It is very important to get enough protein in your diet. Unfortunately a lot of people who think they are eating healthy, are eating too many carbs and not enough protein. When you don't get enough protein it is easy to eat too many carbs in order to feel satisfied. So you may ask just what is protein and why is it so important?
Protein is the structural component of every cell in the human body. Proteins function as the building blocks for bones, cartlidge, muscle, skin, blood, hormones and vitamins. During the digestive process, proteins are broken down into amino acids and nine of the amino acids are not made by the body but must be eaten. Those amino acids are called the essential amino acids and all nine of them are found together in animal products. Thus meat, eggs, and milk are excellent sources of complete protein. Some plant based foods are also sources of protein but they are not sources of the complete protein. So you can see it is important to have lean meats and dairy products included in your diet.
It is possible to combine incomplete proteins to form complete proteins but you have to know what you are doing. One way is to combine grains, barley for example, with legumes such as lentils.
If you are wondering how much protein you need, here is the recommendation. It is recommended you have 0.8 grams protein for every kilogram of body weight. That works out to 55 grams of protein per day for a 150 pound woman or 80 grams per day for a 220 pound man.
Watch your nutrition labels and be sure you are getting enough protein in your diet, especially if you are dieting.
NOTE: Protein is especially important to diabetics as proteins don't raise blood glucose levels like carbs do!