Recently a woman said to me, “I nibble all day, I am always hungry.” My response was, “How much protein are you eating?” For me, I can’t avoid hunger in the morning if I don’t eat protein and I think many of us take that for granted, hence we could eat a bison by the time lunchtime rolls around.
Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids — 22 are considered vital for health. Protein is needed to build and repair our muscles, for healthy hair and skin, to fight against infections and to carry oxygen in our blood. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. Of these, the adult body can make 14; the other eight (called essential amino acids) can only be obtained from what we eat so it needs to be the right foods.
Only fish, meat, poultry, eggs, cheese and other foods from animal sources contain complete proteins which include the eight essential amino acids. A vegetarian must choose from a variety of plant proteins that include soy, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains to get enough essential amino acids. The amount of protein needed based on weight can be calculated is approximately.36 grams of protein per pound. A good estimate is that protein should comprise 10% of a healthy diet. If you eat 1600 calories per day, take 1600 calories times 10%, then divide by 4 calories per gram and you will have a rough estimate of around 40 grams.
A great link for seeing the calories you should eat based on current or ideal weight can be found at: http://www.shapefit.com/dailycalorie-calc.html and then protein necessary can be calculated. To see how you are doing on your protein intake, it is helpful to keep a food diary and calculate the grams of protein you eat on a daily basis as well as your calories.
For weight loss tips and other great information on how your body processes food, check out Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser. She suggests eating every 4 hours, but that still includes monitoring calories (and likely avoiding late night eating!). Jillian has some great tips regarding metabolism and insulin and on her site and she has a sign up form to put you on a custom weight-loss plan!