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Why Do We Need Protein?

Why should we care about protein, anyway?

Everything is high-protein these days, and you’ve undoubtedly heard that you should be eating “enough” protein. But why is that?

 

Every Day Life

When it comes to every day life, protein is vital for a heathy life. Our bodily functions rely on protein, and everything from your immune system to your digestive system relies on protein!

Adequate protein helps with digestion, blood clotting, bone health, hormone production, and much more.

 

For Weight Gain

(AKA in a caloric surplus)

If you’re eating in a surplus, odds are you are trying to build some muscle. And what you’ve heard 1000 times is true- protein is the building block of muscles. While you will be able to build muscle without eating tons of protein, you’re making the job much harder for yourself by no maximizing your protein intake.

Even if muscle building isn’t the goal, see the previous explanation for every day life. Adequate protein is necessary to make sure your body is functioning optimally!

 

For Weight Loss

When you’re in a deficit (or dieting) protein is the most important.

It’s recommended to increase your protein intake when you’re dieting, for a few reasons- most importantly, it allows you to hold onto as much muscle as possible. If you’re in a deficit for a long time, you’re bound to lose some muscle, but prioritizing protein will help minimize that effect.

Protein is also satiating, helping you to stay full while eating less than you’re used to, and the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macronutrients, which means it requires the most energy to digest, burning more calories (it’s not a significant amount, but can help!)

 

How much protein do you actually need?

The most widely recommended amount is 1g per pound of bodyweight. Which I’ll admit, I aimed for that number for a very long time, and I even bumped it up to 1.5g per pound of bodyweight at one point. That meant that I was eating 285g of protein per day at one point! 2 things about that…

  1. It is very, very expensive
  2. It will wreak havoc on your body. To put it less delicately: it will give you the worst gas of your life.

You DEFINITELY do not need that much.

Since I dropped my protein intake a bit, my progress in the gym has actually improved! Why? Because my body gets to put the extra carbs and fats to use, and it has my body feeling much better (and less gassy, I might add)

0.6g per pound of bodyweight is plenty if you’re aiming to eat high protein. That means if you weigh 150 pounds, that’s about 90g of protein, which is much more manageable than trying to consume 150g every day!

Not sure where to get your protein for? Check out this handy guide I put together:

What 100 grams of protein looks like

There’s no “best” way to get your protein, and I like to eat a variety of sources from each column.

However, I want to illustrate that it’s not too difficult to eat high protein! 100 grams may sound like a ton if you’re not used to eating that much, but it is very much attainable.

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About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Cheatdaydesign.com. Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More