Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

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If you think you aren’t getting enough protein, you’re not alone. It’s a popular misconception that Americans don’t eat enough grams of protein each day — but some are actually eating too much. The trick to optimal protein munching is getting just enough in and spreading it out throughout the day.

Protein Needs

The protein we eat is used for a variety of important functions, including muscle maintenance, hormone production, immunity and skin health. While protein isn’t a preferred energy source, a small amount is used to fuel your day (but carbs and fat do most of that). Also unlike fat and carbs, protein isn’t stored for later use. The body uses what it needs right away, and the rest gets removed from the body. This is why it’s so important to divvy up your protein intake and distribute it throughout the day.

An average adult requires 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. So that means someone who is 150 pounds needs about 55 grams of protein per day. This could easily be accomplished by choosing the following:

1 egg at breakfast = 6 grams

1 tablespoon of peanut butter for a snack = 4 grams

3 ounce piece of grilled chicken at lunch = 25 grams

1 low-fat yogurt for a second snack = 12 grams

1/2 cup of beans at dinner = 5 grams

Protein total = 52 grams

Use this helpful guide to keep your protein portions in check and figure out the best ways to incorporate healthy options into every meal and snack. Thanks to SkinnyGirl for their easy-to-use portion guide.

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Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.