Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Are High Protein Diets Harmful?

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Americans are crazy about protein. I once had a student whose food record indicated  he had consumed 280 grams of protein on an average day. He had added a couple of high protein shakes to his daily intake. If we look at a typical American diet in terms of the government’s MY PLATE, our animal protein foods often fill half of the plate instead of the recommended amount (1/4 of the plate).

The recommendations can be thought of in this way:

The Acceptable Distribution Range (AMDR) for protein is 10-35% of total calories for adults. This range is not associated with any known health risks.

A diet that provides only 10% of calories from protein meets the RDA but is on the low side since the average of energy from protein in the  typical U.S. diet is 16%.

The RDA for protein in adults is 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight per day. For an adult weighing 70 kg (154 pounds) the recommended intake would be 56 g a day (70 x 0.8 g/kg/d = 56 g); for an adult weighing 59 kg (130 pounds) it would be 47 grams a day. On average, protein intake in the U.S. is about 90 g/day. (To convert pounds to kilograms, divide the pounds by 2.2). For example, 170 pounds /2.2 = 77 kilograms)

A quick and easy way to estimate your protein intake is to know the following :

Starch (1/3 c. pasta, 1/2 potato, 1 sl. bread)= 3 g. protein

Milk (1 cup) = 8 g. protein

Vegetables (1/2 c. cooked, 1 c.. raw) = 2 g. protein

Meats or Meat Substitute (4oz. beef, poultry, fish or cheese,  2 c. legumes) = 28 g. (4 oz is about the size of your palm.)

Fruits and any foods in the fat group have zero grams of protein.

Note: Protein needs are increased for growth, lactation, or when the body is injured.




One thought on “Are High Protein Diets Harmful?

  1. Anything that is high in amount can be unhealthy.
    Balance diet is the best.


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