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How Much Protein-Rich Food Do You Need to Eat?

Not all proteins are created equal.

Protein is one of the essential nutrients for our body, especially for muscles and normal cellular functions. But just because something is good for you, does not mean you should consume it limitlessly. And in the case of protein, there is an appropriate amount that will keep you healthy. But how to calculate how much protein-rich food you need to eat?

Well, that is the topic we are going to explore today. We are going to discuss different types of protein, their functions, and their daily requirements for different people. Additionally, we will look at some protein-rich food and how much of each you need to consume to meet that requirement. 

Nutrition On a Budget

Protein-Rich Food – How Much Should a Person Eat Daily?

Your daily protein requirement will depend on multiple factors. And figuring out the exact number will require some careful thinking and consulting with a nutritionist or physician. But there are a couple of easy ways you can make a close approximation to the actual number.

Your Body Weight

This is the easiest method and it is usually pretty reliable. According to multiple studies, a person should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein per pound. This applies to both men and women. For children, who are growing at a faster rate than adults, the amount is 50% more. 

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So, for example, if your body weight is 70 kg or 154 lbs., you need to consume about 56 grams of protein per day. This is a rough estimate and will vary owing to other factors. But this is a good indicator because your body weight and protein intake levels have a strong connection. 

Your Level of Physical Activity

How active you are physically has a direct relation to your nutritional requirements. And it is no different from protein intake. 

For this method, you need to figure out your “lean body mass” or LBM in pounds. For this purpose, you need to first figure out your total body weight and total body fat. Subtract the total body fat from your total body weight and you end up with your LBM.

Then multiply this LMB with a multiplier depending on your physical activity. Here is a list to help you out:

  • For a sedentary lifestyle – 0.5
  • For moderate activity – 0.7
  • For high activity (regular exercise of 30-60 minutes) – 0.8
  • For athletes (elite level training) – 1.0

For example, say you are someone with an LBM of 100 lbs. and live a moderately active life. You do some mild exercise but not too much. So, you would need about 70 grams per day.

Conversely, if you are someone who regularly works out, then this number increases to 80 grams per day. So, change your protein input depending on how much you exert your body. This is particularly relevant for people who are looking to build muscle and/or gain weight.

The Type of Protein Matter

volumetrics diet

Not all sources of protein are the same. The structural unit of a protein is amino acid. There are several amino acids in nature, some essential for our body and some less so. And depending on the amount of each essential amino acid present in the protein, its quality will vary.

So, protein-rich food will have all the essential amino acids in proper quantities. When you eat such protein, your body does not suffer from its deficiency. Typically, animal proteins are regarded as high-class proteins such as poultry, beef, pig tenderloin, steak, mutton, lamb, milk, eggs, cheese, etc.

Most protein-rich plants are considered second-class proteins. This is because they are relatively lacking at least one of the essential amino acids. They can still have that amino acid but in small quantities. To overcome this shortcoming, people usually combine different protein-rich plant foods to make a complete meal.

Healthy Vegetarian Protein Sources for Athletes

So, when you are calculating your body’s protein needs, you should also consider the type of protein you are receiving. Because if you simply eat lots of protein without getting all the amino acids, you will suffer debilitating diseases.

How Much Protein-Rich Food to Eat?

Now, let’s look at the foods that can easily help you hit your daily protein requirement. Some foods are a better choice than others.

For this example, we are going to look at the food intake of a person with a protein DRI of 56 grams, which is the protein requirement of an average 70 kg adult.

Chicken Breast

Chicken protein-rich food

A 100-gram serving of chicken breast can deliver 32 grams of protein. This makes chicken breast one of the best sources of lean meat. So, to hit the protein goal, this person needs to eat 175 grams of chicken breast in a day.

If you pay attention to daily calorie intake, the leanest way to prepare chicken breasts is by cooking them. I suggest placing them in a pot with various vegetables, cooking for 45 minutes and you have yourself a nice chicken soup. 

Shrimp

100 grams of cooked shrimp contains about 24 grams of protein. So, this person would need to eat 233 grams of shrimp.

Some of the best serving ideas for shrimps are in risotto, in a salad, or Thai shrimp soup.

Tuna 

100 grams of canned tuna contains 19 grams of protein. The same serving of fresh tuna, as in a salad, has about 16 grams of protein. So, this person needs to eat 294 grams of canned tuna or 350 grams of fresh tuna each day.

Tofu

A 100-gram serving of tofu will give you 17 grams of protein. So, to hit the daily goal, a 70 kg adult needs to eat 330 grams of tofu. 

There are various ideas to incorporate tofu into your diet. From making tofu scramble to adding it to lentil salad.

Cottage Cheese

100 grams of cottage cheese, made from 2% milkfat, will deliver 11 grams of protein. So, the daily amount of cottage cheese would have to be 500 grams.

Pork Tenderloin

A 100-gram serving of braised pork tenderloin can give you 27 grams of protein. So, that same person would need to eat 207 grams of pork tenderloin a day. If you compare this to the same amount of chicken breasts, you will see that chicken breasts are more protein-dense, but also have more B6 vitamin and magnesium.

Eggs

Fresh brown eggs on rustic wooden table

A single large egg, which is around 50 grams, contains 6-7 grams of protein. So, you would need 8 eggs per day, if that is your only source of protein. 

Whey Scoops

1 scoop of EAS whey protein powder can give you 13 grams of protein. So, you would need to consume 4 and a half scoops of whey powder. One of the best features of whey protein powder is that it comes in various flavours, so you don’t easily get bored.

Related: The Smartest Way to Use Protein to Build Muscle

Conclusion

Knowing how much protein you need every day is crucial and it is not just for working out or gaining muscle. Taking in adequate protein may even help you lose excess weight and make you feel healthier. 

Here is a table that will help you plan your protein intake.

Protein-rich foodDaily Amount 
Chicken Breast175 grams
Shrimp 233 grams 
Tuna 350 grams (fresh), 294 grams (canned)
Tofu 330 grams
Cottage Cheese500 grams
Pork Tenderloin207 grams
Eggs 8 large eggs
Whey Powder4 and ½ scoops


Read More: Is Eating Lots of Protein a Waste?


Who is the author? Laura is a frequent traveller who enjoys kickbox and hiking. She is especially curious about nutrition and cooking, and that’s why she started the blog juliescafebakery.com

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