Aussies have a large gap in their knowledge of nutrition, with only a quarter aware of their ideal protein intake, new survey has found.
It also found an additional three in four surveyed were unaware of how to track their own protein intake.
The survey was conducted by nutrition and food tracking app MyFitnessPal.
Fitness coach and MyFitnessPal App ambassador Luke Hines said: “Protein is one of the three primary macros, in addition to carbohydrates and fat, that form the basic building blocks of good nutrition.
"It’s concerning, but not all that surprising, to see just how much Aussies really know about their ideal intake,” he said.
Australia is an active nation with the research showing more than two thirds of Australians exercise at least once a week.
Interestingly, the research found that two in three regular exercisers did not know the ideal protein intake to support their exercise regimen.
Good sources of protein include:
1. Meat: Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, and other types of meat are rich sources of high-quality protein.
2. Fish and seafood: Fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and shellfish like shrimp and mussels are excellent sources of protein and also provide omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Eggs: Eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all essential amino acids. They're also versatile and easy to prepare.
4. Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese are rich in protein, particularly casein and whey protein.
5. Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are plant-based protein sources that are also high in fibre and various nutrients.
6. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, cashews, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and others offer a good amount of protein along with healthy fats.
7. Tofu and tempeh: These soy-based products are popular among vegetarians and vegans and provide a complete protein source.
8. Quinoa: A grain-like seed that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent plant-based protein source.
9. Edamame: Young, green soybeans are rich in protein and make for a tasty and nutritious snack.
10. Seitan: Also known as wheat gluten, seitan is a high-protein meat substitute commonly used in vegetarian and vegan dishes.
11. Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt has a higher protein content compared to regular yogurt, making it a great option for a protein-packed breakfast or snack.
12. Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is not only high in protein but also low in fat, making it a good option for those looking to increase protein intake without consuming too many calories.
A balanced diet with adequate protein receives essential amino acids that are critical for various bodily functions. Those who don’t meet these needs are less likely to reach their health and fitness goals as easily as those who do.
“Our bodies require a specific amount of protein not only to build and repair muscles and bones, but also for energy. In general our protein intake is already varied between gender, weight, and height, but it changes again depending on how frequently one exercises, and what their goals are,” Luke said.
“Seeing just how active Australian women and men truly are, it is important that education around protein intake starts now so that as a nation, we are consuming the nutrients we need."
Despite the findings that show two in three people are trying to improve their macro intake, an overwhelming 80% of Australians were not tracking, or learning how to track their consumption.
Nutrition tracking apps, like MyFitnessPal, provide opportunities for people to learn about macros and their own healthy consumption levels. In fact, by integrating daily physical activity, body weight, height, and gender, regular users are able to better understand their ideal protein intake.