Export to PDF

How Much Protein Should I Eat

Last updated on 2021-09-16T12:02:12 by Olayemi Michael Bsc (nutrition and dietetics


Protein food png 3 » PNG Image
Protein is a macro-nutrient present in many types of foods, example include beans, lentils, meat, fish etc.. It is vital for life owing to it’s great roles and functions in the body. Anytime your body is growing or repairing itself, protein is very essential and needed. How much protein you need depends on factors like

Factors Affecting Protein Need

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Health Status
  • Activity level
  • Disease condition
  • Nutrient requirements.
The body needs a regular supply of protein to make and repair cells and worn out tissues. In addition to muscles which is made up of protein, other body tissues are primarily made from protein, like organs, hair and eyes.

Roles of Protein in the Body

  • Fight infection
  • Clot blood
  • Build and contract muscles
  • Keep body fluids in balance
  • Carry fats, vitamins, minerals and oxygen around the body
  • Producing vital body structures
  • Contributing to Acid-Base Balance
  • Forming hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters
  • Providing energy

Foods that Contain Protein

Protein can be found in animal based foods and plant based foods. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some sources of protein are considered better choices than others due to their influence on heart health. Eating plans that include low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu may help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Sources Include
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Skinless chicken
  • Turkey
  • Egg
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Shrimp
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Beans
  • Split peas
  • Lentils
  • Soy
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pasta
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
It is advisable to limit protein foods that are in saturated fats such as fried chicken, hot dogs, organ meats, processed meats, sausage , bacon, whole fat dairy products etc.. This could be high in saturated fat. High intakes of saturated fat may increase risk for heart disease.

Getting the Right Amount of Protein

Most healthy individuals should aim for the Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for their age and sex. Individuals who are very physically active, are pregnant or breast-feeding or who have certain medical conditions may need more protein. Varying your protein choices is also recommended.
American MyPlate includes general protein recommendations for individuals ages 2 and above
Age Sex Daily Protein Recommendation
2-3 years Female and Male 2-ounce equivalents
4-8 years Female and Male 4-ounce equivalents
9-13 years Female and Male 5-ounce equivalents
14-18 years Female 5-ounce equivalents
14-18 years Male 6.5 ounce equivalents
19-30 years Female 5-ounce equivalents
19-30 years  Male 6.5 ounce equivalents
31-50 years Female 5- ounce equivalents
31-50 years Male 6-ounce equivalents
51 years and older Female 5-ounce equivalents
51 years and older  Male 5.5 ounce equivalents
These recommendations for protein are provided in one-ounce equivalents. One-ounce equivalents of protein foods include:
  • One ounce of cooked meat, poultry or fish
  • ¼ cup cooked beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ½ ounce nuts or seeds
But, most common servings of protein foods include more than one ounce of protein. For example, a piece of meat about the size of a deck of cards, a can of drained tuna, and a small chicken breast half are about three ounce-equivalents of protein each. In addition, whole grain and dairy foods contain protein.
Try Nutrisoft free service
Ask a nutritionist
Nutrition Calculator
Normal Laboratory Values
Medical Abbreviations