Don't chicken out on protein
From our hair to our muscles, protein is an essential building block for the cells in our bodies.
The average person needs about 0.8g of protein for each kg of body weight, and that is just the minimum.
Most of us can easily hit this requirement with a varied diet, but if you're following a strict regimented diet that compromises on foods such as white meat, egg and seafood, you might just want to know the long-term effects of what a lack of protein can do to your health.
MORE SUGAR CRAVINGS
With a meal that has mostly carbohydrates and very little protein, the carbs tend to digest faster and cause your blood sugar to rise. The rise will soon be followed by a drop, igniting a craving for more sugar.
Your meal should have a good balance of both so that your blood sugar changes become more gradual.
HAIR THINS OUT
Hair is made up of protein (termed keratin), so consuming enough protein is essential for hair growth.
The last thing you would want is for your hair to start thinning or falling out because of that strict diet you're on.
YOU ARE OFTEN EXHAUSTED
In a long course of not eating enough protein, your body will break down muscles to make up for the lack of protein, which can lead to a loss of energy and even muscle weakness and pain.
This will definitely be a disadvantage to your workouts, affecting your stamina and progress.
SKIN AND NAILS GET WEAK
Your nail and skin cells also depend heavily on protein to grow.
Eventually, you'll find your nails getting weaker to the point of breakage and skin becoming flaky.
FALL SICK EASILY
An important building component of your body's immunity is protein.
A lack of protein consumption directly affects how often you fall ill.
Protein also plays a part in keeping fluids in your body from accumulating in tissues, usually formed in your feet and ankles - also known as fluid retention or edema, a swelling condition.
This article first appeared in Shape.com.sg, the only women's health and fitness magazine in Singapore.