Protein is one of the most important components of the human body. The body needs protein to make bones, skin, muscles, cartilage, and even blood.
Your hair and nails are made primarily of protein alone.
Your body also needs protein to make enzymes, hormones, and various other types of chemical-based stuff.
So, in simple terms, proteins are the building blocks of your body. Nearly every part of your body needs protein to work efficiently.
Are there Good and Bad Protein?
No. There is only one kind of protein and that’s good protein (although an excess of anything wrong, but more on this later). Protein is generally good because unlike fats and carbohydrates, the body doesn’t store protein, so it never makes you fat or increases your blood cholesterol or blood pressure or anything of such sort.
But, you have to realize that you need to add protein into your daily diet in order to stay fit because your body doesn’t store anything for a rainy day.
A really good infographic by Lucas James
According to US Department of Health and Human Services the basic need of protein is described below:
- Teenage boys, active men: three daily servings totaling around seven ounces or 200 grams.
- Children age 2 to 6, young women, and most seniors: two daily servings totaling around five ounces 140 grams.
- Older children, teen girls, active women, and most men: two daily servings totaling around six ounces 170 grams.
The formula is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
So, which foods contain loads of protein? Here’s a list.
- Dairy Products: Milk, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese etc.
- Red Meats: Beef, Lamb, Pork etc.
- White Meats: Chicken, Fish etc.
- Nuts / Dry Fruits: Pistachio, Walnut, Almonds etc.
- Whole Grains: Oats, Quinoa,
- Lentils, Beans
Protein Diet for Weight Loss
Usually, people who google “protein” are actually looking for protein diet to become healthier and slimmer. For this reasons, I want to talk a little about the case of Adnan Sami before going to discuss protein further. It’s very important, so please bear with me.
It has been long understood that high-protein low-carb diet is the golden formula for weight loss. One of the biggest success stories of this diet is Adnan Sami.
Sami is the world’s fastest keyboard (piano) player and a British-born pop-star in South Asia. But, apart from his musical achievements, he’s famous for one more thing. He lost over 160 kilos of his weight.
Yes! You read that right. He reduced over 160 kilos (more than 350 lbs) as he weighed nearly 240 kilos (530 lbs) in late 2000’s. He reached a point when his doctors told him that if he doesn’t reduce his weight immediately, he won’t live longer than six months.
Here’s a before and after picture of him.
When doctors gave him the verdict, they also told him that he couldn’t even exercise because a human heart is not made to support an exercising body that weighs 240 kilos. He would have had a heart seizure had he tried exercising.
He only started exercising when he had lost about 50 kilos from his weight. Eventually, he lost more than 160 kilograms of weight. To put that in perspective, that’s the weight of two fully grown men that he removed from his body. Today, he weighs between 70 to 80 kilos (160 to 175 lbs).
He did not undergo any surgery, he did not take upon a vicious exercise routine, he did not do anything else but changed his diet.
He switched to high protein, low carb diet.
Does that mean this is the kind of miracle diet that fixes everything in weight loss? Yes, and no. Let’s go deeper to understand it better.
Side Effects of Too Much Protein
We all know that too much of anything is never good. Similarly, too much of protein based diet is also not good. There can be many side effects. Here are some of the common ones:
- Slowed Digestive System: Usually, high protein diets don’t contain much fiber content. For instance, chicken breasts are pure protein, but they don’t contain much fiber. If you don’t get proper fiber, you just feel constipated, bloated, basically, just gross. It also makes your breath smell bad.
- Pressure on Kidneys: Most of the high-protein foods are nitrogen based, hence your kidneys have to work really hard to clean your blood from excess nitrogen.
- You can gain weight: Yes, because the idea is to not to eat too much protein, but replace your regular bad-carbs based diet with high protein diet. If you just add high protein diet then you will obviously gain weight.
For your body to function properly and burn your stored fats, it needs vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and you don’t get these things in high-protein diets. For these things, you need good carbs based food items such as fruits and vegetables.
You also need to keep eating good fats to keep your body at optimum fitness level.
The thing is, the secret of health is not in a protein diet, it’s in a balanced diet. A diet full of variety, but excluding processed foods.