Protein: How Much Do We Actually Need?

by Kids of Steel

Protein seems to be a hot topic, almost to a feverish level. However, how much do we really need?

To answer this question think about toy building blocks that snap together (they rhyme with Eggo). The proteins that you eat (food) is like the building block structures and your body breaks them down to the smaller building block pieces to rebuild what it needs. You can only build as many toy building blocks structures that you have toy building block pieces AND you can only build so fast. If you have more building blocks (or protein) than you have time to build they eventually get lost in the couch (or you step on them) and are not used to build more structures. 

Eating too much protein is similar. If you eat more than you need it is, in a way, wasted. More is not better, but neither is too little. If you have too few toy building block pieces your body can’t build what you want, just like your body can’t build what it needs to function as well. 

Getting the right amount is important, but not complicated. Here is the easiest way: the amount of grams of protein you need each day is equal to half your weight in pounds. This is enough for even moderately active people eating the recommended diet. In fact, most Americans eat well above their protein needs.

Animal sources:
Beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish and shellfish, bison, game animals, turkey, etc.

Plant sources:
Beans, nuts, legumes, soy products (edamame, tempeh, tofu) seitan 

Here is a great source to help you learn how to meet your protein needs.

- Nick Fischer, RD, LDN

Comments (0)