How much protein do we actually need?

This is such a familiar picture. People guzzling a protein shake after a workout or having a plate full of animal products or if vegan, beans or tofu.

Please don't get me wrong. We do need protein to repair, build and maintain the tissues and muscles of our bodies. What many don't realise, is that of the 20 amino acids needed to build protein, only 9 are required through our diet. Our bodies make the rest.

These 9 are histidine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, methinine & lysine. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein within our bodies.

The vast majority of us are not elite athletes. And while some of us may workout regularly either at home or in the gym, we are not pushing our bodies anywhere close to what professional athletes do.

So we really do not need to increase the amount of protein at all. We can get all our bodies need through our daily dietary intake, without supplements. For example, 1 cup of dry beans has 16 grams of protein per serving, brown rice has 5 grams. Eaten together, these form complete proteins already. Even brown rice and broccoli have sufficient amounts of protein for our daily needs. Please note that even if eaten at separate meals, our bodies can combine the amino acids needed.

Consuming more protein than our bodies actually need can be detrimental to our health. Which many of us do on a daily basis. Too much protein, especially from animal sources (due to the saturated fat content, even the leanest of meats), can increase one's risk of liver disease (fatty liver, for example), kidney issues, gout, certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke.

The protein powder and supplement industry is exactly what it is. An industry out to make money. Even elite athletes can get all their protein needs through a natural diet without having to supplement if it is planned well.

Our bodies work best when getting its nutrients from a whole food plant based diet. So don't buy into the hype that you need to buy that protein powder or any additional supplements. Spend your money on whole foods instead. Your body will thank you!

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