When we start a new health routine, we often think we need more protein, but is this really the case? Protein is vital for building and maintaining muscle, blood, skin, hair, nails and internal organs as well as provide enzymes to regulate bodily functions and transport nutrients, oxygen and waste throughout the body.
Is there such a thing as too much protein? Yes there is. Despite all the products on the grocery store shelves promoting their protein content, we typically eat more than we need. Too much protein contributes to excessive caloric intake, resulting in weight gain. Many high protein foods are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol as well, which will contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
So how much do we need? You guessed it, another math equation. The average healthy adult needs around 0.3-0.4 grams per pound. That means a person weighing 150 pounds needs roughly 50-60 grams of protein per day. Children need roughly 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound depending on age. The younger the child, the more protein is needed due to their fast rate of growth. If you want to know how many grams you or your child needs specifically, ask your registered dietitian!
Below you will find a chart of common foods and the corresponding grams of protein based on serving size.
You may notice it is not difficult to eat your required grams of protein daily. If you have an egg at breakfast, three servings of dairy throughout the day and three ounces meat/poultry/fish at dinner, you’re covered (and that’s not including the additional grams you receive from all the vegetables and whole grains you are eating daily!).