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Nutrition Series: Volume 1, Article 3 – Meeting Protein Needs

Meeting Protein Needs

When our clients come to us we’ve determined that they’ve been able to survive up until this point the way they eat. It’s safe to say that in the beginning of their journey our clients are making an attempt to improve where they are in some way. 

If you’re reading this article you might be trying to improve the quality of your life as well. As we dive into this topic we want to be clear that not everyone is the same. Everyone has different nutritional needs and we do not offer a one size fits all plan. Our goal is to educate you on best practices. If you need more guidance please click “REQUEST INFO” at the top of our page. 

When we discuss meeting protein needs with our clients most have not taken the time to determine if the amount they are consuming is appropriate for them. A food journal is the best way to begin to understand how much protein you are consuming. We recommend at least three days of journaling. If your weekend habits are completely different from your daily habits, we recommend a full week of journaling. 

To help you understand protein needs we will break people down into two categories, average and optimal. If you think about your goals you can begin to categorize yourself based on your needs. 

Average Needs

The “average” person is more concerned with avoiding malnutrition and not as concerned with body composition or using their body for performance. They don’t see themselves becoming a “fitness junky,” but they want to make sure they do enough to meet their daily needs.  

The average person gets their daily activity from what they do throughout the day. Occasionally they will walk or exercise, but their routine does not include a strict workout regimen. 

Nutritionally they eat relatively healthy. Their needs are based on survival. This person needs to consume enough daily in order to “get by.” 

How much is enough for this person? The average person does not need a lot to cover basic daily requirements. For this person the recommended daily amount of protein is about .8g or protein per kg of body mass. Here are two examples: 

  • 55g of protein per day for 150lb person
  • 72 g of protein per day for a 200lb person

Please keep in mind that the “average” person is eating to get enough protein to cover basic daily requirements. 

Optimization

Protein is involved in repair and rebuilding of tissues, hormones, and our immune system. Needs can go up if you’re training more frequently either through exercise or a strenuous job, if you are injured or sick, recovering from surgery, or you are losing protein for some other reason (eg. chronic physical stress or poor digestion).

For someone whose goal is optimization more protein is recommended. This person’s goal may be weight loss, athletic performance, body composition, or their job is strenuous such as construction worker. 

Here are some recommendations: 

American College of Sports Medicine & Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 1.2 – 1.7g or protein per kg of body mass.  

  • 82-116g of protein daily for 150lb person
  • 108-153g of protein daily for 200lb person 

International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends 1.4 – 2.0g of protein per kg or body mass. 

  • 95-136g of protein daily for 150lb person
  • 126-180g of protein daily for 200lb person 

As you evaluate where you are, you might think this is a lot. Most of our clients are surprised when we recommend more protein, especially if their goal is weight loss. 

Keep in mind healthy livers and kidneys can metabolize about 3.5-4.5g of protein per day, but it is not recommended to eat this much or spend a lot of time eating a higher amount of protein. We also do not recommend increasing your protein intake drastically. 

More to Consider

Health conditions such as kidney disease, liver disease, problems with gastric emptying, homocystinuria, and certain metabolic diseases may benefit from a lower-protein diet. In these cases it is important to seek medical nutrition therapy and/or professional advice. 

Plant based eating makes it difficult to get the recommended daily intake of protein. It’s challenging, but not impossible. It is important to vary nutrition with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. Make sure to avoid cereals, grains, and processed foods, and try plant based protein supplements. 

Supplementation is recommended as a SUPPLEMENT. It should not replace real food. In situations where it is hard to make good protein choices supplementing with whey, casein, milk protein blends, egg whites, or plant based proteins may help to meet the daily requirements. 

Coach Dan

NEED MORE HELP

Please remember that everyone is different. Our goal is to help you improve the quality of your life. If you want more information or are feeling stuck, please visit our contact page and ask us. We’re happy to help!

References: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/

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