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How Much Protein Do I Need In My Diet?

By: Ron Lagerquist

 “Contrary to popular opinion, when it comes to protein, more is not better.”

Meat Foods

Protein

Trout

  60%

Hot Dogs

  69%

Chicken Breast

  72%

Lean steak

  56%

Shrimp

  90%

Egg

  37%

Tuna

  91%

Ham

  62%

The U.S. government recommends that a 154-pound adult male consume about 56 grams of protein per day, a 110-pound adult female, about 40 grams, and add about ten more grams for a pregnant or breast-feeding woman. Over the last twenty years, the RDA of protein for adults and children has more than halved. Yet diet books like Enter the Zone and Dr. Atkins popular New Diet Revolution suggest protein levels of 30 percent of your caloric intake. Body-building gods tout protein supplements that promise massive muscle gain, and recommend megadoses of protein to stimulate muscle growth. Leading vegetarian dietitians disagree, asserting that 10 percent of your diet as protein is the healthiest. Fringe groups like fruitarians proclaim 6 percent protein is the perfect balance for health. Andrew Weil, MD, in his popular book, Eating Well For Optimum Health recommends that about 10 to 20 percent of your caloric intake come from protein, which on a 2,000 daily calorie diet would translate to between 50 to 100 grams. So who is right? 

Too much protein is unhealthy

 

Plant Foods

 Protein

Cantaloupe

   8%

Green beans

  13%

Soy beans

  31%

Red Pepper

   9%

Asparagus

  27%

Broccoli

  20%

Carrot

   6%

Romaine

  18%

Yam

   4%

Grapefruit

   6%

Grapes

   6%

Almonds

  13%

Sunflower seeds

  14%

Tofu

  54%

Whole wheat

  15%

Oats

  15%

Split peas

  25%

Contrary to popular opinion, when it comes to protein, more is not better. Before my first life-changing fast, much of my diet was made up of high-protein foods like meat, cheese, eggs and milk, and I fed my children the same. If anyone were to suggest that too much protein was not healthy I would have laughed. And yet I was sick all the time, overweight, full of allergies, pale, and had little to no energy. I have had first-hand experience of how a standard high-protein diet can erode health, promote premature ageing, and result in feeling tired all the time. Following my first 30-day fast, I went vegan for about five years. I can tell you that all my allergies disappeared; I was rarely sick and full of energy.

Mother’s milk is the food that is responsible for nourishing the fastest growth stage in the human lifespan and is only about 9.5 percent protein. Compare this to the 21 percent of cow’s milk. A baby doubles its weight in six months and triples its weight in one year. Even Body Builders ingesting megadoses of protein and working out five hours a day will never come close to the growth of a baby living on diet of 10 percent protein.

Let’s answer the million-dollar question.

Do plant foods provide enough protein?

Look at the cross-section of protein percentages of both plant and animal foods. The average percent of plant protein comes to about 17 percent, compared to a 67 percent average in meat foods. You could easily reach 20 percent with plant foods by simply increasing foods like tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes. Remember, 20% is twice the amount found in mother’s milk. Most plant foods have a protein percentage much closer to mother’s milk than animal foods, which average well over 60%.

In fact it would be hard to put together a vegetarian diet deficient of protein. The exception would be the stringent diet of a fruitarian, which I do not recommend. I agree with Andrew Weil that anything between 10 and 20 percent is healthy. If you have trouble with allergies or are on a healing diet, then leaning toward the 10 percent is preferable. If pregnant, highly active or body building, leaning toward the 20 percent mark makes sense.

Related Article: How Much Protein Does A Body Builder Need?

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I work a lot and now I am taking the time to get healthy and my family healthy....so when i say i didn't know how much protein someone should have in a day....i really didn't know. Thank you!
Crystal
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