Variation in the amount and type of protein consumed affects the biological process. These link to health, ageing and disease. Finding the optimal amount can yield big benefits. It can help us to live longer and experience fewer diseases. Too little protein can cause disease but too much can cause disease too. So, what is the right amount?
Recommended Daily Allowance for Protein
RDA is set by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. They suggest that the minimal requirements of healthy adults are 0.8 gram per kilogram per day.
The RDA is only an average and this is because requirements vary depending on whether a person is:
- A child
- An adult
- An athlete
- In ill health
- Losing or gaining weight
Growth and Development
Pregnant women, infants, and children are in a life stage when growth is a priority. These are the types of people who should increase their intake for optimal wellness.
As a child ages, the protein requirements slowly decline. By 10-years of age, a safe level of protein is about 0.9 gram per kilogram. This is a level only slightly higher than for an adult.
Requirements for the elderly are different than for other adults. Failure to meet those increase protein needs can result in:
- Loss of muscle
- Loss of other lean mass
- Lower antioxidant capacity
- Lower immune function
All these elements play a role in increased risks of illness and fragility.
Protein supplementation such as a whey drink can be taken before or right after exercise. A popular brand that we recommend is True Protein. This might help older people to regain muscle. This is because whey is effective for muscle growth. Bodybuilders are well known to ingest it immediately before or after strength training. This is to increase muscle growth and exercise physiologists have studied this practice. It has been proven to work.
Here are some recommendations for high-performance athletes.
- Aim to eat approximately 0.4 gram per kilogram of body mass of protein per meal.
- Space protein-containing meals 3 – 5 hours apart.
- Consider taking glycine supplements.
Here are some recommendations for athletes in energy restriction.
- Perform resistance exercise during energy restriction to preserve lean body mass.
- Ensure adequate intake helps appetite control during energy restriction.
The Optimal Amount
Optimal intake varies depending on goals and underlying health conditions. Consuming more protein can reduce hunger and increase muscle growth, but consuming too much may also have some negative consequences.
- Can be good for your bones
- Can lower your blood pressure
- Can help to maintain weight loss
- Can help your body to repair itself after injury
- Can boost metabolism
- Can reduce cravings
- Can reduce hunger levels
- Can increase muscle strength
Speak with your GP professional to answer any medical questions that you have.
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