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You know protein is an important component to building a healthy body and that you need it for your bones and muscles.  But, how much protein should you eat everyday? It can be confusing to make sure you are getting enough to fuel your body and provide it adequate nutrition.

According to WebMD, daily protein requirements are:

Babies need about 10 grams a day.Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.Adult men need about 56 grams a day.Adult women need about 46 grams a day (71 grams if pregnant or breastfeeding)

Basically, you should get at least 10% of your daily caloric intake, but not more than 35%, from protein, according to the Institute of Medicine.  Ok, but why is protein measured in ounces or pounds at the store and the requirements listed in grams? Break out the calculator!

According to Tufts University Journal, here are what the ratio of the daily requirements and measurements of protein look like on your plate:

1 cup milk = 8 grams
3 ounces skinless chicken breast = 27 grams
2 tablespoons peanut butter = 8 grams
1 ounce almonds (about 23 nuts) = 6 grams
3 ounces canned tuna in water = 20 grams
¾ cup baked beans = 10 grams
2 cups cooked brown rice = 10 grams

There are also different types of protein sources, plant-based (incomplete) and animal-based (complete).  Complete protein sources provide all of the essential amino acids while incomplete proteins do not.  Combining sources of incomplete proteins, like rice and beans, complete the amino acid chain.

The combination is sometimes called a complementary protein source.  It is a good idea to eat complimentary protein sources within the same day, but it is no longer thought to be necessary to consume them within the same meal.  Your body knows what to do with it even if you ate beans for lunch and rice for dessert!

Now you know!

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