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Friday, May 13, 2016

How Much Protein Do We Really Need?

(From Minimal Medication) The point at which enough protein becomes too much is the liver has to turn it into sugar. How much protein is that?
The level at which most adults are consuming neither so much protein that the liver has to transform it into urea and sugar nor so little protein that the body has to break down its own tissue is 0. 8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For an “average” woman weighing 57. 5 kilos (127 pounds), the body stays in balance when, on average, the diet provides 46 grams (184 calories) of protein daily. The average 70-kilo (154-pound) man needs 56 grams (224 calories) of protein every day.

What’s this in common measurements? Men need about two ounces of pure protein (not counting the water and carbs in protein food) per day, and women need a little less.

Women are usually OK eating a little bit more protein than the guidelines. Men are usually OK getting a little bit less. But how could you get your 46 to 56 grams of protein?

There are 50 grams of protein in:

• About 100 grams (3-1/2 ounces) of fresh herring. OK, that’s not really a North American food, but here’s one that is.
• About 140 grams (5 ounces) of cheese, bacon, roast beef, jerky, or chicken.
• About 170 grams (approximately 6 ounces) of Marmite, Quark, or sesame seeds, if you could chew the latter or use them as flour.
• About 200 grams (approximately 7 ounces) of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds).

But we can get all the protein we need from veggies, right? Well, in theory, we can, but it would be quite a bellyful. There are 50 grams of protein in:

•          About 2340 grams (4-1/2 pounds) of cooked spinach.
•          About 1500 grams (3-1/3 pounds or 50 cups) of raw spinach.
•          About 9900 grams (a little under 22 pounds) of steamed yellow crookneck squash.
•          About 5650 grams (about 13 pounds) of raw squash.

Where advocates of vegan diets go wrong is they mess up the math. They tend to confuse the amount of protein in dried vegetables with the amount of protein in vegetables as we actually consume them. Sure, there’s protein in veggies, but there’s nearly 100 times as much water that also has to be consumed to get the protein.


Advocates of vegan diets would dispute the average of 46 to 56 grams per day recommended by the US Department of Agriculture as a recommended dietary intake. They would say we need only about half as much protein, or even less. But that still means we need huge amounts of vegetables if we are going to depend on them as our only source of protein. It's essentially impossible to go Paleo, and it’s challenging even if you eat grains and tubers, without planning to eat at least some meat. The real problem with meat for most of us, however, is eating too much. 

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