How much protein should a person eat each day?

On average, it is recommended that one consume between 12 to 15% of total calories from protein. For example, if you are eating a 2000-calorie diet, at least 240 calories should come from protein. Since each gram of protein equals 4 calories, you would need to get a minimum of 60 grams of protein. Another easy way to determine your protein needs would be to take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. A goal would be to consume one gram per kilogram of weight from protein (70 kg of weight = 70 g protein goal).

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Depending on amino acid composition, proteins are considered either “complete” or “incomplete” proteins. A complete protein contains all of the amino acids needed for the body. Examples of complete proteins include beef, chicken, lamb, fish, veal, milk, cheese and eggs. An incomplete protein (vegetable protein) is one that is either missing amino acids or has too few of them to meet your protein needs. Vegetable proteins include: legumes, nuts, and seeds. Vegetable proteins can be combined (but not necessarily eaten together) to make up a complete protein source. An example would be beans and rice or peanut butter on whole wheat bread.

There are various circumstances in which additional protein is needed in the diet. Those diagnosed with cancer, pressure wounds, sepsis, burns, trauma etc. will have higher protein needs. A registered dietitian can complete a full assessment and assist with protein intake in these circumstances. When it comes to exercise and protein needs, the American Dietetic Association recommends increased protein intake only for individuals involved in intense aerobic training. It is noted that average Americans, including most athletes, consume protein above this recommendation.

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