Like carbohydrates and fats, Protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. (Vitamins and minerals, which you only need in small quantities, are called “micronutrients.”)

Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from if and when you’re running low.

It is a component of every cell in your body. In fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue. You need it to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

On top of that protein has the highest thermic effect. Your body actually burns more calories just digesting protein than carbs and fats.

Having adequate levels of protein in your diet has been shown to

  • Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
  • Reduce Appetite and Hunger Levels
  • Reduce Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
  • Boost Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
  • Help Your Body Repair Itself after Injury
  • Help You Stay Fit as You Age
  • Allow you to Retain and Build Muscle even when in a calorie deficit

How much protein should you be taking?

This will vary from person to person and in studies it varies depending on which study you read but a good guideline is between 1g per KG of body weight right up to 3g per kg of body weight. For example if you weigh around 100kg then your protein intake should be around 80g of protein as a minimum right up to 300g depending on how active you are.

Protein for older adults

Beginning at approximately 50 years of age, humans begin to gradually lose skeletal muscle. This loss is known as Sarcopenia and is common in the elderly, but is also worsened by chronic illness, poor diet or inactivity. It is likely that protein intake at the upper end of the recommended daily range can help maintain muscle mass and strength, which is vital for walking ability and reducing the risk of injury in older people from falls.

Some sources of dietary protein include:

  • Lean meat, poultry and fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Beans and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas)
  • Soy products like tofu and tempeh
  • Some grain and cereal-based products are also sources of protein, but are generally not as high in protein as meat and meat alternative products.

To give an idea of the amount of protein in certain foods

1 * raw chicken breast weighing about 100g has approx. 23g of protein.

1 * large egg has approx. 6.5g of protein

100g of cooked quinoa has approx. 4.5g of protein

50g of almonds has approx. 12g of protein

200g of red kidney beans has approx. 13g of protein

100g of tofu has approx. 12g of protein


The take away from this is that Protein should be a key part of your diet, it is an essential macronutrient that our bodies can not live without and is vital for any body composition goal