Okay. I know, that’s silly. It’s nearly impossible to be protein deficient in the western world but you certainly might not be eating enough. Actually, I can guarantee most of us are not eating enough. Almost every client I see doesn’t realize they are not eating enough protein until they fill out a food journal and they are absolutely shocked that 15% of their diet is protein, ideally you want to double that!
So why do we need so much protein?
Protein is responsible for nearly all the work carried out in every cell of the body. It is absolutely necessary for the structure and function of all tissues and organs including bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood and especially, muscle.
Protein is used to make enzymes, hormones, and other important body chemicals that affect our metabolism and how well we are able to absorb our nutrients. Even our hair and nails are comprised of mostly protein!
Protein helps us digest appropriately, making enzymes that our digestive system needs in order to break it down.
Struggling with weight loss? You might not be getting enough protein! Protein is so important in building muscle and the more muscle we have the more we increase our resting metabolic rate – meaning we burn more fat while at rest.
Yes, I wasn’t joking, literally every process of our body is run by protein.
Signs you may not be getting enough protein:
- You are constantly hungry
- You are always tired
- Lack of muscle mass regardless how much time you spend at the gym
- You’re struggling to lose weight
- You’re losing your hair
- You’re getting sick a lot
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Flaky dry skin
High sources of protein: eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, wild-caught seafood, pork
Low sources of protein: oats, black beans, yogurt, chia seeds, spirulina, quinoa, collagen peptides.
My rule of thumb is to aim to get 4-6 ounces of protein at every meal or make 30% of your meal a protein source. For reference, that would look like the size of your palm.
How about you? Do you get enough protein?