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Understanding Your Daily Protein Needs
- Protein is essential to our bodies, which is why high protein diet foods can be so beneficial
- High protein diet plans can help you meet an array of health goals, such as losing weight and building healthy muscle
- If you’re unsure of good protein sources, try looking at a protein diet menu
Protein is an essential nutrient for good health. Without sufficient protein, our bodies won’t be able to work as well as they should. For example, you won’t be able to build lean, healthy muscle nor will some of your body’s important functions, such as your immune system, work correctly. However, most of our protein sources are also high in fat so finding the right balance and eating enough protein for a healthy body can be a challenge. Below are some guidelines to help you determine how much protein you should have in your daily diet.
Your Daily Protein Allowance
A recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been determined for us, by the government, based on a combination of gender and age. The protein needs for children are relatively low at 16 to 28 grams for ages 1 to 10. When men and women hit adolescence, ages 11-14, their protein needs are about the same at 45 to 46 grams. However, women’s protein requirements lessen , to about 50 grams as they hit 25 + years, while men’s increase to about 63 grams. However, women do need more protein when they are pregnant – up to 60 grams.
While using an age/gender chart to determine your RDA may be an easy answer, our body size is another important part of determining our protein needs. The more we weigh the more protein we are going to need to keep our body working properly. There is some calculations you will need to do to determine your best requirements. Additionally, you also need to realize that your protein requirements are affected by your normal activity levels. Taking into consideration that most of us don’t exercise regularly, we would need about .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. The more exercise and athletic you are, the more protein you are going to need.
Using these calculations, take your weight and multiply it by .36 giving you an estimated protein requirement per day. Therefore, an average person with a weight of 160 pounds would need about 57 grams of protein per day. An average person with a weight of 125 pounds would need about 45 grams of protein a day.
RDA protein = Food
Now that you know how much protein, on average, you should be eating daily, you need to understand how much protein is in the food you’re eating. Below are a few examples:
• 1 cup skim milk = 8 grams
• 1 egg = 6 grams
• ½ cup cottage cheese = 14 grams
• 1 slice bacon = 21 grams
• 1 ounce of peanuts = 7 grams
• 6 ounces of tofu = 12 grams
• 3 ounces of sirloin steak = 26 grams
• ¼ lb hamburger patty = 28 grams
• 1 ounce American cheese = 6 grams
As you can see, you don’t need to eat a lot of food to reach your RDA on protein, whether you use the easy chart or the calculation method. If you do want to indulge on protein, you are better off choosing foods derived from plants, such as peanuts and tofu, than animal products, such as cheese and meat, because of the higher fat content in the latter. Remember that moderation is always the key to healthy eating, even when you’re talking about eating your favorite foods.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Nutritious Food30 Sep 2008|