Protein, protein, and more protein, that’s what the fitness experts and scientists keep telling us we need to eat a typical 30 grams of protein per meal to build muscle and lose fat. However, what does that really mean, what do we need to consume to get it and what could potentially be too much?
Protein is one of the three core MACRO nutrients that our body needs to be healthy alongside carbohydrates and fat. These are essential molecules that are in food and our body breaks down to support different aspects of our bodily function.
In the case of Protein it’s a molecule made of amino acids. It really is essential and is key to all the cells in your body from your nails to your hair and it’s really important to creating and repairing our muscles, bones, blood skin and organs. For those people who regularly exercise, it has additional importance in terms of repairing muscle that has been broken down through exercise. Most notably exercise which is anabolic such as resistance / weight training (body building).
One of the main differences with Protein versus the other two MACRO nutrients is that our bodies don’t store Protein. It’s processed and used following consumption, plus we are limited to how much our bodies can assimilate at any one time. Research over a number of the years has shown us that for most people (dependent on size), 20 – 40 grams is a reasonably good target to aim for per meal.
The tricky thing is as different foods contain different levels of protein and other MACRO nutrients, it’s not just down to the size or weight of the food. Not to mention that you may want to avoid sources that are particularly high in calories and/or carbohydrates and fat. Below are some examples of some lean protein sources: