Nutrition: Getting Right Amount of Protein - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
Protein is one of the most important things for everybody to know about. We are really, we kind of got out of whack when we got the whole Atkins and South Beach thing going, and everybody had this idea that you needed vast amounts of protein, and particularly animal protein, every day. The actual needs change, and that is important to know. When you are healthy and you are active, you need roughly 60 grams of protein a day. That is not very much. We are talking about, you know, a handful of nuts, a chicken breast, and a piece of fish for dinner. I mean, we are not talking about a lot of protein everyday. If you are vegetarian, it would be beans and rice in approximate, you know one cup amounts at each of those meals. So, it is not a huge amount of protein, but there are times when you need more. If you are sick or you are injured, you need to know that your body needs more protein. Your entire immune system and all of the things that your body needs to move through the bloodstream need protein.
Protein acts as the tractor trailer of a big rig. Protein is the tractor part, and it is the thing that hauls the things through the bloodstream that do not really like to mix with water. So, minerals, fats, fat soluble vitamins, all need proteins to move them through the system. If you are injured or you are sick, you need more protein because you have more things that are being transported into and out of the injured areas or the infected areas. You also want to make sure you have enough protein to maintain all of your lean mass, lean mass being muscles. We think about that as being muscles, but remember your heart is a muscle. Your liver has a lot of protein. Your brain is this nice little protein bag filled with fat, by the way. So, you need protein in the appropriate amounts. You cannot eliminate protein.
There are essential amino acids, essential meaning we cannot make them inside our bodies. We have to get them from the outside. So, it is important that you get enough protein in everyday. Do not skip it. Do not think, well, I will just have my protein at the end of the week. Make sure you get some in everyday. If you can think about, every time you sit down to a plate, whether it is a snack or a meal, if you can identify those three big food groups, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, you are doing pretty well. Try to make sure that protein is in every time, but at least in three times a day, and you will do pretty well. If you are trying to build muscle mass, you need more. If you are sick or injured, you need more, but basically we need roughly 60 grams a day.