Proteins are the body’s building materials. Skin, muscle, and bones are made of protein in various forms. When food is digested, the proteins in food are broken down into smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are either derived from food or are synthesized by the body and reassembled into the body’s proteins. There are 22 different amino acids. Thirteen of these can be synthesized, but the other nine,
called essential amino acids, must come from food.

Because proteins form the body’s muscles and other structures, food advertisers often tout their products as being better for health because they are “high protein.” The U.S. sales of sports nutrition high protein powders and other products is estimated at $6.6 billion a year. However, very few Americans fail to get enough protein, and some of us may get too much.

There is scant evidence that protein bars or powders that provide more than the recommended minimum of about 10% to 15% of total calories are beneficial. This is the equivalent of about 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements and stay healthy— not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day. To
determine your RDA for protein, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36.

To avoid loss of muscle, if you are elderly or losing weight by restricting calories, or when weight training to build muscle, it may be advisable to consume about twice the recommended level. But consuming 300 grams a day of protein will not help build muscle faster than 100 grams a day. Although the long-term effects of protein excess are unknown, there is concern that it will increase the risk of kidney disease
and cancer. Most Americans consume enough protein for good health. We don’t need meat or dairy foods for protein; plant foods are a perfectly good source.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon). Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel.