The Ultimate Guide To Protein Intake

Yes… we’re talking about protein, again. And for good reason, not just because we released our NEW! protein box (if you haven’t checked it out, it’s giving the ultimate satiating snack box of your dreams vibes)!

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps you grow strong, and most importantly STAY strong. The general recommendation for daily protein intake is about 0.36g per pound of bodyweight. You need adequate protein intake to preserve your lean body mass. Lean body mass is the difference between total body weight and total body fat. Lean body mass groups together muscle, organs, bones, tissues etc. This baseline of 0.36g per pound means that a 143 lbs pound woman should be eating 54g of protein per day -  this is simply not enough. This underestimation solely prevents us from being malnourished, but doesn’t prevent us from age-related health diseases such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and inflammatory diseases. Aside from age-related health diseases, increasing protein intake can help improve various essential factors that enhance your quality of life. Pumping up your protein intake can have positive effects on weight management, hormone balance, mood and energy, and sleep!  

Weight Management 

Having muscle, specifically skeletal muscle, is the most efficient site in the body for glucose uptake. Our muscles rely on glucose to move - and when we eat, our muscles shuttle glucose into their receptor sites to save energy for use later on in the day. What does this mean for you? This means, the more muscle you have, the lower your blood glucose will be, allowing you to have more variance in what you eat, optimize your metabolism, and not worry about your carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately, with the low dietary intake of protein seen across North America, skeletal muscle is in decline. People are eating healthier, working out more, and still not seeing increases in muscle mass. This is because people are not eating enough protein to sustain the muscle they already have. People are partaking in detox diets, juice cleanses, plant based diets etc. and losing muscle before they lose fat. More simply put, people are working in overdrive only to lose muscle, increase their chances of weight gain, and metabolic dysregulation. 

Hormone Balance 

Proteins make up our hormones - so there is no denying that inadequate protein intake is going to cause either an overproduction or underproduction of certain hormones, resulting in an imbalance. The hormones we are focusing on are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (this is where this blog post focuses on female related hormone imbalances.. sorry to the males reading). Hormones are critical for more than just reproductive health, they play a key role in bone density, mood regulation and metabolic health. We need a healthy balance of these hormones in order to function optimally and when there is insufficient protein in the diet, we notice issues with estrogen dominance, low progesterone and testosterone. The liver is a key player in balancing hormones and relies heavily on nutrients from protein in order to help detoxify estrogen, which helps keep levels with respect to progesterone and testosterone in check.  

Elevated Mood, Energy and Sleep! 

Proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids make up all cells in the body. They are responsible for making enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers from the brain to tissues that signal an action. The most common neurotransmitters are glutamate, acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine, GABA, oxytocin, and adrenaline. In order to explain how protein elevates mood, energy and sleep, let’s talk about the main neurotransmitters and how they impact these factors. 

Glutamate is responsible for exciting neurons to fire signals. Acetylcholine is present where your nerves and muscles meet, meaning it's responsible for signalling your muscle to move. Serotonin is predominantly made in your GI tract and is often referred to as the brain in the gut. Serotonin helps signal feelings of hunger, fullness, when you’ve eaten poisonous food etc. In the brain, serotonin is responsible for feelings of happiness. Dopamine is known as the reward signalling neurotransmitter. When you complete a task, go on your phone, it helps you feel pleasure. GABA is considered the opposite of glutamate, it helps to calm everything down, slow signalling and ultimately it's most known for helping you fall and stay asleep. Oxytocin is often regarded as the love hormone, but it is more than that - it is responsible for social connection, loyalty, and for women specifically, in childbirth and breastfeeding. Last but not least, we have adrenaline. Adrenaline signals your body to shift into fight or flight mode, helping you deal with perceived stress and improve decision making. So, if all these neurotransmitters aren’t firing properly, we’re missing out on essential signals that help improve our mood, energy, and sleep. And what may block the production of these neurotransmitters, is not having enough amino acids. More simply put, if we don’t have adequate protein intake, our brain has a very hard time telling our bodies to perform actions that we need to and want to complete.  


At Aiyana, we know how difficult and overwhelming it can be to cook protein and have it actually taste good. Or to be able to get in all the cooking needed to keep your body feeling it’s best, which is why we centre a lot of our meals around protein… to make your life easier. Check out our protein options on the website, any of our non vegan fridge fillers, and our new protein box to help you get in that optimal protein intake so you can look good and  feel good, everyday! 

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