Protein - I'm not a Body Builder do I even need it?

Protein! Hasn’t that just exploded as a topic in recent times!

We’re all familiar with it, we hear protein and we instantly think giant, jacked, buff dude eating chicken, brown rice and sweet potato out of a Tupperware container, stinking out the whole 2 meter diameter around him. We’ve all been there right?… No?… no one else?… ok… just me then ha ha.

For most of us this is not our life- nor one that most of us want long term, so does that mean if we’re not in the gym pumping iron do we still need protein?

100% definitely yes. While most of us associate protein specifically with muscles, it plays a vital role in many other aspects of a healthy functioning body. A 76kg man is roughly about 12kg of protein (15%), while half of this is skeletal muscle mass, the other half is distributed to components of structural tissues like blood and skin [1]. Protein is made from long chains of Amino Acids, of which 9 are essential and must be ingested through diet as we can not synthesise them ourselves. [1]

Protein can be sourced from both plants and animals. While animal sources provide a more bioavailable (easier to digest) and complete protein source, all necessary amino acids can be sourced from plants with a bit of extra attention to detail. [1] Interestingly it is the protein component of some foods (milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish) that cause the allergic response for some humans. [1]

Minimum recommended daily protein intakes are 0.75g/kg (for women 19-70yrs) & 0.84g/kg (Men 19-70yrs), with the amount increasing for over 70’s, pregnant and breastfeeding women [1]. Those part taking in regular physical activity (especially athletes) are recommended to have an intake of around 1.2-2g/kg of body weight. [2]

The best way to get the best bang for your buck with protein is to have around 30-45g per meal over the period of the day. Some of the best readily available sources are meat, poultry, fish, some cereals, as well as dairy, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes & tofu. [1,3]

On the whole protein is an extremely important component to a healthy lifestyle throughout the whole lifespan. [1] Stay tuned for some exciting recipes high in protein and even higher in noms.

  1. NHMRC. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia & NewZealand. Australian Government, September 2005. (https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein)

  2. Caspero. A. MA, RD. Protein and the Athlete - How much do you need? July 17, 2017 (https://www.eatright.org/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-your-workout/protein-and-the-athlete)

  3. NHMRC. Eat for Health, Educator Guide. Australian Government, 2013. (https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55b_eat_for_health_educators_guide.pdf)

Joel Grech