How much Protein do we really need and when?

When it comes to building muscle, staying Lean, energized and keeping hunger at bay, nothing beats protein' but figuring out just how much you need can be tricky.

Protein is a vital part of a healthy diet, helping with the growth and repair of tissues, including skin, bones, eyes and, most importantly, muscles. It also helps support a healthy immune system. But while it’s common in our culture to be concerned about sufficient protein intake, many of us (particularly those who eat lots of meat or slurp back protein shakes) may be consuming too much. Striking the right balance is key for a strong, healthy body.

How much protein should we eat?

Protein will help you feel full and crave less sugar, That’s because protein extends the release of carbohydrates over a longer period of time, providing more sustained energy and increasing satiety better than carbohydrates or fat. "Starting the day with a bowl of cereal, for example, can leave you searching for more carbohydrates sooner than later. It won’t fill you up and so you will be reaching for a cookie or a muffin because that’s what the brain will crave. It won’t crave a bowl of yogurt. 

This is why protein, which can help keep snacking at bay, is so important for people who are trying to lose weight. But stuffing back a huge steak at every meal isn’t the answer, either. 

When it comes to good health, adults should be looking at a diet made up of a balance of carbohydrates (45 to 65 percent), healthy fats (20 to 35 percent) and protein (10 to 35 percent). "If you look at a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s only a modest amount of protein; a typical 70 kg (154 lb) man would require only 56 grams of protein a day, while a 58 kg (128 lb) woman would only need 46 grams.

In fact, when we talk in terms of amount of protein specific to body weight in adults, the ideal is actually 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, But at least with studies in athletes, is that we’re getting two to three grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, and that’s way too much.

Watch your protein portion sizes

As with so many things, when you’re seeking to strike the perfect balance with protein, portion size is key. "So it’s not a 300gm Meat, It’s three to four ounces of meat." That’s half a chicken breast, or 6 to 8Egg Whites, The protein has to be there, but in the right amounts. Many women (especially those trying to shed extra Kilo) are guilty not only of getting too much protein but of not eating enough carbohydrates ‘the body’s fuel. It needs to be in balance. If you are likely trying to build muscle, but if you don’t have the carbs in the form of vegetables, fruit or whole grains, then you end up burning the muscle and you aren’t reaching your goal of building it."

Protein doesn’t equal meat

Protein doesn’t have to come from only meat. "If you are consuming a lot of meat, you are consuming more saturated fat. That can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease." Instead, adding protein sources like tofu (21 grams per 3/4 cup), eggs (13 grams in two large ones) and soy milk (8.5 grams per cup). Nuts, seeds and nut butter are another great source of protein, they can be high in fat and should be consumed in moderation. Low-fat milk, yogurt (3/4 cup of Greek yogurt has 18 grams of protein!) and cottage cheese are great options, too. Grains and legumes do provide some protein (particularly when they’re eaten together), but it’s not as readily absorbed by the body.

Timing is key

Finally, If you’re looking to build muscles, consuming protein soon after a workout because it helps repair the muscle tissue that’s been stressed. The timing of protein is important, In terms of repairing and rebuilding, Most active fitness individuals eat protein Shakes or other protein Foods within 20 minutes to half an hour after a workout’ some research is even saying get it as soon as you can, then you follow that with a meal (again, with some protein) within an hour or two.