Often patients come to me after being on a high protein diet for weight loss or to control their diabetes. They lost weight or controlled their blood sugar better, but gained a kidney stone as a result of eating too much protein. Most of my patients got a stone because they ate too much of any one or two foods on their restrictive diets. The trade off was certainly not intended. In another article I discuss why I am against fad diets, but for now let’s talk about how much protein you need you need per day and how to figure out what that means for each of you.
Since food labels show protein in grams, the easiest way to figure out how much ANIMAL protein to have is by using the equation below. My patients get overwhelmed because we are using grams and kilograms in our equation, but don’t worry, I will break it down for you step-by-step.
To calculate how much protein is right for you, use this equation:
0.8 to 1.0 gm/kg/d.
I will use my weight as an example and then you can plug in yours:
My weight is 122 lbs.
After I convert my weight in pounds to kilograms I weigh 55.4 kg.
I got this number by dividing 122 lbs by 2.2 (2.2 pounds = 1 kg)
Therefore, if I were to eat on the low end of the equation it would look like this:
0.8 x 55.4 = 44.32 grams of protein a day.
If I wanted to eat on the upper end of the equation it would look like this:
1.0 x 55.4 = 55.4 grams of protein a day.
Based upon the equation above I can eat anywhere between 44.3 grams – 55.4 grams of protein per day. If I search “how many grams are in 3 ounces of chicken” I find this answer:
“There are about 7 g of protein in 1 ounce of cooked meat. So, for example, 4 ounces of raw boneless skinless chicken breast yields about 3 ounces of cooked chicken or 21 g of protein.”
You can see how quickly grams of protein add up.
This is what Google says for steak:
“If you often cook beef roasts for dinner, you’ll get between 29 and 36 grams of protein from 4 ounces of cooked beef round or chuck roast.”
Pay attention to your meat consumption which includes chicken, pork, fish, red meat, turkey. I am less concerned about other sources of protein. That being said none of you need to eat 5 eggs per day or drink 10 glasses of milk. Drink or eat enough dairy or non-dairy sources to get your RDA of calcium but consuming more does not mean better. I don’t worry about the dairy sources as much because nearly every adult I work with is consuming very little dairy (except for high sodium cheeses).
There you go. Plug in your own numbers. Remember if you need to lose weight use your IDEAL weight in the equation. If you are overweight you do NOT want to use your current weight to calculate the right protein intake as you will be eating too much.
One more thing. Always consult with your physician regarding your specific medical conditions and how this might affect your daily protein intake.