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Protein: how much is enough?

Everyone has different protein requirements, the average sedentary office worker will differ hugely from a gym bunny or a power lifter, but exactly how much do you need?

We all need protein for the body’s growth and repair which includes enzyme production, blood clotting, hair growth and antibodies. If you’ve just started working out you may be worried you’re not getting enough. On average men should eat around 55g of protein daily, whether it comes from meat, eggs, fish, dairy or vegetable sources is irrelevant. To work out exactly how much you should be eating, weigh yourself and allow 0.75g per kilogram.

If however you are performing regular strength or resistance training, between 1.7 and 1.8g per kg is recommended in order to allow the body’s growth and repair. An insufficient amount of protein would cause the body to use stored protein.  Body builders need up to 2.2g per kg to satisfy their protein requirements.

Even if you’re not working out, there’s no harm in eating up to twice as much as the recommended amount of protein, although there seems to be no significant benefit in having high protein diets, and the financial cost is generally much higher than a more balanced diet.

There has been concern that higher protein diets put strain on the kidneys and can lead to cancers, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies and constipation. Whilst this has never been conclusive, it’s important to eat a wide selection of fruit and vegetables to ensure your vitamin, mineral and fibre needs are met.

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