How Much Protein Should You Eat?

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Low carb, high protein diets are the in thing these days. But how much protein should we be eating? And can we eat too much protein?

Why do we need protein?

Protein is an essential building block for the body, influencing almost every part and system. We need it to grow and repair body tissues, which is why bodybuilders favor it as a dominant part of their diet.

But unless you're training for a bodybuilding competition, chances are you?re getting too much protein. At least that's the message from health authorities.

What is the recommended daily intake?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggests the following daily protein intakes:

Adult women: 0.7 grams per kilogram of your bodyweight Adult men: 0.84 grams per kilogram of your bodyweight Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 1 gram per kilogram of your bodyweight

For instance, a woman weighing 60 kilograms should eat 45 grams of protein each day. Spread out over the day, that'?s only 15 grams of protein per meal.

To put it in perspective, a small piece of meat has around 20 grams of protein. And a small tub of yohurt has 11 grams.

Think of a standard serve of protein as being the same as 100g of tuna, 65 grams of lean meat, or 80 grams of chicken (skinless).

Can you eat too much protein?

In a body and soul article , Accredited Practising Dietitian Sonya Stanley was quoted as saying, Most Australians exceed these recommendations, although some extra protein may be required during times of high growth, such as childhood and adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or after illness or surgery.

Health experts also stress the importance of choosing lean, meat-free protein wherever possible. Think tofu, eggs, dairy, and lean meats rather then processed or giant red meat steaks which, can cause more damage than the protein benefit.

The body can't store excess protein, so will get rid of it. And eating more protein won?t help you build more muscle. Your body will only use what it needs.

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