How much protein should I be eating in my diet?

I’ve recently been getting this question a lot lately and decided to make it into a post to the public!  As some of you may know, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Layne Norton and his content that he puts out there for everyone to see!  It is extremely important to ask these basic questions to your coach when you’re on your flexible dieting journey!  Here’s what I find helpful and recommend for protein intake levels (along with Dr. Norton’s suggestions).  Enjoy!

functions-of-amino-acids

What is protein and why is it so important to include in our diet?

Protein is made up of amino acids (AA), which are the building blocks of protein development.  There are two (2) different types of AA:  essential and non-essential AA.  Essential AA’s cannot be produced by the human body – they must be consumed via food intake.  However, non-essential AA’s are produced by the human body and thus do not need to be consumed by food.  Protein helps structure and strengthen different aspects of the human body including hair, nails, skin, bone/cartilage, and (more commonly researched) muscle.  As we age, it is extremely important to stay up to pace with proper protein intake in order to prevent the downfalls of the normal aging pattern.

**For more additional information about protein, please refer to my previous post here.

What are the essential & non-essential AAs?

There are nine (9) essential AAs that must be consumed within our diets by ingesting food.  More importantly, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the top three (3) important essential AAs to aid in muscle protein synthesis (with leucine winning the battle…more to come on this specific AA in another post).  The nine essential AAs are as follows:

  1. Leucine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Valine
  4. Histidne
  5. Lysine
  6. Methionine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Threonine
  9. Tyrptophan

There are 11 non-essential AAs that naturally occur within the human body – these do not need to be consumed within one’s diet.  These AAs perform a variety of duties including muscle protein synthesis, hormone regulation, and brain functioning just to name a few.  No wonder the body naturally produces these as they are closly related to helping our nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and immune system function properly and still remaining extremely important!  Here are the 11 non-essential AAs as follows:

  1. Alanine
  2. Arginine
  3. Asparagine
  4. Aspatic acid
  5. Cysteine
  6. Glutamic acid
  7. Glutamine
  8. Glycine
  9. Proline
  10. Serine
  11. Tryosine

So what happens as we age?

The body naturally begins to decline in it’s efficiency to maintain homeostasis, thus losing lean muscle mass among other declines in health status.  However, it is now being stressed that we incorporate a daily exercise regime and proper nutritional habits in order to combat this slow, normal decline in our health.  Ultimately, when you think about it, we are a machine built in tip-top shape (from our 20s to mid-30s) and eventually over time we break down along the way – BUT we can slow the process of breaking down if we set up a commitment to ourselves right now!  Interesting fact – during this time period towards the year 2020, it is projected that cancer will be the number one leading cause of death in the United States, followed by heart disease (per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)!

So how much protein should I be eating within my diet?

Since protein helps in producing muscle protein synthesis thus creating more lean body mass – it is extremely important to help feed our muscles with protein sources each day to prevent the natural decline of muscle waisting as we age.  Here’s some recommended daily ranges of protein intake I found from Dr. Norton and his research:

  • Less than 20 years old = 0.7-1 gram (g)/pound (lb) bodyweight (bw)
  • Between 21-40 years old = 0.9-1.2g/lb bw
  • Between 41-65 years old = 1.1-1.4g/lb bw
  • Greater than 65 years old = 1.3-1.5g/lb bw

Conclusions/final thoughts

If you are a protein lover and tend to eat more of it during your meals, then you can make adjustments to your macronutrients accordingly and bump up your protein macro goal.  My current protein intake is around 0.92g/lb bw; my current bw is 139# so that makes my protein intake level at 128g/lb bw to hit on a daily basis.  If I am unable to consume all my protein via meat (mostly) or dairy (I love me some plain greek yogurt sprinkled with Splenda), then I will utilize protein supplements to aid in hitting my goal number of 128g/lb bw.  Keep up the good work with your nutrition lifestyle and be sure to keep holding yourself accountable to your goals!  If you need accountability, then do not hesitate to contact me to be your coach along the way – head on over to the Contact Us page and fill out your inquiry today!  Happy eating! #teambullseyenutrition

References

  1. https://www.biolayne.com/articles/nutrition/anabolic-eating-for-your-age/
  2. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/catamino.htm
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db254.htm

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