Packing in the protein is a priority for many, with loads of us downing a post-workout protein shake, snacking on a protein bar during the day and ensuring our meals are full of the stuff. But, why? What does protein do? Do you actually know the importance of this essential macronutrient and what it does to the body? Well, we’re about to tell you! Here’s the lowdown on what protein does and why it’s worth ensuring you get your recommended daily allowance.
WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Put simply, proteins are large, complex molecules. They play a variety of important roles in the body, including the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s organs and tissues. Made up of thousands of smaller units, also known as amino acids, proteins are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids – these can be combined to make a protein. The combination of amino acids determines each protein's specific function and benefit to the body.
WHAT DOES PROTEIN DO?
The main benefit of protein is the impact it has on your body’s growth and maintenance. For example, if you’re actively trying to build muscle, protein is essential, as it will help maintain your muscle mass, while also helping to repair muscle. Aside from growth and maintenance, there are countless other benefits of protein, including transporting and storing nutrients around the body, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, and also boosting the immune system.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?
It’s recommended that adults consume 0.8kg-1.5kg protein per kg of body weight. So, for the average man (weighing 80kg), they'd need to eat between 64g and 120g depending on how active they are. Then for the average woman (weighing 70kg), they'd need to consume between 56g and 105g of protein.
For those who have a slight addiction to Grenade Bars, fear not! If you’re considered highly active and hitting the weights in a bid to build and maintain muscle mass, then you can afford to consume slightly more protein than this advises.
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH IN PROTEIN?
If you’re not a fan of the famed protein shake and would prefer to get your protein in via your day to day diet, then you needn’t worry – there are loads of protein-packed foods that are super easy to work into your diet. Even vegans and those practicing a plant-based diet can still cram in the protein – you can find out more about plant-based protein here.
Here’s some of our favourite high protein foods:
Another versatile, high protein option – what can’t you do with eggs?! Fried, poached, boiled or scrambled, eggs are super easy, cheap and accessible. If you’re looking for a fancy breakfast option, give our Shakshuka recipe a go.
You can’t go wrong with chicken. Super accessible, easy to cook and perhaps the most versatile of meats, there’s no end to the dishes you can whip up with this high protein ingredient. Chicken curries are a great shout, especially for batch cooking. Or, why not cut into fillets and grill to add a smoky BBQ twist to your meal.
The perfect post-workout snack or ideal for throwing into curries and stews to add extra flavour. Peanuts are easy to get hold of and can be added to various recipes and snacks. And, don’t forget about peanut butter! This nutty condiment has long been a favourite amongst protein lovers. Slather on toast, add to your favourite recipes or grab a spoon and dig in!
Beans and legumes
For plant-based people, adding beans and legumes, such as lentils, into your cooking is a great way to pack in the protein while adding flavour and giving your dishes more substance. Throw some haricot beans into your soups, stews, and curries to add a buttery texture or thicken your dishes with lentils.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU EAT TOO MUCH PROTEIN?
As you know, you can have too much of a good thing, and protein is no exception. In extreme cases, consuming too much protein can lead to several health complications, including weight gain, diarrhoea, dehydration and even kidney damage.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS IN A PROTEIN BAR?
The protein content varies from brand to brand, but our Grenade Bars are packed with up to 20g of the stuff, making them a great post-workout snack, a healthier treat to tame that sweet tooth and the perfect pick-me-up during that midday meeting.