Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Daily Protein Requirements

The daily amount of protein varies significantly in relation to different individual factors:

- Size (of the person)
- Metabolic Rate
- Genetics
- Digestive capacity (how much you can absorb in a serving)
- Activity Levels

While there's no simple calculation to get this amount exactly right, the basic starting point is to think about the amount of protein required depending on bodyweight and predominant activity levels.

Daily Protein Requirements: grams of protein per kilogram of body mass

  • Sedentary Adult = 0.8
  • Recreational Adult Exerciser = 0.8 - 1.5
  • Adult endurance athlete = 1.2-1.6
  • Growing teenage athlete = 1.5-2.0
  • Adult building muscle mass = 1.5-1.7
  • Estimated Upper Limit = 2.0

National guidelines suggest that protein should make up 15-17% of daily calories, but considering how vital this macronutrient is for numerous reasons that seems pretty low.

The WHO (world health organisation) and the FAO (food and agricultural organisation) published a report in 2007 on protein requirements for humans. The minimum was identified as being 0.83g of protein per kg of body weight. Furthermore, they suggested that there is no evidence to suggest that intakes of twice that amount (1.66g protein per kg of bodyweight) will have any adverse effects.

3-4 times the minimum intake was cautioned and this suggests that intakes any greater than 2.1g protein per kg is not warranted for safe intake.

62kg sedentary female: 62 x 0.80 = 49.6g protein required daily

62kg recreational exerciser (4x week): 62 x 1.3 = 80.6g protein required daily

85kg sedentary male: 85 x 0.80 = 68g protein required daily

85kg adult hypertrophy (4x week): 85 x 1.6 = 136g protein needed daily

Recommended sources for dietary protein:

  • Fresh, good quality meat: beef, pork, lamb, venison (ideally organic) Poultry: chicken/turkey
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, haddock, cod, sardines, plaice, trout)
  • Raw Nuts
  • Organic whole milk (least refined possible and non-homogenized i.e. U.H.T)
  • Eggs (chicken eggs - range from 7 to 12g of protein per egg)

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