Getting adequate protein is one important factor in a healthy diet. It’s the primary building block of your body. While many foods contain protein, making a true protein deficiency rare in Canada, a poor diet puts you at risk. Seniors and others that have problems processing or consuming enough protein, may also face potential deficiency. However, the amount you need daily will vary based on several things, including your weight. While you can get too much protein, it’s hard to do for most people unless high amounts of supplements are consumed. Here are some factors and how to adjust your intake based on your need.
There are several factors that determine how much protein you need.
Not only does your activity level, age, gender and weight determine the amount of protein you need, so does whether you’re lactating or pregnant. In the case of protein, you are eating for two. The average person needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Really active people need more, or about 0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound. Age plays an important role in the amount of protein you need. The older you get, the less efficiently you process protein. For older women, the loss of estrogen can make a difference in muscle mass maintenance.
There shouldn’t be a protein shortage in people who live in North America.
Both the US and Canada are rich enough countries that everyone should get adequate protein from diet, but some people still lack adequate protein. People who eat a diet that’s filled with junk food, those who are hospitalized or institutionalized and some seniors. Some signs of protein deficiency include muscle wasting, edema, fatty liver, problems with skin, hair and nails which are primarily protein, increased risk of bone fractures, increased infection rates and increased appetite.
You can get too much protein as well.
While there are signs and symptoms indicating a need for increased protein, there are also signs that indicate you have too much. Indigestion, bad breath or intestinal problems might be the first sign of too much protein. Dehydration, nausea, exhaustion, diarrhea, irritability and headache may be later ones. To get too much protein you’d have to consume more than a gram of protein per pound of body weight, if you’re active. If you weighed as little as 110 pounds, that’s amount is about the amount of protein you’d get from eating a pound of steak every day.
- Men need more protein than women, since they have more muscle mass to maintain. The more you weigh, the more protein you need.
- While a high protein diet, such as the Keto diet, may be good for weight loss, filling you up and aiding in burning fat, be careful not to overdo the amount of protein you eat. It still contains calories and could affect your health if you eat too much.
- Be wary of protein supplements if you aren’t working out or elderly. Even then, always check with your doctor before adding any type of supplement to ensure you need the nutrients it contains.
- Bad breath can be one of the first warning signals that you’re eating too much protein. You can’t brush away the bad breath or cover it up with mouthwash.
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