Protein is one of the most essential nutrients when it comes to building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Not getting enough of it in your diet can make it impossible to meet your fitness goals. However, getting the right amount of daily protein can be difficult for some, so we caught up with Kcal Nutrition Director, Lauren Jacobsen, who explains everything you need to know about packing proteins into your meal plan.
What’s Protein? And Why Do You Need it?
Protein is made up of amino acids, which help the body to function properly. According to Lauren, not getting the enough quantity of protein in our diets can make impossible to regulate our metabolism and also to maintain and repair the body tissues.
How Much Protein Do You Need in Your Diet?
Depending on your activity level, metabolic rate, age, weight and lean mass you’re carrying, your protein needs can vary. If you’re looking to lose weight, 40 per cent of your calorie needs should be proteins; and if you’re looking to gain muscle mass, you’ll have to increase the income beyond 40 per cent, Lauren explains.
What are the Best Sources of Protein?
The best sources of protein are those that provide all the essential amino acids, the called “complete proteins” that the body can’t make by itself. Meat, poultry, dairy are considered the perfect complete proteins.
What About Protein Powder?
With busy schedules meeting the protein needs can be difficult, so protein powders can help with that. They’re made from dairy protein, which can include milk protein or whey protein concentrate. For those who are allergic to dairy, there’s a vegan version of them which combines different plant-based products.
According to Lauren, dairy proteins are the best ones because they provide all the essential aminos needed.
When Should I Use Protein Powder?
Although the majority of protein sources should come from food, Lauren recommends to use protein powder supplements in between meals, as a snack and even pre or post-workout.
Can You Use Protein Powder in Other Recipes?
Yes! Protein powders don’t need to be limited to just smoothies, you can also add the protein content to any homemade recipes, such as protein bars and even protein pancakes.
What are the Key Features to Look for When Purchasing a Protein Powder?
Lauren recommends to look for protein powders that use only clean sources of proteins, such as grass fed, hormone-free dairy proteins. You also need to make sure to read the nutrition facts label and check out it delivers between 25 to 30 g of protein per serving, and that is low in both carbs and fat.
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