According to the World Health Organization, only 5% of daily caloric intake needs to be protein. The National Academy of Science recommends that we take 10-15% of our total calories from protein. Some national health and fitness organizations recommend 20% or more calories in the form of protein during times of heavy training. Getting enough protein is easy.
Let’s use 1500 calories per day as an example.
Formula: calories x % = ___ divided by 4 (number of calories in one gram of protein)
1500 x .05 = 75 divided by 4 = 18.75 grams of protein/day (WHO)
1500 x .10 = 150 divided by 4 = 37.50 grams of protein/day
1500 x .15 = 225 divided by 4 = 56.25 grams of protein/day (NAS)
1500 x .20 = 300 divided by 4 = 75 grams of protein (some in fitness industry during heavy training)
This is an example of a sample daily diet and how much protein each item contains:
1 mango (1g), 1 banana (1g)
1 cup granola w/ almonds (10g) with soy milk (7g) (19 grams so far)
1 cup broccoli (6g) ½ cup hummus (6g) (31grams so far)
1 cup brown rice (5g) 1cup black beans (15g) (51 grams so far)
1/2 avocado (2g), 1 ear corn (3g) (56 grams so far)
3.5oz chicken (size of deck of cards) (25g)
Approx. 1500 calories, 81 grams of protein.
So what dose this mean to you?
Keep in mind this is just an example how getting enough protein in your diet is easy. The example does not include any dairy products, and is not necessarily the recommended amount of calories for everyone, as we know the RDA is based on 2000 calories daily, not 1500. Also, this example could easily be free of meat products if needed.
Protein deficiencies are extremely rare, yet kidney, liver, and heart disease can all be linked to diets high in protein. High protein diets are taxing on the body and can leach vital minerals out of the body, including calcium.
Listening to you body will help you “feel” the need for more protein. The day of, or days following your workout, you may or may not “crave” additional protein. Listen to your body and honor what it is telling you to feed it.
Great sources of additional protein:
Whey or plant based protein powders. (read the labels for sugar content or artificial sweeteners)
Nuts and seeds.
Fermented soy, fish, poultry, and lean meat.
Photo credit: widewallpapers.net Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)