The ABCs of protein

Sure we need protein, but why?

It is no secret that protein plays a key role in our health, and sufficient intake each day is essential. However, do you know why it is so important, and how to spread out your protein intake throughout the day to optimize its use and benefits?

Does protein produce muscle mass?

While it is true that protein is used to build and repair our muscles, its role goes even further. In particular, it is used to build and repair the body’s tissues, namely hair, nails and skin. It also plays an essential role in the formation of enzymes, hormones and antibodies to fight infections. In fact, proteins are the building blocks of all cells in the body.

Spreading out your protein intake

The human body’s ability to store excess protein is limited. Consequently, there is no advantage in consuming a large amount of protein in a single meal. A growing body of research is also showing the important role of protein in managing hunger and satiety. As a result, nutritionists recommend consuming a sufficient amount at every meal, but particularly at snack time.

This recommendation helps you control your appetite in the short term and maintain your energy throughout the day. Many people continue to skip breakfast or neglect to consume protein during their first meal of the day. However, studies show that a high-protein breakfast can be an effective strategy for controlling your appetite in the afternoon.

Frequently asked questions

  • How much protein is enough?

    How much protein is enough?

    For adults, the daily intake of protein currently recommended by Health Canada is 0.8 g/kg of body weight. These requirements increase under various circumstances, such as those involving athletes and pregnant women.

  • Where do I get protein?

    Where do I get protein?

    According to Canada’s Food Guide, foods in the “Meat and Alternatives” group (chicken, nuts, legumes, eggs, etc.) as well as dairy products and their substitutes (milk, yogurt, cheese, soy beverages, etc.) are the most important proteins.

  • How do I improve my breakfast?

    How do I improve my breakfast?

    If you eat mainly carbohydrate-rich foods at breakfast (e.g. toast with jam, a bowl of oatmeal or cereal), you could easily boost the protein content by adding an egg, some nut butter or Greek yogurt.

  • Why should I snack?

    Why should I snack?

    Adding snacks between meals can help you meet your daily protein requirement and properly spread out your protein intake throughout the day.

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