Are You Sure You’re Getting Enough?Protein. Greek yogurt, Paleo Diet, protein powders, protein plus noodles – it’s everywhere. One would think we are all getting more than our fair share of protein. “We aren’t known as a country that’s low in protein,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of TheFlexitarian Diet. “These days, most of the hot fad diets are very pro-protein.”Regardless of this saturated protein push, there are still some who aren’t getting enough. Vegetarians and those who restrict and under-eat, says Blatner. It’s hard to identify who isn’t getting enough because our intakes are based individually. Our weight, height and activity level for starters all play roles in the amount of protein we should be consuming daily.”If somebody is eating a 2,000-calorie diet, it could be 50 grams to 150 grams of protein per day,” says Blatner. Are you feeling a little protein deprived? Don’t worry about the numbers, seek out these signs your body may be telling you.
- You Always Get Hangnails “Our skin is a huge immune organ because it protects us from the environment,” says Blatner. Due to a shortage of protein, you may notice cracks or tears, potentially exposing you to pathogens and leading to infections.
- Your Brain Feels Foggy Your protein at meals can help time-release the carbs for steady energy. This will reduce blood sugar spikes. If you’re relying only on crackers, pretzels or bread, you’ll get energy, but it just won’t be for the long haul, followed by the fog.
- Your Hair is Falling Out You may find hair in your brush, but it shouldn’t be clumps or large amounts. Protein is the building block of all of your cells—your hair follicles included. But if you typically don’t get enough protein, you may notice that your strands start thinning (although keep in mind, this can also be a sign of other conditions, like thyroid trouble).
- You Feel Weak We all know that protein is essential for building muscle. If you don’t get enough of it, your muscles may start to shrink over time. As a result, you may feel weak and unable to do the exercises you once excelled at.
- You Get Sick Constantly “Protein is needed to build all the compounds in our immune systems,” says Blatner. If you seem to be infection prone or catch a cold more than your friendse—and you’re in good health— your deficient food friend, protein, may be to blame.
- You Crave Sweets Blanter says, “If all you ate in the morning was a handful of cereal, you’re going to get energy right away, then your energy is going to wane.” One of the first signs you’re low on protein: You start craving sweets and feel like you’re never quite full. One of the protein’s biggest chores is to keep your blood sugar regulated —which means if you’re lacking, your glucose levels will be all over the place, encouraging you to reach for a quick fix like candy.
So how do you think you are doing? Feel deprived or just about right? Write down all your protein intake for 2 days and see if you are getting enough. Use on online calorie tracker to assist if you ren’t sure how much to get.