Protein Series Part 1: Are You Getting Enough Protein? 

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Grace Ippolito; 4 minute read

 

So you think you’re eating more than enough protein on a daily basis- but are you really? 

 

Why is Protein Essential?

Protein is essential for basic human function. Every cell in the body uses protein for repair, as well as to build new cells. While protein is a necessary nutrient, diets higher in protein may have a positive impact on overall health. Current research suggests that high protein diets may help with weight loss, aid in preservation of lean body mass, and lead to the improvement of cardiovascular risk factors.

 

How Much Protein Do I Need?

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While it is commonly thought that people usually eat too much protein- more than double the recommended amount- Harvard Medical School research suggests that this is likely false. Harvard research shows that people most likely eat too little protein rather than too much. 

Harvard attributes this misconception to the way that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein is perceived. While the RDA of protein may sound like the total amount of protein you should be getting, this amount is merely the bare minimum you need to function. 

Therefore, you likely need more protein in your diet than you think you do. The RDA of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. To determine how much protein you need each day, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36.

 

How Can I Increase My Protein Intake? 

Upping your protein intake does not necessarily mean more steak and chicken dinners. There is protein in plenty of different types of food such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, and nuts. Harvard Medical Research also suggests that protein may be more effective if spaced out throughout the day. An easy way to add more protein to your diet is with a powder such as a whey protein powder. Protein bars and protein snacks are also easy dietary additions to up protein intake. 

Harvard research suggests that getting as much as twice the RDA of protein is a healthy goal. However, make sure to consult a nutritionist or doctor before drastically adjusting your diet as age and activity level may affect protein need.   

 

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