I recently received the following text from my good friend and avid Deb Runs reader Craig, “… You track and post your daily water consumption. Have you considered tracking and posting your daily protein consumption?”
I replied with a screen shot of the following pie chart from the previous day’s MyFitnessPal and “… I have not considered it, but if you’re interested perhaps others are as well. I can tell you that I struggle to meet my daily protein recommendations as you can see from yesterday’s pie chart. And as we age protein is so important in helping us maintain our muscle mass and strength.”
Why Our Bodies Need Protein
Protein, an essential component of a healthy diet, is the building block of our bodies. One of three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), protein is responsible for repairing and rebuilding cells throughout our bodies. Not only does protein build strong muscles, but it is crucial in keeping our bones and cartilage healthy. Even our hair, nails, and skin depend on protein for growth. From the time we’re babies until we’re elderly, protein plays a huge roll in making our bodies strong and healthy.
Protein, Exercise, and Weight Control
When we reach our mid-twenties, our lean muscle mass starts to slowly decline by about a half a pound a year through the natural aging process. A combination of a regular strength training routine along with eating adequate amounts of protein can help stave off muscle loss. Individuals who have a larger muscle mass have higher metabolisms which in turn help with weight control.
Additionally, diets high in protein may also help with weight control by increasing satiety, preventing overeating, and lowering the desire to snack after a meal. Diets that are insufficient in protein can lead to muscle weakness and soreness, and under extreme conditions the body will begin to cannibalize itself as it takes protein from muscle tissue in order to provide energy for other crucial body functions.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
Our protein needs change over the years and as we age our protein needs increase, especially for those who live a very healthy and active lifestyle. Active people need more protein in their diets than those who are sedentary because busy muscles must be fed.
Experts suggest that people who are active should eat 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per day for each 2.2 pounds of body weight.
- • 120-pound person should eat 65 to 109 grams per day
- • 150-pound person should eat 82 to 136 grams per day
- • 180-pound person should eat 98 to 163 grams per day
Foods High in Protein
When choosing foods high in protein, seek those with lower fat content. Choose skim or 1% milk instead of whole, lean cuts of meats over marbly cuts, and always be aware of portion sizes.
- Poultry, beef, pork, fish, and seafood
- Dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt (Greek is higher in protein)
- Beans, legumes
Tracking and Posting My Daily Protein Consumption
To answer Craig’s question, I’m not sure… Perhaps I’ll change up my Weekly RunDown to include how I did on my daily protein consumption, but I’m not yet sure. His text did inspire me to start a three-part series about the role our macronutrients play in our daily health. So for that, thanks, Craig!
Oh, and one more thing, today is Craig’s birthday! Please join me in wishing him the best of birthdays!
- • What are your favorite protein sources?
- • Do you feel that you get enough protein?
- • Which macronutrient do you consume most? ~ All the carbs!