Calculating Your Daily Protein Requirements

If You Don’t Work Out

If you’re a sedentary adult—that is, you don’t exercise or get much activity — the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.36 g per pound of body weight per day.

To calculate your protein requirement, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 g.

Here’s how to figure that requirement if you weigh 150 lb:

0.36 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 54 g of protein a day.


If You Strength-Train

You do need extra protein when you’re working out, and the requirements differ slightly, depending on how you exercise.

If you strength-train regularly (any I hope you do), you need 0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight a day.

Using the preceding example again:

0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 105 g of protein a day.


If You Do Aerobics

If you do aerobics only, your requirement is lower — 0.5 g of protein per pound of body weight:

0.5 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb. = 75 g of protein a day.


If You’re an Endurance Athlete or a Cross Trainer

Those of you who perform hard endurance exercise and cross-train with intense strength training may need as much as 0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight.

Here’s the math:

0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 135 g of protein a day.


Excess Amount of Protein

This brings up another key point about protein: An excess in the system can be bad news.

When protein molecules are disassembled during metabolism, the nitrogen portion is snipped off. Extra nitrogen floating around in the body is a poison that has to be detoxified.

In the process, an intermediary toxin is created — ammonia. Eventually ammonia is turned into harmless urea and excreted. A system overloaded in this manner can endanger the kidneys in people susceptible to kidney problems.

Also, a diet too high in protein may cause kidney cancer, according to research from the National Cancer Institute. Scientists there analyzed the diets of 690 kidney cancer patients and found that people whose diets included large amounts of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and cereals were 90 percent more likely to get kidney tumors than those who ate modest amounts of protein.

Source: High Performance Nutrition


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