What is “enough protein” anyway?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is approximately 0.8 grams of
protein per kilogram of body weight. 10% to 30% of your calories should come from protein
— but this differs based on your weight, lifestyle and age. For instance, a person who lifts
weights may need more or as you grow older, your body needs protein to counter loss of
muscle mass. If you’re unsure about how much protein you need to consume, you can use
an online tool or visit a dietitian.
If you aren’t consciously checking your food or calorie counting, it can be hard to
understand if your meals have enough protein. Fortunately, your body is always telling us
what it needs, you just need to watch out for the signs!
Tell-tale signs you need to up your protein intake:
Protein is the most satiating nutrient that helps you stay fuller for longer. If you’re
constantly hungry or looking for snacks between meals, you’re most likely not getting
enough protein in your meals. Additionally, because protein can also even out blood sugar
highs and lows, lack of it can lead to you craving sweets and sugar.
- Hair, Skin and Nail issues:
According to studies, the first sign of low protein is hair fall. Issues with thin hair, weak nails
and peeling skin have been linked to lack of protein
- Swelling or Fluid Retention:
Another common indicator is swelling, especially in your abdomen, feet, legs and hands. The
proteins in your blood, especially albumin, help prevent fluid retention.
- Frequent Illness, Weakness, Fatigue and Brain Fog:
Protein is necessary for a healthy immune system. Lack of it can lead to lower immunity and
getting sick more often or taking time to get over an illness. Additionally, amino acids are
responsible for the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. A deficiency in
protein can cause brain fog and affect mood, anxiety and sleep.
Edemas and illnesses can also be symptoms of other issues, it’s always best to consult your
doctor if you have an issue.
Things to-do if you lack protein:
- Take a look at your diet. Reduce carbs and sugars and increase your protein intake. If
you’re vegan, you can opt for plant based proteins in whole grains, lentils, soy,
beans, nuts and veggies.
- Introduce clean sources of protein like shakes made from protein powders. Origin
Nutrition for instance is packed with 25 gms of protein per serving, comes in a
variety of flavours, is dairy free, vegan, no added sugars and is also soy, gluten and
- Use tools like our protein calculator to track your protein intake and keep a food
diary to track your food and its effects.