All About Protein

Author : Anshul Dhamande, INFS Faculty, Standard Coach @ Fittr


Protein is omnipresent in our bodies, it is found in all its parts like the muscles, bones, hair, skin etc. In other words, protein forms the building blocks of life. For these reasons, it is considered to be an essential macronutrient for the human body, alongside other macronutrients like Fats and Carbohydrates. Apart from serving as a building block for body tissues (including muscle fibres), at times it can also act as an energy source. Even though, its main role is not energy generation, protein is significant because of its superseding ability to repair, build and aid recovery.

Structure of Protein

Proteins are complex forms of amino acids. They are made up of 20 amino acids, out of which 9 are essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be produced by the body itself. Therefore, the body relies on dietary intake to satisfy the daily required intake. The presence of these amino acids gives protein its building and reparation properties, among others.

Whether your goal is aesthetics or building a good physique, gaining muscle mass, faster recovery after your workouts or even overall health and well-being, the consumption of protein is very important for everyone. In fact, satisfactory protein intake in your daily diet should be made a priority. Consumption of adequate protein also helps us slow down the reduction of muscle mass which happens as we get older. This is highly beneficial as it can aid daily functioning and even prevent various age related illnesses and conditions.

Recommended Intake

How much protein one needs depends on various individual needs such as lifestyle, body weight and composition, pre-existing health conditions, goal, exercise etc. As a general recommendation, the daily minimum protein intake should be around 0.8 gms per kilogram of lean body mass for an individual with a sedentary lifestyle and for those who have an active lifestyle, targeting muscle building, it can go up to 1.8 to 2.2 gms per kilogram of lean body mass.

The fact is that most Indian diets do not include enough protein. This is because they rely heavily on carbohydrates and fats. While these are important too, not consuming enough protein can negatively impact health in the long term.

Excess Protein

Contrary to what people believe, consumption of excess protein intake does not actually impact the functioning of the kidneys, unless you have a pre-existing kidney disorder. Research shows that, everything else being normal, one can consume up to 3.4 gms per kilogram of lean body mass without any side effects. Many people shy away from adequate protein intake due to various myths surrounding it.

Sources of Protein

Animal sources of protein include meat, fish and eggs. Dairy is a good source of protein too. For vegetarians, soya and paneer can help with increasing protein intake. Most vegetarian sources of protein such as lentils and beans also contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates and fats and one should be careful while choosing these as protein sources. In other words, quality of protein should be also be considered while making a choice.

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