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Getting the right amount of calories and protein

05 October, 2014

With so much information regarding calorie counting, fad diets and magical weight-loss claims in the media, the cold hard facts about diet and nutrition often get lost in the malaise.

The hard truth that we are told time and again is that in Australia around 70% of men, 55% of women and 25% of children are carrying too much body fat. So regardless of the current increase in food awareness and health fads, we’re still getting larger.

Health experts denounce all fad diets, claiming that there is no such thing as a magic potion to cure us of weight gain. It all comes down to what we put into our bodies versus our output of energy. And this can be easily regulated with a balanced healthy diet, the right amount of protein and calorie education.

Protein-packed foods like skin-free chicken, lean meat, eggs, beans, milk and cheese are all integral to building and repairing organs, burning fat and ultimately sustaining life. These foods also have a huge thermic effect - in other words, they contain satiating (or filling) calories that make you feel fuller, faster. “Foods” like soft drinks, desserts and lollies are empty calories, as they are high in calories with no nutritional value or satiating properties.

There’s an all-encompassing golden rule for protein intake that works for most people. On average, you should be eating 1.6-3 grams per kilo of body weight, per day. Of course, this is not true for everyone, and the right amount of calories and protein differs depending on your individual situations and whether you want to lose weight, burn fat or build muscle.

For example, if you are a non-exercising male or female adult who is looking to better your general health, the recommended intake is 1-1.4 grams per kilo, per day. Adult males who exercise to build muscle will need to eat 2-3 grams per kilo, per day.

There are 4 calories for every 1gm of protein, so it’s easy to figure out how many calories are taken up by protein each day. Your calorie limit is also dependent on your situation, so it’s best to set a personal limit depending on your current weight and your goal weight.

With a greater understanding of what you’re putting into your body, you’ll pave the way to better health.

Here are some high protein recipes that are easy to prepare and low in calories:

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