Few nutrients are as important as protein. If you don't get enough through your diet, your health and body composition suffer.
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to:
It turns out that the right amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors, including their activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health
Proteins are the main building blocks of your body, used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve many important functions. Without protein, life as you know it would not be possible. Protein is not just about quantity but also quality. Generally speaking, animal protein provides all essential amino acids in the right ratio for you to make full use of them — which makes sense, as animal tissues are similar to your own tissues. If you're eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, you’re likely doing pretty well protein-wise already. However, if you don't eat animal foods, getting all the protein and essential amino acids your body needs is a bit more challenging.
Protein is incredibly important when it comes to losing weight. As you know, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. It’s well supported by science that eating protein can increase the number of calories you burn by boosting your metabolic rate (calories out) and reducing your appetite (calories in) probably the most important contribution of protein to weight loss is its ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein keeps you feeling full much better than both fat and carbs. A high protein intake also helps you build and preserve muscle mass, which burns a small number of calories around the clock. Eating more protein makes it much easier to stick to any weight loss diet — be it high-carb, low-carb or something in between.
The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs and dairy products, as they have all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Some plants are fairly high in protein as well, such as quinoa, legumes and nuts. However, most people generally don’t need to track their protein intake. If you're a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then simply eating quality protein with most of your meals, along with nutritious plant foods should bring your intake to an optimal range.