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The Importance of Protein In Your Diet

Protein builds lean muscle tissueDo you know the importance of protein in your diet?  The subject matter of the ideal amount of protein intake is usually a topic of debate amongst health professionals. Athletes and bodybuilders are concerned with optimal intake and they often feel taking supplements are necessary for their body in order to grow lean muscle tissue.  

According to research, proteins are one of the basic elements of all life. They are made from amino acids and contain nitrogen. It is also said that the highest concentration of proteins are found in the muscle.

Functions of Protein in the Body

As mentioned above, protein contains nitrogen, which gives it a unique function of building and repairing body tissues, production of hormones and digestive enzymes, and keeps the immune system strong. Furthermore, it can also be used as energy if fats and carbohydrate level are inadequate. Aside from these, there are a lot of functions protein has in our bodies. It helps with:

  • Repair and replacing damaged tissues
  • Supplying needed nutrients for growth and development of tissues
  • Providing energy – approximately 4 kcal/g
  • Maintaining vascular osmotic pressure
  • Taking part in constructing and maintaining significant bodily compounds, such as some bodily enzymes, hormones, hemoglobin, antibodies and other proteins present in the blood
  • Building muscle

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are the groundwork for all of the above. The body breaks protein into individual amino acids to help with body functions.

Excessive intake of protein in the body will help with muscle hypertrophy (growing larger), but excessive intake will just be metabolized by the body and excreted as wastes such as proteinuria in the urine.

Recommended Intake of Protein in the Body

According to research, the recommended intake would usually be about 10% to 15% of kilocalorie intake and a maximum of 35%.  Also, protein allowance is based on the amount needed to maintain nitrogen balance.  Moreover, 45 to 60 grams of protein are needed in order to meet the needs of most adults. On the other hand, athletes and bodybuilders need a higher protein intake of approximately 1 to 1.5 grams of body weight because of the excessive breaking down of muscle tissue due to the increased physical activity of the body. Furthermore, a number of people take supplements to help meet the protein demands of the body. 

Sources of Protein

As said earlier, proteins can be found in the food that we eat.  Some food sources that have protein are as follows:

  • proteinDairy Products
  • Red Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

As evidenced by vegan bodybuilders out there, not all protein needs to come from animal sources. You need to figure out what source is right for your individual needs.

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