1979
How Much Protein Do You Need?

“How Much Protein Do You Need?” Ensign, Aug. 1979, 62

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Proteins are essential to life. But people who consume a varied diet of meat, fish, milk, eggs, cereals, vegetables, and fruits will get adequate amounts in their daily diet. On such a mixed diet, a man weighing 154 pounds (70 kg.) requires about 56 grams of protein a day, a 125-pound (57 kg.) woman requires 46 grams, a sixteen-year-old boy 54 grams, a sixteen-year-old girl 48 grams, a twelve-year-old 44 grams, and a five-year-old 30 grams.

These amounts of protein are easily obtained from the basic food groups. Two glasses of milk supply 18 grams, four slices of bread 8 grams, four servings of fruits and vegetables about 6 grams, and one serving of meat (3 oz. or 85 grams raw weight), plus an egg or a serving of baked beans or Italian spaghetti, approximately 24 grams. Such a diet totals 56 grams of protein.

The following list shows the calories and protein in some popular foods. (Figures taken from the USDA Agricultural Handbook, no. 456, 1975.)

Food

Amount

Calories

Protein (grams)

Milk, skim or whole

8 ounces

90–160

9

Bread

1 slice

65

2

Waffle

7-inch

205

7

Egg

1

80

6

Bacon, medium thickness

2 crisp

85

4

Hamburger (2 oz.) and bun

1

220

15

Hot dog (2 oz.) and bun

1

295

10

Baked beans and pork

3/4 cup

235

12

Cheese, grated

1/2 cup (2 oz.)

225

14

Pizza

1/8 of 14-inch diam.

155

8

Ice cream

1/2 cup

130

3

Milk pudding

1/2 cup

160

4

Green beans

1/2 cup

15

1

Potatoes

1/2 cup

50

1

Corn

1/2 cup

70

2

Fruit

1 cup

75–210

1

Peanuts, roasted (Virginia type)

10

55

2

Peanut butter

1 tablespoon

95

4

Macaroni and cheese

3/4 cup

325

13

Jam

1 tablespoon

55

Margarine

1 tablespoon

100

While it is important to get adequate protein, additional amounts are wasteful as they are used only for energy or fat storage. It is also possible that high amounts of protein aggravate some types of liver and kidney disease. Dr. Ruth M. Walker, assistant professor of food science and nutrition, Brigham Young University

Illustrated by Mary W. Garlock