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What is protein?
Protein is a macronutrient that is needed by the body in large amounts. The body uses protein from the foods we eat to maintain, grow and build our muscles and the tissues throughout our body.
How much protein do I need?
It is recommended that adults eat 0.75g of protein per kilogram of your bodyweight*, for example if you weigh 60kg you should eat 45g of protein a day. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding then the amount of protein you need increases.
Not eating enough protein can mean that you develop a protein deficiency. In turn this can lead to malnutrition and symptoms such as feeling tired all the time and having little energy, muscle wastage and difficulty building muscle. If you think that you are not having enough protein in your diet and have noticed any of the above symptoms talk to your GP.
What happens if you have too much protein?
If you eat more protein than you need it can be stored as fat in your body, meaning that instead of growing your muscles you may end up expanding your waistline instead. In the long-term excessive consumption of protein can increase your risk of osteoporosis and it can worsen existing kidney problems**.
What are the sources of protein?
It’s important that you make sure that you eat protein as part of your meals to support your body and its functions. There are various protein sources that you can add to your diet, and these include vegetarian options too.
Protein can be found in:
- Meat including poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Beans and pulses
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
Protein supplements such as powder, balls and bars should not replace your main meals but support them. Many supplements do not contain all of the vitamins and nutrients that a well-balanced meal should. That’s why many people add protein powder to their meals for example in their morning porridge to boost their protein intake.
Types of protein supplements
Whether you’re looking to add protein powder to your meals, grab a quick bite before the gym or refuel your muscles with a protein shake. There are plenty of options to help you get the protein you need throughout the day, including:
- Protein bars
- Whey protein powder – make sure that the powder you chose is low in sugar and fat as this can added extra calories to your diet without you noticing. PHD diet whey protein only has 91 calories per serving to help you stay within your calorie allowance
- Protein balls
- Protein flapjack - a blend of complex carbohydrates and protein to support muscle growth
Can you get vegetarian protein?
If you’re a vegetarian there are natural food sources that will give you the protein you need, make sure your meals include dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, tofu and pulses. If you’re looking to use protein powder to boost your protein consumption or support your muscles after a workout, you’ll be glad to know that whey protein is suitable for vegetarians, although it is not suitable for vegans. However it’s best that you check the ingredients labels to be 100 percent sure.
If you want to up your protein intake, build muscles and look after your hair then Protein World is for you. Designed for men and women, this protein powder is enriched with zinc to promote healthy hair, skin and nails.
Choosing the best whey protein for you is all about personal preference. You may have to do a bit of trial and error to find the perfect tasting protein powder that gives you the results you want.
Introducing nuts, seeds, beans, grains and pulses into your meals will help to boost your protein intake. For example quinoa has around 9 grams of protein per 150g and lentils have 18g of protein per 150g.