“8”

Written by amy on August 4th, 2011

Years ago, it was pretty much just the talk of athletes. Then, Dr. Atkins brought it to the forefront.  Now, everyone is asking for it.

What is this increasingly popular nutrient?  Protein. Protein is known as the basic building block of the body because it plays a role in virtually all structures and functions in the body.    A protein is made up from a set of 20 amino acids, of which 9 cannot be made by the body and must be supplied by the diet.

How much protein do most people need?  In general, most people after the age of 15 need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight.  For example, a 70 kg healthy woman needs 56 grams of protein daily (70 x 0.8 = 56).  Protein needs increase in situations of growth such as childhood, muscle building, and wound repair.   For example, a child aged 7-10 or a casual athlete would need 1.0 grams per kilogram of their body weight.

How much protein is in one serving of food?  On average, there are 7 grams of protein per egg, per serving of nuts and nut butters, per ounce of meat, pork, or fish, and per serving of cheese.  Tofu and beans deliver 8 grams of protein per serving.  Milk and yogurt also weigh in with a high protein content of 8 grams per servings but aren’t often classified as a protein because they contain a lower ratio of protein to carbohydrate and fat content.

A general rule of thumb for protein is to make a protein food comprise ¼ of your plate.  It is recommended to choose a plant-based protein at least twice a week and a fish at least twice a week as well.  And, be sure to include a protein with snacks.  Protein takes longer to digest and aren’t cavity-producing so protein-rich snacks will keep the stomach full longer and the teeth enamel stronger when compared to carbohydrate-only snacks.

 

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