How much protein should I eat?
The amount of protein you should eat is a factor of your goals in nutrition. For the sake of argument, this article will assume that you want to know how much protein to eat to minimize your risk of cancer and aging, and not to build massive amounts of muscle.
According to a publication out of Washington University St. Louis a low-protein diet reduces levels of a hormone called IGF1 in the blood. IGF1 is theorized to play a key role in regulation of aging and cancer risk. Most animals on a calorie restricted diet experience a decline in IGF1 levels in line with an increase in life-span and health span. They are literally younger for longer. The same reduction in IGF1 only occurred in humans on a protein restricted diet, and not on a calorie restricted diet alone. In order to receive the benefit of a decline in IGF1 levels the participants ate 0.76 grams per kilo-gram of body weight, still above the median required intake of 0.65 g/kg body weight, but way down from the 1.34g/kg body weight that the average American male is eating.
What is the bottom line? Eat less protein for your body weight. What should the serving sizes be? Well that depends on your body weight. The serving sizes below are for a 150 pound (68 kg) person, who should eat 50 grams of protein per day.
Assuming you get no protein from other sources eg: grains, vegetables, etc...per day you should eat no more than any one of the follow:
- 2 chicken legs (~52g protein)
- 6 cups of skim milk (~50g protein) (those are measuring cups or 8 ounces)
- 3 pork chops (~55g protein)
- 2 cans of tuna (~51g protein)
- 10 cups of cooked brown rice (~50g protein)
- 3 cups cooked lentils (~53g protein)
- 4 cups cooked black beans (~58g protein)
- 14 slices of whole grain bread (~49g protein)
- 8 eggs (~50g protein)
- 1.5 cups of whole almonds (~45g protein)
And remember, these numbers are assuming that is all you are eating. When you eat these foods in combination you need even less! So reduce portion size always!