All About Protein

Today you’re going to learn all about protein, one source of calories in your diet!

What is protein?

Protein is one source of calories in our diet, and it's essential for life and is especially important in metabolism, immunity, and the growth and repair of muscles and tissues. 

How much protein do I need?

The USDA recommends that 10-35% of daily calories come from protein. For optimal health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that adults consume at least 0.8 grams of protein/kg of body weight per day (that’s 0.36 grams of protein/lb of body weight per day). For example, a 200-pound person should eat about 73 grams of protein in a day. Chances are, you're meeting your requirements -- most Americans are actually consuming more protein than they need!

Sources of protein

Many sources of protein are high in saturated fat, like red meat, cheese, and other dairy products. Saturated fat may be harmful because it can increase LDL (or bad) cholesterol. But don't worry there are other healthy sources of protein, such as:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or lean beef
  • Seafood such as shrimp, salmon, and scallops
  • Tofu
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Low-fat dairy products such as low-fat yogurt, skim milk, and reduced-fat cheese
  • Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds