Nutrition Struggle #6: Protein—how much is enough?
The short answer is, it depends. Not the answer you wanted, I know.
The “easy,” answer is approximately 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.
The truth is that you really only need about 5-10% of your daily calories to come from protein. As a general rule, people become protein deficient when their overall calories fall too low (think starvation).
This is not the “absolute” answer. Like all things with nutrition, it comes down to knowing what your goal is for what you’re eating. If your goal is weight loss, your protein requirements will be different. If your goal is building muscle, your requirements will be different.
And no, you do no have to eat any animal products (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy) to get protein into your diet. Plant-based proteins are generally less taxing and more beneficial for us. There is some protein in most foods, including many fruits and veggies (broccoli, spinach, dried figs, melon, kale, Brussels sprouts and many more).
It is a myth that you must combine foods carefully to obtain sufficient protein from plants. Our bodies are great at recycling and recombining. As long as you’re eating a variety of foods, you will ingest all of the protein your body needs.
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