How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

 

Protein Diet

 

By Jennie Jackson in The Conversation.

 

Andrew Taylor has eaten only potatoes for a whole year. Well, almost. He made his diet more nutritious by including sweet potatoes, and adding nut or soya milk to mashed potatoes. He also avoided vitamin B12 deficiency by taking supplements.

His cardiovascular health appears to have improved over the year, largely due to massive weight loss (50kg). He has cured his anxiety and depression, sleeps better and says he is fitter and healthier than he has ever been in his adult life. However, at the beginning of the year-long challenge, there was much debate among dietitians and nutritionists about whether he would get enough protein from his potato diet.

In the UK, healthy adults are advised to eat 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. However, this “reference nutrient intake” is set at a high level to meet the needs of just about everyone in the population. Most people need less than this, and the average requirement is about 0.6g per kilogram of body weight (that is, 60g for Andrew’s current weight of about 100kg). Andrew ate about 3.5 to 4kg of potatoes per day, and together with the soya and nut milks used to mash the potato, it looks as though he managed to meet his protein requirements.

 

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