Protein is an essential nutrient, but most Americans get far too much in their diets - usually 40 to 60 percent more than the recommended amount. Over consumption of protein can contribute to a number of health problems, including gout, kidney disease, some types of cancer and osteoporosis.
- An average adult needs about 50 grams of protein a day.
- Vegetable proteins will supply all of the essential amino acids. They are less dense than animal proteins, so your overall protein intake will be lowered. Vegetable sources also contain no cholesterol and are usually lower in fat.
- Athletes only require slightly more protein, which can be supplied by eating larger portions.
- It is a myth that you need large amounts of protein if you are an athlete or doing a vigorous fitness program.
- Decrease animal products in the diet. Replace with grains and vegetables.
- Eat a wide variety of foods. This will ensure you are getting adequate protein as well as other essential nutrients.
- Eat enough calories to sustain your weight (unless you are on a weight loss program).
- Try to incorporate soy, rice milk and tofu into your diet.
- Alternate meat dishes with vegetarian (low-protein) options. Experiment with recipes as you find some to suit you and your family.