Protein is NOT the bodies preferred energy source, but it is vital for homeostasis of the bodies function. Protein is essential for growth, maintenance, hormone production, digestion, immunity, fluid and electrolyte balance, pH balance, transportation of minerals, o2, fats and vitamins. Energy and that feeling of being full.

However, we seem to be – according to a National Survey in 1995…. (seriously, could not find any references that were closer than 17 years). Consuming way too much Protein. On average we are consuming more than 60% of our RDI. So maybe your thinking “Protein, yeah no problem. Builds muscles, great fuel.. sweet!”  Well, you’d be wrong. Sustained high protein diet, accumulated with the fact that majority of Australians are eating high volumed fat sources of protein can lead to numerous health problems.

Some of the most major health issues are:

1) Kidney’s not such a huge fan of high loads of protein. Protein is synthesised by the liver. The liver then breaks it down the amino acids into waste. The waste then gets converted into urea, excreted by the kidneys. The kidneys, become overworked and this causes issues. These can range from kidney stones (not fun to pass, or have surgically removed) to Chronic Kidney Failure. No cure for that, either years of Dialysis and maybe, if you’re fortunate a transplant.

2) Osteoporosis… weird I know. So the body being tricky as it is, decides that it will excrete calcium when overloaded with protein. At least 1% of bone density lost every year.

3) IT’S A TUMOR (Sorry, can’t think of tumours without thinking of Arnie). So high protein, particularly the high fatty protein we seem to eat has been linked to increases in breast and colorectal cancers…. so if you want to poop in a bag for the rest of your life. Keep it up!

So how much Protein should we be eating?

The rule of thumb is 0.75g of Protein per KG of body weight. For example a 60kg female would need 45g/day and a man at 72kgs would be 54g/day.

The Australian Guide to Healthy living (1998) recommend that we eat 1-1 1/2 serves of protein each meal.

Some examples of ONE serve would be:

65 – 100g of cooked lean chicken or meat

80- 120g of cooked fish

1/2 cup of dried beans/lentils/chick peas/split peas or canned beans

2 small eggs

small handful of peanuts or almonds

1/2 cup of sesame or sunflower seeds.

From your dairy shelves

1 cup of milk

1 cup fo soy milk

2 slices of cheese

200g yogurt

So, the body does need protein, and it needs it from a variety of sources. Not just a whopping great big steak. Proteins when broken down in digestion have different amino acids that all have their role in the homeostasis of our bodies.

So you need good mixes of protein. Protein complementation is an excellent way of getting all your amino acids. Combining different sources of protein in different meals is what that means. So having grains, cereals, legumes, soy, milk, eggs, lean meats, poultry and fish in your daily intake is how you achieve this.

Cadence Health – Certificate in Diet and Nutrition

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