Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How much protein do we really need?

With the low carb-high protein Atkins craze, many Americans filled their diets with protein. Thankfully, most have begun to see the actual medical damage the Atkins diet poses on the body and have begun to eat a little more normally. Yet, many of us still fill our diet holes with extra protein. In fact most sedentary Americans eat about 50% more protein than they really require.

Chronic high-protein diets, meaning greater than 2.5 the RDA; can eventually lead to calcium depletion, fluid imbalance, eventual hunger, slower metabolism, and energy loss. These diets are also associated with heart disease and various types of cancer. In addition, eating too much protein taxes the kidneys.

So when we are surrounded by all these protein bars, protein shakes, books and magazines pushing us to eat more meat, eat more protein?? Life tends to get confusing and we begin to question how do we get this balance?

The protein necessary per individual depends on a few factors:
  • Amount of resistance training and length of endurance workouts
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Recovering from cold/illness
  • Intense endurance or weight training
The more one is exercising, the more protein the body needs to recover from tissue damage. But still be wary of that 2.5 factor!! Don’t overdo it!

Most sedentary adults require about (0.5-0.8)g/ kg (of body weight). While strength trained and endurance trained athletes require about (1.2-1.7)g/ kg (of body weight).

Here’s another quick calculation:
  1. (weight in pounds)/2 = (weight in kg)
  2. (weight in kg) x (0.8-1.8gm/kg) = (gm of protein required)
    • 0.8 (lower #)= sedentary individuals in good health
    • 1-1.8 (higher #)= high stress, pregnant, recovering from cold/illness, or intense exercise regime


NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

1 comment:

  1. Good point. Protein is essential to a healthy diet, but I think many people go over board with it. As was mentioned, it all depends on the demands that are put on your body.