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Is Protein Really so Important?

Protein is one of the most important nutrients your body needs but many people don’t really understand the benefits, what it does or how to get enough. Whether you’re a bodybuilder or you’re just a regular guy wanting to maintain your weight, protein is almost certainly the thing you need most. 

But there is so much emphasis on protein right now that it’s all too easy to put to great a value on. Protein is essential, yes, but so are other nutrients.

So let’s start with the basics.

Where Can You Get Protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids can be found in meat, eggs, nuts and pulses. You can also find amino acids in a BCAA Supplement. All amino acids come from food and can’t be made by the body but they are essential building blocks and can be used to build muscle, digest food and aid growth.

To get a complete protein, all the amino acids, you need to get the right composition of amino acids to balance all your needs. Unless you are in poor health or have a bad diet, it’s highly likely that you will get all the amino acids you need through a varied and balanced diet, regardless of whether you are a vegan or a meat-eater.  

How Much Protein Do You Need?

There is no fixed recommendation for the amount of protein you need but it should make up a substantial part of your diet, somewhere between 5 -7 ounces per day. Protein fills you up and lean meats, eggs and natural yogurt are all ideal if you want to build muscle and lose fat.  

People who work out regularly may want to increase their protein intake. Eating a high protein snack after a workout will deliver the amino acids your body needs to repair straight away. This is why adding protein or whey powder to a shake is a really good idea – the sugar will pick you up and the protein will aid your recovery. Incorporating a high protein breakfast into your morning routine will set you up well for the day, giving you plenty of energy.

Should You Switch to a Protein-Rich Diet?

The best diet anyone can have is a diet that puts an emphasis on balance. This means eating a wide range of foods including plenty of different vitamins and minerals as well as proteins and carbohydrates. The simplest way of working out whether you have a balanced diet or not is to look at your plate: the more different colors you have, the more varied your meal is going to be. 

A lot of articles and diet plans talk about the virtues of eating a lot of protein but they often do so at the expense of other nutrients. This is problematic because the human body isn’t evolved for protein alone – we need a balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as carbohydrates. Steer clear of any diet that suggests cutting a particular food or nutrient out. Balance is the way forwards and significantly easier to handle!