and include grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables.
- Mix complete and incomplete sources OR multiple incomplete sources in order to obtain the essential amino acids needed for biological processes.
How can I ensure I am consuming enough quality protein to maintain a well-balanced diet?
- Whether you follow a plant-based diet or a conventional diet that includes animal products, include a wide variety of whole foods. This is enough to support a diet that meets both quantity and biological requirements.