Most people in the U.S. get more than enough protein each day, and probably get too much from meat, poultry, and eggs. Extra protein will not help build more muscle or make a person stronger. And it is likely, if you are eating too much protein, you are eating more calories and fat than your body needs.
Most adults in the U.S. need 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein or 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight. (2.2lbs = 1kg). For example, a 130 lb woman needs about 50g of protein and a 175lb man needs about 65g.
It’s not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day. Below are some food examples and protein values:
A small 3-ounce piece of meat (size of a deck of cards) has about 21 grams of protein.
One 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.
One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.
One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein.
There are people who need to pay more attention to their protein requirements:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Usually it is recommended that pregnant women increase their protein intake by 10g and breastfeeding women by 20g.
Athletes. Most sports involve physically breaking down muscle during the activity and repairing it afterward. So the protein needs of active people are influenced by the length, frequency, and intensity of their workouts. Endurance athletes such as marathoners need about 50% more protein than a sedentary person and body builders might need twice as much protein as a sedentary person. Most of us do not fit into these categories.
Dieters. A little extra protein may help you maintain lean muscle mass. Protein also tends to be more filling, therefore making it easier to stick with a weight-loss program. Just keep an eye on the calories and portion sizes of your protein choices.
Vegetarians and Vegans. A little extra planning may be required to make sure you get the protein required.
For more details regarding nutrition and diet, talk to a registered dietitian or certified Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.