Happy Friday! This is a great article from the Salmon Arm Observer, I like the term fresh diet. And a neat little article about long time raw foodie Beatrice Johnston with inspiring health results. Anyway, switching over to a heavier raw vegan diet has made me take a hard look at protein and just how much is needed. In the last 10 years, there has been a diet emphasis on avoiding carbs and consuming as much protein as possible for weight loss with the Atkins/South Beach craze. Being too much of a produce nut, and not a beef fan, I never got into it. But, getting enough protein is something I need to be careful about now that I’m not eating dairy or near the meat that I used to.
So the first question I needed to answer is how much should I get? Initial research showed that an average person needs 60 grams of protein a day. The first article I came acorss on MedicineNet had an interesting quote:
a diet in which protein makes up more than 30% of your caloric intake causes a buildup of toxic ketones.
Ideally, you should consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, according to recommended daily allowances (RDA) set by the Food and Nutrition Board. So if you weigh 170 pounds, you need about 61 grams of protein each day.
That’s pretty straight forward and I apparently need considerably less than 60 grams. And:
Protein should also make up approximately 15% of your total daily caloric intake, also according to the RDA. In a diet of 1,800 calories a day, for example, about 270 of those calories should come from protein.
So an 8 oz. steak most likely has more protein than many need for the day. I cam across another interesting article on side effects of too much protein. They recommend even less protein per body weight:
There is some debate on what is a healthy amount of protein when it comes to the side effects of too much protein in the diet. Most health experts say we need between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight a day (about 7 grams per 20 pounds. So a person who weighs 150 pounds would need around 52 grams a day.
The article mentions kidney stress, calcium loss from bones, and possibly increasing allergies as side effects of too much protein intake, which can vary depending on the amount of exercise.
Vegetable sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, are excellent choices, and they offer healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals. The best animal protein choices are fish and poultry.
Going on to recommend 75 grams of protein for those on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet and recommending those with early diabetes and kidney disease to limit protein, yikes.
Another intersting article on the protein requirements of bodybuilders – not that I’m getting into that :-), but helpful for those looking to add more muscle. This data was reassuring to me because it proves that it’s actually easy to get enough protein through a vegan diet and carbs aren’t a bad thing especially when coming from friuts and vegatables and should be a majority of our calories, the percent of daily calories that should come from protein is much smaller than I would have thought. I just picked up Hemp Protein Powder from Whole Foods to start using in recipes and incorporating more into my diet and look forward to posting more about it.