Proteins are basically macronutrients made up of long chains of amino acids essential to life. They play an important role in many functions of our metabolism including the structure of our cells, muscle composition, nails, hair, skin, blood, hormones, antibodies and more. In addition, they play a role in the growth and digestion of food. Obviously, they cannot be neglected.

Where are the protein sources found?

As far as protein is concerned, there are two categories: animal and vegetable. For animal sources, which are a little easier to distinguish, they are found in beef, pork, poultry and fish. These have a high bioavailability. In other words, they are easily absorbed and used by the human body. In terms of frequency, we will favour lean meats (e.g. chicken, turkey) and limit meats with a higher fat content (e.g. beef) to 1 portion/week.

As for vegetable proteins, there are now many sources. We now know, thanks to the results of several studies, that we can live very well without consuming meat and dairy products. In other words, it is possible to live a healthy diet without an animal source. It is not simply possible but often beneficial.  Canada's 2019 Food Guide suggests that plant proteins should be favoured for their many benefits, particularly for heart health. They are found in tofu, tempeh, quinoa, legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), peanut butter, nuts, oats, brown rice, etc.

Contrary to some beliefs, eating large amounts of protein does not improve your health. In fact, consuming too much protein can be harmful to the human body and dangerous. The current recommendations for a rather sedentary adult in terms of protein are 0.8g protein/kg body weight and 1-1.2g/kg for a more athletic lifestyle. For example, if you weigh 65 kg you need about 52g of protein per day. Remember to add at least one source of protein per meal and snack. You will therefore have a good chance of meeting your protein needs without worrying and managing your hunger throughout the day!