Protein is one of the most important nutrients to reaching your health goals. Eating enough protein helps you to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy, improve sleep, and lots more. Oftentimes though, it’s hard to know if we’re consuming enough protein and in general, how much protein our body actually needs.
The overall recommendation for individuals based on the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 56 and 46 gm of protein per day for men and women, respectively. To get more specific, most individuals need about 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. For those who are physically active, upward of 1.2-1.5g of protein per kg of body weight is warranted. To better understand your specific protein needs, we recommend working with a nutrition expert.
Next, we’ll explore how to know if you’re getting enough protein in your diet in the first place.
You’re losing muscle mass
Protein is made up of amino acids, AKA the building blocks of muscle. Therefore, if you’re not getting enough protein, your muscle mass is likely going to go down. Ways to know that are you are losing muscle includes decreased strength, change in weight, or how your clothes are fitting.
Your mood has shifted
If you’re becoming more irritable, or if you’re in a bad mood, this could be because of a lack of enough protein. Irritability is one of the key signs of low protein because protein is digested slowly, which stabilizes our mood.
You’re having trouble losing weight
Those who aren’t getting enough protein in their diet also likely are having trouble losing weight. Consuming enough protein decreases our appetite because it keeps us full and satisfied longer, making us less likely to have to grab more calories. Consuming enough protein can lead to an overall decreased caloric intake, leading to weight loss. Therefore, those who don’t consume enough protein may have trouble losing weight.
You’re always hungry
As we’ve mentioned, consuming enough protein keeps us full and satisfied. If we aren’t consuming enough, we’re also likely going to feel hungry. This can lead to an increased intake or dissatisfaction. Extreme hungriness can also mean we’re low in blood sugar, leading to fatigue or as we call, “hangry-ness.” This leads to snacking more often.
You’re still hungry, even after eating
It’s normal for hunger levels to fluctuate throughout the day, however, you shouldn’t be hungry immediately after eating a meal and snack. Protein keeps us full and because it digests slowly, it’s helpful to include at all meals and snacks to keep us energized. By not including enough protein, we’re likely going to have to grab a snack or meal shortly after eating.
Inadequate protein intake slows down metabolism which can impact our production of red blood cells. This results in a lack of enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout our body. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, or shortness of breath.
You’re getting sick more often
Protein is a precursor to antibodies which are produced by our immune system. As you probably know, antibodies fight off viruses or other infections, keeping us healthy. When we don’t eat enough protein, you’re likely to get sick more often.
As we’ve discussed, getting enough protein in your day to day is crucial to success for your health and nutrition goals! Aim to get protein in at every meal, and most snacks. Some protein sources include meat, yogurt, string cheese, beans, nuts, seeds, and chickpeas. Pure Plates can help make hitting your protein targets that much easier by providing healthy meal prepped meals straight to your door.
Pure Plates also offers a variety of healthy protein and meal options that meet all dietary needs! For meat eaters, check out our chicken menu. For pescatarians, Pure Plates offers a fish-filled menu. And for vegans or vegetarians, check out the vegetarian menu.
No matter what your dietary preference is, Pure Plates has your healthy eating and weight loss goals covered.