Protein, Protein, We Need More Protein!

One of the most common concerns I hear from clients is "I'm not getting enough protein?!" And there is usually a genuine concern and worry about their protein intake but not a thought about the source of protein or any of the other macronutrients they might be lacking. 

Most Americans are OVER-CONSUMING protein at an alarming rate. There are hundreds of protein powder supplements that can pack as much as 60 grams of protein per scoop, which might be more than an individual needs in an entire day. The first question you need to ask yourself is "How many grams of protein do I need daily?" and "What are the best sources?"

How to Figure Your Protein Needs
Adults generally require .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. 
A safe protein range would be .8gms-1.0gms per kilogram of weight. 

For example, I weigh 120 lbs. 

First, I need to figure out my weight in kilograms. 
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds.
120/2.2 = ~55 kilograms

Next, you multiply the weight in kilograms by .8
55 x .8 = 44 grams of protein daily

*Determining the protein needs for children is very different from the above mentioned formula. Do not use .8 gms/kg to determine the protein needs of infants though age fourteen.*

So, my daily protein needs are 44 gms. I exercise most days of the week and am very active and my protein needs do NOT get a raise for activity. A very common misconception is that when you exercise you need to really amp up your protein needs... WRONG. Unless you are training like an Olympian (extreme levels of training), you do not need to drastically increase your protein. I know most personal trainers will read this and say Oh yes you do need more protein and it's because of X Y and Z... Blah, blah, blah. What you need is a really great pre- and post-snack, lots of fluids and a good nights sleep (more on sports nutrition coming soon).

Remember, too much of a good thing doesn't make it best. Excess protein consumed that your body doesn't need is stored as fat and puts a lot of extra work on your kidneys when breaking it down to store.

Now, there are certain diseases that have very specialized protein requirements which may require a much lower or much higher need each day. For example: renal failure, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, liver failure and burns (stage I, II, & III) all require different protein needs. Individuals suffering from any of these conditions should be regularly monitored by their healthcare team.