For many of us, this is never really a consideration, let’s be honest!  Isn’t is usually the case that we just look for the calorific value and maybe salt/sugar content?  When considering a well balanced healthy diet, we should be strongly considering the protein value of our food for many factors.  Weight, muscle mass are all factors affected by protein levels consumed.

One big thing you may not know is that protein is more satiating (gives the body that appetite satisfying feeling) than the intake of BOTH carbohydrates and fat.

What are proteins?

Proteins are the main framework of the body.  Amino acids are small molecules that make up strings of proteins.  Some are produce naturally by our bodies, whereas others we need to obtain, as part of an ‘essential’ diet.  Without these there cannot be life.  They are use to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin.  Proteins are obtained by eating meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

Why is it important to our bodies?

The correct level of proteins in the body can see to healthy skin and organs.  Protein is incredibly important when it comes to control weight and aid weight loss.  To do this, eating protein can help by boosting your metabolic rate (calories out) and reducing your appetite (calorie intake). High protein intake helps to build and preserve muscle mass, which burns a small amount of calories around the clock.

How much do we need to consume?

Well this can be a hotly contested subject.  Some reports say 46gr for women, while 56gr for men.  Others say it should be above 60grams.

The amount of protein for weight less would be a 30% optimal intake.  To calculate yours, take your daily calorie intake and multiply it by 0.075.  Examples:

2500 calories (the normal calorie intake of a man) would be       187gr protein

2000 calories (the normal calorie intake of a woman) would be 150gr protein

For sports men and women, even this figure would be largely increased from these examples.

Additional information can be found at BBC GOOD FOOD’s website here or for a more scientific approach, read the paper by the Journal of sports science and medicine 2004 here.


For more recipe ideas, visit our Recipes page, or subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter Bitesize for recipes, reviews and cooking tips to help you get smarter in the kitchen. Just enter your email address below.