Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’re trying to improve your fitness and lose weight, you know how important nutrition is in that whole equation. And increasing your protein is, usually, a great idea. After all, this is one of the main macronutrients that helps you feel fuller for a long time, as well as build and maintain muscle to keep your metabolism revved up.
That being said, you might not need as much as you initially think. Most Americans can pretty much rest assured that they’re not deficient in protein. In fact, studies actually show that the majority of Americans get more than enough thanks to high-protein foods such as meats, legumes, nuts, beans, and seeds in their diets.
In general, adults will need a little bit over 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (or at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.) You’re pretty much covered if you dedicate anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of your intake to protein.
That being said, some people might struggle to meet their daily protein needs. We’re here to talk about four groups that could potentially be low on protein, as well as how to make sure you’re hitting your daily protein goals.
Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of vegans do hit their daily targets for protein. That’s not a problem. But it is a problem when you’re a newbie transitioning from a diet that was traditionally high in meat so you can consume more high-quality, plant-based proteins. Be mindful that you should include protein in every meal. Whole grains such as quinoa, as well as things like nutritional yeast and chia, hemp, and flexseeds, will be easy solutions to this and they can easily be thrown in your cart. They can stack your shelves for whenever you need them.
PEOPLE ON DIETS (especially CALORIE-RESTRICTED)
If you’re depending on a slight caloric deficit in order to lose weight, one smart strategy you could follow to preserve muscle mass is to up your intake to about 1 gram per pound of body weight every day. To do this, you have to maximize the amount of protein you’re intaking with every meal. Experts recommend high-protein lentils or chickpea pastas, high-protein oats, high-protein peanut butter, and small handy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs to help you reach that protein goal.
Most athletes have absolutely no problem hitting their protein needs without the help of shakes or supplements. But if you’re an elite competitor, or someone who works out an hour or more the majority of the week, you will generally have a higher recommended protein range than someone who doesn’t work out as hard. Aim for the 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day, and remember that it’s a good idea to always drink a post-workout shake to fuel your body with the essential protein and carbs it needs to adequately recover after a scrutinous workout.
Adults over the age of 65 might be getting too little protein. One thing we know for sure, they require more to maintain strength with age. Dips in appetite, as well as the ability to absorb the nutrient, mean that 1 in every 3 older men and 1 in every 4 older women could be consistently not meeting their daily requirements for protein. To overtime this deficit, you should aim for at least 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Protein shakes and snacks like walnuts could be a great way to keep up with that daily intake of protein and make sure you’re getting the adequate amount to maintain proper health.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS…
In most cases, there’s no cause for alarm. Many of us are getting more than enough protein through our diets alone. But if you’re concerned you might be going low on protein, the best next step for you is to stack up on high-protein snacks and maybe even visit a dietitian for personalized guidance.