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A healthy way to add more protein to your diet

Protein is a basic structural component of the human body, as it is found in the muscles, skin and hair. The building blocks of proteins in humans are amino acids, of which there are about 20. Of these, 9 are called essential amino acids because they can't be synthesized by the body and we have to get them from our food. The essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. 

According to the National Academy of Medicine of the United States, adults need 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight:

  • A person weighing 75kg would need 60g protein per day
  • A person weighing 90kg would need 72g protein per day

Of course, the United States' National Academy of Medicine puts forward a wider range of protein intake: it recommends that 10% -35% of the total caloric intake should be derived from protein. A recent study by Harvard University, whose participants included 130,000 men and women over 32 years, concluded that the percentage of calories from protein intake by diet is not related to mortality or specific causes of death.

In any case, people in developed countries don't often suffer from lack of protein intake, but more frequently take in too much protein. The main problem in this case is the fact that, very often, foods containing protein can be rich in fat, salt and/or starch. Several studies show that what is important in protein intake is the remaining micro- or macronutrients. For example, a 120g fish fillet contains 33g of protein but also has 5g saturated fat, while a salmon fillet contains 30g protein, but the 1-4g fats in it are mainly omega-3, which are particularly beneficial to the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

In order to be more consistent with nutritional recommendations for a healthy diet, it is good to have a diet that includes mainly pulses, nuts, fish and poultry to meet your protein needs, rather than red meat.

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