How Much Protein is Adequate?
6 of the most common asked questions↓
If you do not eat any protein or very little protein, your metabolic process will extract the energy it needs from your muscle, which is the most efficient source. The body loses muscle mass from the heart muscle, as well as other areas. The same thing occurs if we stop all exercise or movement. Once you have lost muscle mass through inadequate protein and caloric intake, it is more difficult to build it.
An adequate protein intake is 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Exercise will increase your requirements! For every hour of exercise, add 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Complete proteins contain an essential amino acid and must be a supplied through our diet because we cannot create this amino acid by ourselves. If we consume a complete protein, it is metabolized to produce energy.
An incomplete protein contains a combination of some, but not all, of the essential amino acids. It will produce some energy, but it is mostly lost in the metabolic process.
The most perfect protein is the egg!
It has all the essential amino acids and the yolk contains good fat.
Other complete proteins include:
All kinds of meat (red meat is also a good source of iron)
Cheeses and Milk
Beans are also a source of Protein but again must be combined with cheese or meat to be complete.
*Did you know? Cooking in cast iron pans adds extra iron.
Not always. Quinoa comes to mind first. Do not be fooled by the marketing and misinformation! It is not a miracle grain. The same goes for wheat, rye, rice, quinoa, arrowroot, etc. While they have some essential amino acids, there are, in fact, NO grains that contain all 8. Nut Butters, Sesame Butter, and Sunflower Butters are also incomplete proteins.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, then it becomes more difficult to consume complete proteins. For example, if you eat 1 Tablespoon peanut butter, 1 slice of whole wheat or gluten free bread and jello, you consumed approximately 1 gram of complete protein. However, that doesn’t guarantee that your body will metabolize the amino acids and use the energy. If you include milk, cheese and eggs in your meal plan then you have a better chance of getting complete proteins. If you do not, then it becomes essential that you calculate and eat meals that have all the 8 essential amino acids.
A balanced intake for the 6 food groups.
- 2 servings Fats, milk, eggs, yogurt
- 2-3 servings Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs,
- 3-5 servings of Vegetables
- 2-4 servings of Fruit.
- 6-11 servings of Bread, cereal, rice and pasta.
Degree BS Nutrition Chemistry Utah State University
Internship Dietitian: Massachusetts General Hospital
Masters Degree: Economics, HR University of Utah
Experience 30 + year’s clinical nutrition U of U research, VA Hospital SLC, Consultant Long term Care. Weight Loss counseling, anorexia counseling, Diabetic counseling and geriatric counseling. National Trainer VA.