Protein Intake

UH OptiWeight Blogger Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

January 29th, 2013

Are you eating enough protein? Or are you eating too much protein?

Many of you have reached out to me about your protein intake. It is one extreme or the other. Some are struggling to eat enough protein. Others are easily exceeding their protein goals and wondering if this is a good or bad thing. And these are all awesome questions, so thank you for getting in touch with me!

Protein is one of the three macronutrients that make up the foods that we eat, joined by carbohydrates and fat. Protein is used on a daily basis to maintain our muscle mass, build new cells, fight infections, maintain our skin integrity, and is essential in production of hormones and enzymes. As you can see, protein is kind of a big deal!

Is it absolutely necessary that you eat enough protein? Yes! And, it is even more important that you eat enough protein while losing weight. You should be eating 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of ‘desirable’ body weight during weight loss. Think of your final weight loss goal and that is very close to your desirable body weight. Twenty percent of your weight loss calorie goal should come from protein. You all should be able to see that very well via myfitnesspal!

Is it a concern that I eat too much protein? Sometimes! If your doctor has ever told you to limit your protein intake due to kidney disease or other medical conditions, contact me and we will discuss your protein needs. If we eat more than two grams of protein per kilogram of desirable body weight, we no longer use this protein as “protein” but we instead break it down and use it as energy or store it. Plus, if we eat too much protein, we are likely not getting enough of our other nutrients (i.e. carbohydrates and healthy fats) which can set us up for inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.

A balanced diet is key! Hopefully, some of the protein questions are now cleared up. (Get out your calculator and figure out your protein needs! Remember, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 for kilograms.) For more information on the importance of protein in your diet for weight loss and high protein snack suggestions, please visit this previous blog post.

If you are sick and tired of grilled chicken and steamed veggies as your go-to dinner, check out UH OptiWeight on Pinterest for healthy, protein-rich dinner ideas!

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

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