Protein requirements

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Protein requirements

Postby Gwen » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:57 pm

Hi Jeff,
How many grams of protein do we need each day?
Thanks,
Gwen
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby JeffN » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:41 am

Gwen wrote:Hi Jeff,
How many grams of protein do we need each day?
Thanks,
Gwen


Hi Gwen,

I don't know! :)

But then again, neither does anyone else. :)

All nutrient recommendation are given in relation to the needs that will cover over 98% of the population over time and therefore include built in safety margins for most people. None of them ever represent the actual daily needs of any one person.

The only way to know the actual protein needs of any one person on any given day is to do a nitrogen balance study. But, realize that whatever your needs where today, they may be different tomorrow.

In regard to national recommendations...

According to the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine,

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?recor ... 0&page=589

"The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both men and women is 0.80 g of good quality protein/kg body weight/d and is based on careful analysis of available nitrogen balance studies."

For a 150 lb person, this would equate to about 55 grams

As a percentage of energy, from

From the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies

Protein 10–35% of calories.

On an 1800 calorie diet, 10% would equate to 45 grams

In grams, from

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Intakes for Individuals, Macronutrients Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies


Adult men 56 g/day
Adult women, 46 g/day


From,

Protein requirements of adults, including older people, and women during pregnancy and lactation.(PROTEIN AND AMINO ACID REQUIREMENTS IN HUMAN NUTRITION) COPYRIGHT 2006 World Health Organization


Furthermore, recent detailed balance and body composition studies have shown that with a suitable program of resistance exercise sarcopenia (muscle loss) can be reversed and muscle strength increased on a protein intake of 0.8 g/kg per day (68 ). This intake is similar to the 1985 safe allowance and lower than usual intakes in this population.


(68 ) Campbell WW et al. Dietary protein adequacy and lower body versus whole body resistive training in older humans. Journal of Physiology, 2002, 542:631-642.

So, there you have it. Now realize the .8 gram/kg is based on healthy weight, and includes a fairly liberal safety margin. Nitrogen balance studies have shown adults can maintain nitrogen balance on as little as .5 grams/kg though no one needs to shoot for the minimum. Patients who must limit their protein intake due to kidney issues are usually put on a diet that limits protein intake to around .5-.6 grams/kg and have been shown to actually build strength and muscle at that level.

The simple answer is this, as long as you consume adequate calories to maintain a healthy weight from a variety of whole plant foods, (and not from junk foods and/or just fruit) you will get in all the protein you need.

In Health
Jeff
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Postby Gwen » Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:23 am

Thanks Jeff!
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:13 pm

Let me add a little perspective. If you take the grams/day figures that Jeff provided and convert that to % of daily calories, most of the official recommendations come out to be about 8-10% of your diet as protein. Putting that in perspective, grains average around 11%, vegetables 23%, and beans 28%.

I know the OP was about grams, but perspective can help, too, I think.
Last edited by MichaelBluejay on Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby lfwfv » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:17 pm

I eat all whole plant foods: grains, potatoes, fruits and veggies (I avoid beans and nuts/seeds because I am suspecting that they are causing my eczema to flare up). My protein often comes out to only 6-7% of my calories per day, and fat is often at 4-6%. Is this cause for concern, or is it fine as long as I feel ok?
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:26 pm

When grains have an average of 11% protein and vegetables 23%, how is it possible that the protein in your diet is only 6-7%?
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby lfwfv » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:39 pm

I don't know...I only eat 1/2 cup dry grain per day, lots of veggies (carrots, broccoli, beans, mushrooms especially), fruit and 3-5 yams per day. I plug it into cron-o-meter and that's what it comes out to.
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:07 pm

Could you post a complete sample daily diet here? (Foods and amounts of each?)
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby lfwfv » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:55 am

This is a sample day where I came closer to meeting the protein/fat requirements, but still didn't quite hit it.

Broccoli, raw 1 cup chopped
Beans, snap, green, raw 1 cup
Cucumber, with peel, raw 1 cup slices
Apples, raw, with skin 1 large (3-1/4" dia)
Bananas, raw 1 large (8" to 8-7/8" long)
Yam, cooked, boiled, drained, or baked, without salt- 2cup
Carrots, baby, raw 2 NLEA serving
Broccoli, raw 1 cup chopped
Beans, snap, green, raw 1 cup
Apples, raw, with skin 1 large (3-1/4" dia)
Quinoa, uncooked 0.5 cup
Broccoli, raw 1 cup chopped
Beans, snap, green, raw 1 cup
Cucumber, with peel, raw 1 cup slices
Mushrooms, white, raw 5
Carrots, baby, raw 2 NLEA serving
Yam, cooked, boiled, drained, or baked, without salt 2 cup,
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:08 am

Thanks! Boy, you sure eat healthy. Anyway, before I spend the time inputting all this myself, what percent protein and fat do you come up with, and how many calories is it total?
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby lfwfv » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:24 am

8% protein
5% fat
1726 calories

I just saw another post that said that McDougall recommends a diet that is 7-12% protein, so maybe i'm fine with both of these numbers (fat and protein)
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby tessa » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:59 pm

Hmm, I'd be very hungry on a diet like that. Do you stick to 3 meals or just graze all day? How long have you been eating this way?
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby lfwfv » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:20 pm

Hi Tessa,

I eat when I'm hungry...this doesn't always fit into standard meal times. I'd say I eat 3-4 times per day...usually lots of veggies, a fruit and a starch. I'd say I eat every 4-7hrs. I've been eating this way (with the details varying a bit over this time) for six months today!

The things that have changed over time is that I've eliminated most beans for the time being, and have also limited my grains. I was finding I had eczema that wouldn't go away despite eating only whole MWL food, and after reading Burgess' anti-itis blog, I decided to experiment with substituting yams for most of the grains I was eating. It seems to be helping...my skin is getting better and better.

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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:48 pm

Yeah, I didn't think it was possible that you'd get only 6-7% protein which is why I wanted to see your menu. And we see that your actual menu is 9%.

I'm not suggesting that you should look for higher-protein foods, but if you're determined to do so, then here is a list of your lowest-protein foods, and some similar foods with more protein:

Apples 2% (Oranges 7%, Grapefruit 8%, Strawberries 8%)
Bananas 5% (Oranges 7%, Grapefruit 8%, Strawberries 8%)
Yams 5% (Sweet potatoes 7% [but you were probably actually really eating sweet potatoes, anyway, not yams], White potatoes 9%)

The bigger question is, are you sure you're eating enough? Your menu is only 1337 calories. Unless you're tiny and sedentary, that's almost certainly too low.

The guidelines for what % of your diet should be protein assumes you're eating enough food. If you're not eating enough, then the % of calories from protein has to be a little higher.
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Re: Protein requirements

Postby MichaelBluejay » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:56 pm

I just looked up calorie recommendations. For a 60-year old, 90-lb., 5'0" sedentary woman (I have no idea what you are, I was just trying to pick a profile with low calorie needs), the suggested amount is 1426 calories a day.

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/interactiveDRI/

And the protein rec. for a person of that profile is 33 grams. Your menu clocked in at 38 grams. So congratulations!

Just goes to show what McDougall says: It's hard to not get enough protein, provided you're eating enough food (and possibly even if you're *not* eating enough food).
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