I'm a meat guy, and there are few things in this world I love more than a good bit of protein. When I hit up a buffet (a rare occasion these days, thankfully), I'm always loading my plate with the chicken, beef, and other good meats. Empty carbs aren't my weakness, but there is little I can do to resist the lure of a juicy steak - be it beef, turkey, or chicken!
But how much meat is too much? Or, to ask it in a better way, how much meat should I be eating?
The Importance of Protein
Remember that protein is incredibly important for those that do a lot of exercise (myself included). Protein gives your body the amino acids needed to build muscles, and it helps to repair the damage made to your muscle tissue after a good workout. Without protein, your muscles just wouldn't get what they need to grow.
The best proteins for you are the healthier, leaner ones - tuna, egg whites, whey protein, soy protein, and so on. However, can an egg white omelet compare to a thick, juicy steak or a delicious grilled chicken breast? I don't think so!
Your Protein Recommendations
If you are a sedentary adult (the fact you're on this page means you're not!), your daily protein intake should be about 0.8 grams per kilogram of lean body weight (total body weight minus your fat weight).
For those of us that do exercise, the daily recommendation goes up to about 1.7 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
My lean body weight is roughly 100 kilograms (yes, I'm a hefty lad with a slightly higher body fat percentage than I'd like, but I'm working on it), so I should be eating about 170 to 180 grams of protein per day.
Let's take a look at what that means:
- One 6-ounce steak has about 42 grams of protein, so I need to eat 28 ounces of steak per day.
- 3.5 ounces of chicken breast has 30 grams of protein, so I need to eat about 21 ounces of chicken breast per day.
- One 6-ounce can of tuna contains 40 grams of protein, so I need to eat 4.5 cans of tuna.
Of course, I can't get enough protein from just one source, so the protein I get is spread out throughout the day and obtained from different sources:
- One large egg contains 6 grams of protein
- 1 cup of milk has 8 grams of protein
- 1 cup of yoghurt has around 10 grams of protein
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has about 8 grams of protein
So, if you spread out your protein intake throughout the day, you'll realize that you can eat a pretty good amount - provided you exercise and put your body through its paces. You'll need a lot of protein to help keep your body in shape, and all you need to do is figure out how much protein you need according to your lean body weight.