MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: How much protein does the average person need to intake daily?

Date: Tue Jun 1 09:36:43 1999
Posted By: Jill Irvin, Staff, Food and Nutrition, Ohio State University
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 927323574.Me

Part one - how much protein does the average person need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)  for protein for an adult is .8 g/kg body weight. So to figure your protein RDA:

1. Find your body weight.
2. Convert pounds to kilograms ( pounds divided by 2.2 = kilograms)
3. Multiply answer to #2 by .8g/kg to get your RDA for protein.

Part two - what are the top ten sources of protein?

This is a more difficult question because it depends on such things as digestibility, amino acid assortment and other foods eaten at the same time. And, without looking at every single food item out there, I can't say what are the top ten. In general, however, the foods that have the "best protein" that is, contains all the essential amino acids (those that the body can't make) in the right proportions and have the highest degree of digestibility are animal foods - meat, eggs, milk, etc. However, that is not to say you have to eat from this list. You can never eat any of these items, focus your food choices on plant proteins, and be perfectly healthy. The protein in soy ranks right up there with animal foods in quality of protein. In the United States, the issue is seldom eating enough protein but eating more than enough. In this country, it is not uncommon for people to consume more than twice as much protein as they need. But in developing countries, it may be difficult to meet your protein needs just because there is limited foods availabe. For them, the top ten sources of protein is often, of the souces I have to choose from, what will provide me the most protein?

So, with a lot of research, we could come up with a "Top Ten" list, it won't be of much use. Things like availability must be considered. And, it is not necessary to eat the best sources of protein but to instead make sure we eat enough without too much. Frankly, when it comes to the standard American diet, protein is probably the least of our worries.


Sizer, F. and Whitney, E. Nutrition Concepts and Controversies. 1994. 

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