6 signs you're not eating enough protein
Our bodies need protein for pretty much everything. It's the building block of all the cells in our bodies—skin, muscles, bones, cartilage, hair, you name it. Eating enough of it every day is essential for our bodies to repair damaged cells and to create new ones. When you get too little protein, over time, it can impact every aspect of your health.
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Most people get the protein they need most of the time, and full blown protein deficiency is uncommon in the U.S. and other developed countries. But if you're sticking to a regimented diet, it's possible you're not giving your body the protein it needs, which can lead to food cravings, impede your fitness goals, or have other wide-ranging effects on how you look and feel.
The amount of protein each of us needs varies depending on our age, sex, height, weight, and activity levels. As a general recommendation, the USDA suggests 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, then multiply by 0.8). "Most young adults who consume a widely varied diet will easily meet their protein requirements on a daily basis," Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., senior dietician at UCLA Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor at the Fielding School of Public Health, tells SELF. But, she adds, "calorie-restrictive diets sometimes can lead to decreased protein intake."
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The people most likely to be low in protein are those who are chronically ill or who undereat, Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF. "Some vegans and vegetarians are at risk if they aren't including enough plant-based protein in their meals," she adds. (There are plenty of plant-based proteins to choose from, though, if you don't eat meat—here are some great options.)
Here are some signs you might not be getting enough of this important macronutrient.
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