Health Approach
Why Do We Need Protein In Our Diet?

Why Do We Need Protein In Our Diet?

But first, What is Protein?

Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are all essential components of the human diet along with vitamins and minerals. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids, some of which are called “essential amino acids”, which are essential to be include in our diet as the body is unable to produce them. Some foods contain all of the amino acids used to make protein – soy and quinoa are the best known example though legumes such as peas, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains are excellent sources of protein and between them provide the amino acids.

Some nutritionists insisted that it is important to combine food with each meal to get a “complete” protein however this thinking is already obsolete. A varied and healthy diet will actually provide you with all the protein you need.

Protein plays an important role in the body and forms the basis of muscles, hair, nails and collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body together. It also produces vital metabolic products: neurotransmitters, hormones, haem (found in red blood cells) and DNA.

When you eat proteins, they are broken down into amino acids, from which new proteins are built to perform each of these functions. Contrary to the beliefs of many people, you don’t build your muscles by eating an animal’s muscles (meat), but it is developed by usage and the best diet is a variety of wholegrain vegan one.

The advantage of a vegan diet is that it provides all the good things (vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and fiber) and at the same time avoids the bad ones (animal proteins, saturated animal fats and cholesterol) that are associated with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers. There are many vegan athletes and bodybuilders who are the living proof of the power of plant proteins!

How Much Protein Are Needed Daily

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that protein should only contribute around 10-15 percent of total calorie intake. The latest UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed that the average protein intake in every age group, from young to old, reached or exceeded this figure. On average, men need around 55g and women about 45g of protein per day. These are consists of two servings of tofu, nuts or legumes. Most people find it very easy to eat this much. On average, both men and women in the UK eat around 45-55% more protein than they need. There is absolutely no benefit to eating more than necessary; in fact, too much animal protein is harmful.

Mock meat are plant-based protein is popular with vegetarians and vegans and contains similar levels of protein to their meaty equivalents. The protein in chopped ribs, sausage rolls, bacon slices, and hot dogs is the same as their vegan alternatives within a gram or two. One big difference is that vegan mock meat contains fiber, as opposed to meat, and is not associated with cancer in the same way as red and processed meat. That said, just as it is not healthy to eat a lot of meat and dairy, it is not a good idea to eat a lot of processed foods as it contain relatively high levels of fat and salt which may increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. Try substituting meat and dairy products with tofu steak, chickpea hummus, or a lentil burger.

Animal vs Vegetable Proteins

There are many differences between plant proteins and animal proteins. Animal proteins contain higher levels of sulfur which will put a strain on the kidneys and metabolism. High animal protein intake has been linked to diseases and early death. This may be because animal proteins increase the level of the growth hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which increases the risk of cancer.

Years of aggressive advertising marketing regarding protein foods have led to the myth that vegans somehow loses out when is actually the other way around. Research consistently shows that protein intake among vegans is more than adequate, while for meat eaters it often exceeds the recommended intake by a significant amount, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. The Bottom Line is replacing animal proteins with plant proteins reduces the risk of all these diseases and many others. Follow a healthy vegan diet and you will get enough protein – plant protein – only the good stuff!

Picture Credit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *