Protein is one of the headliners when people talk about tips for losing weight. After all, this essential nutrient replaces carbs and fat in your diet, and helps keep you full while losing weight faster.
Well, as it turns out, protein isn’t the star of the show after all. It’s the amino acids inside the high-protein foods. These make it possible for the body to synthesize proteins properly.
And, when we don’t consume enough amino acids, our bodies aren’t able to function correctly.
That’s why it’s often helpful to consume foods that are “complete proteins.” These contain all 9 essential amino acids that the body doesn’t produce (and therefore needs from food).
Many of these “complete proteins” come from animal sources, like milk, eggs, and meat. There are also vegetarian sources, such as soy and quinoa.
And, when you combine red beans/lentils with whole grain rice (or peanut butter with wholemeal bread) these combos create a “complete protein.”
So how much of this protein do you actually need?
The truth is, it’s hard to say. Harvard Health recommends 0.8g of protein for every kg (or approx. 2 lbs.) that you weigh.
However, it really depends on a variety of factors. These include age, gender, and activity level.
To get an accurate read on your specific body’s protein needs, you can use the simple USDA Calculator here.