What is it?
Protein is the main functional and structural building blocks of every cell in the body. These proteins are made up of even smaller components called amino acids. Proteins provide us with growth, maintenance, repair, energy, and in times of weight loss helps us stay fuller for longer. Overall, proteins are part of a healthy balanced diet.
How much protein do you need?
To maintain adequate protein balance women and men need ~ 0.8g/kg/day. However current research is still looking over the appropriate amounts, and reviewing scientific data. For more information visit Pubmed.com
Protein intake, exercise and timing?
The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology recommends different amounts based on the intensity, duration, frequency and type of exercise you do:
- Endurance-trained: 1.2-1.4 g/kg/day
- Strength-trained: 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day
Also when you are engaging in physical activity and exercise, timing of intake can help you make greater improvements to your training or weight loss program.
- A small meal or snack should consist of moderate protein, high in carbs and low in fat to provide you with adequate energy and prevent hunger.
- This should be consumed 2-4 hours hours before.
- When you consume a large meal or snack that is high in fat and protein is may cause an upset stomach during your workout.
- Consume as soon as possible
- Consume a meal with high carbs and moderate protein. The carbs will help refuel your energy stores, and the protein helps promote lean muscle mass and helps you stay fuller longer.
- When you have an intense workout, you have an “after burn,” this means that even after your workout you are still burning calories. So eat healthy, and soon after your workout to take advantage of this “burn.” For more information on this google “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Comsumption”
How much is enough?
Most Canadians are consuming enough protein, however, those who are in negative energy balance, are restricting calories, or avoiding a certain food group may have inadequate protein intake. When you don’t get the recommended protein intake your body does not have the proper building blocks to function. Your ability to recover from or do exercise and perform academicly may be compromised.
- Tips on how to incorporate protein into your day can be found on Canada’s Food Guide website.
Differences between plant and animal protein
There are over 20 naturally occuring amino acids in the diet. Nine are “essential” amino acids, which means our bodies cannot synthesize them, therefore we have to obtain them from our diets. The other eleven are “non-essential” because our bodies are able to make them.
Animal proteins usually contain all nine essential amino acids and are considered to be complete proteins.
Plant proteins are usually lacking certain amino acids, so if you are a vegetarian, you need to consume a variety to obtain the essential amino acids for proper body function.
For sources of protein
- Food labels
- Canada’s Food Guide
- Health Canada