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Click on the macronutrient above to jump to that section.
Proteins, like carbohydrates, yield approximately 4 kcal/gm and essentially are energy nutrients. Proteins however, have a much more important purpose than to be used for energy. They are the only nutrients per se that can build, maintain, and repair body tissue. Essential amino acids must be supplied by the diet to enable protein synthesis in the body and a variety of protein sources are readily available in the American food supply. In fact, Americans tend to eat far more protein than is necessary.
The RDA for protein is 0.8 gm/kg body weight for most adults. Vegetarians may need to increase this by 10 percent. Endurance athletes require 1.2-1.4 gm/kg while strength athletes need 1.6-1.7 gm/kg. The elderly require 1.25 gm/kg. Let's take a look at this. . .
Calculate how much protein you need daily:
If A is body weight in pounds, then A/2.2 is the conversion of body weight from pounds to kilograms. Let's let B represent your body weight in kilograms.
A/2.2 = B
0.8 x B is the RDA of grams of protein needed in the American diet.
Therefore, (A/2.2) x 0.8 = grams of protein needed daily
To use the Interactive Protein Calculator, type in your body weight in pounds and press the Calculate button.
Ok, now let's look at the most common major sources of protein in the American diet and the number of grams of protein per serving.
Protein Source Grams Protein per Serving Cheese 1 oz. slice 7 grams Dried beans and peas, legumes ½ cup 7 grams Eggs 1 7 grams Meat, fish, poultry 4 oz. portion 28 grams Milk 8 oz. glass 8 grams Peanut butter 2 Tbsp. 7 grams Soy crumbles ½ cup 11 grams
Here's an example:
One of your patients, Joe R., is a 35 year old truck driver who practically lives on fast food when he's on the road. Joe is 6'2" tall and weighs 225 lbs. On his days off, he likes to work out so he has good muscle mass.
Calculate his protein needs using the calculator you used above, and click on the foods he's eaten today to check his protein intake. You'll be amazed!
Click on the picture to see the grams of protein in each meal.
Joe's daily protein requirement = 81.8 gms vs. Joe's protein intake = 215 gms
Joe has eaten over 200% of his recommended daily allowance in one day! How many people do you know who eat like this? The bigger, more important question is what are the health consequences of eating a high protein diet like this one?
Content questions should be directed to: Marilyn.S.Edwards, Ph.D., R.D.
or Maggie McQuiggan, M.S.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Created by Beth Ardoin, M.Ed. in Academic Technology's Multimedia Scriptorium