Protein for a Day

October 9, 2009

Exercise physiologists recommend 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for people that workout regularly.  Well, what in the world does that translate into in real life?  Let’s try to figure it out.

First, what is our body weight in kilograms?  A kilogram is 2.2 pounds, so let’s break out the calculator and divide our weight by 2.2 to translate it into kilograms.

For example, let’s say that a 200 pound man wants to know his weight in kg.  Then, 200 divided by 2.2 equals 90.9 kilograms.  We can round it up to 91 kg.

Let’s say that this 91 kg man’s aim is 1.3 grams of protein per kg body weight.  1.3 grams for each of 91 kilograms equals just over 118 grams of protein.

Now, for protein, we want to make sure we get all of the essential amino acids.  Remember that essential amino acids are those that the body needs, but that it cannot manufacture, so it must receive them from the food we eat.  Higher quality proteins are complete proteins, i.e. those that supply all of the essential amino acids, and thus will allow tissue growth and repair.  High quality proteins come from animal sources. These proteins contain all of the amino acids.  So, it is possible for us to get all of our protein from animal sources (meat, eggs, milk products).  However, doing so would mean that we would likely consume a lot of cholesterol and saturated fat, which is undesirable.

Plant sources of protein are missing one or more essential amino acids, and thus are incomplete protein sources.  However, it is possible to get all of the essential amino acids from plant sources if you eat a variety of plant foods.  Here’s an example.

If we eat grain products, legumes (e.g. alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, peanuts),iStock_000005554148XSmall and green leafy vegetables such that 60% of our plant protein comes from the grain products, 35% from the legumes, and 5% comes from the green leafy vegetables, then we’ll be getting all of the essential amino acids.

So, let’s say the 200 pound man wanted half of his protein from plant sources and half from animal sources.  If during the course of a day he ate

– 1 and 1/4 cups of beans, 1/4 cup of seeds or nuts, 4 slices of whole-grain bread, 2 cups of vegetables (1 cup green leafy), and 2 and 1/2 cups of grains (brown rice, oatmeal, cracked wheat),

he would get 56 grams of protein including all of the essential amino acids from plants.

If for lunch he ate a quarter pound of 80% lean beef (about 28 grams of protein), which he could eat between 2 of his slices of bread, and then for dinner a quarter pound of broiled chicken breast (roughly 36 grams of protein), he would wind up consuming about 120 grams of protein for the day.

Just an example of the types and amounts of food one could eat to reach an amount of protein that would support an active lifestyle.


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17 Responses to “Protein for a Day”

  1. John Ho says:


    I’m concerned that you have a picture of the cows.

    Cow’s milk – the liquid protein that detroys your bones (calcium is leached from our bone to neutralize the acidic animal proteins during digestion). Let alone the allergies & mucus it brings.

    John HO
    Numerology Expert Helps Understanding Personality for Better Influence & Persuasion

    • Darryl says:

      Hey, John, thank you for your comment. I had beef in mind when I put the picture of the cow in the post.

  2. Vicki says:

    When I first read 4 slices of bread a day I thought that was alot. Then I got to thinking how often I eat toast for breakfast, sandwitch for lunch and maybe a single slice with a evening meal it sounds right on for servings.

  3. Pam Schulz says:

    Great explanation on how much protein is necessary to keep us on track. Thanks!

    Expert Houston Retirement Planning & Wealth Management Services

  4. Keri Eagan says:

    Cows are my favourite animal. I’m sure there is something on the web about the psychology of that. I think in pictures not calculations so these examples do the trick and I don’t have to calculate….much. Thanks.

    Keri Eagan
    Anything Alternative

  5. At first I was thinking Wow that’s alot of food and protein – I could never consume that much. Then I realized – Oh yeah, you’re talking about a 200 lb man. If I cut that in half, that’s just about right for me! great example.

  6. Katie says:

    Thanks Darryl, this gives me helpful actionable information to use. So I am roughly 47-48 kilograms (I weigh myself in kilos already). That means I should consume 56-85 grams of protein.

    Right now I am closer to the 56 grams, but I am not training as much. When I get serious about running again I have a better range to plan. Thanks D!


  7. Kate McKeon says:

    Great info Darryl! It is hard for vegetarians to get their protein, but they can do it. Fortunately, I hav eno such problem. 🙂

    I tend to consume my protein from 80-90% animal sources so I don’t end up eating much bread. If I crave carbs, I go for a chocolate cupcake. So much better for the spirit.

  8. This is where diet (in the wider sense) starts to get complicated. Fortunately you make it clear. I think I cover it off, but by accident rather than design!

  9. Lisa says:

    thanks for the thorough information. I wasn’t even aware that leafy greens had protein.


  10. Great explanation of how we can get our daily allowance of protein through a better diet.

    Steve Chambers, Sale Trainer Speaker

  11. Lynn Lane says:


    You have some much needed information going on here.

    Great info on aminos and the sources.

    Lynn Lane
    The Warrior Of Success

  12. PS: LOVE the photo of the two cows

  13. Hi Darryl,

    Thank you so much for discussing and outlining the KINDS of protein sources we need to be consuming and why (amino acids we cannot produce on our own) we need to do so.

    That also explains why I feel so much better when I get about 90 grams of protein per day.

    In fact, I think I will bring a protein drink with me when I head out to the public library today.

    Best regards,

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  14. Rob Northrup says:

    I’ll use this in my calculation of survival food needs. Because if we are surviving, we could be pretty active doing things that electricity used to do for us.

    Simple Survival Tips For Disasters and Emergencies

  15. Thanks for the actionable information. I can now easily know how much protein I need to stay in top condition

    Jose Escalante



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