Protein Requirements

April 24, 2011

Protein Tips, Proteins

Protein RDA: Protein Requirement for Children, Adult Men and Women

Protein intake is an indispensable requirement for the growth and maintenance of any living creature. Every cell in our body needs protein to carry out all metabolisms that sustain us. The amount of protein required for normal health however is variable depending on many factors, namely, body weight, age, physical activity, health condition, environment etc. Generally, protein intake should be in equilibrium with protein loss. Protein is lost in urine, feces, blood, sweat, skin, nails, hair etc. When protein intake is less than protein lost, it is called negative protein balance, whereas when it is the reverse it is called positive protein balance. Ideally, for normal adults a neutral protein balance should be attained.

Growing kids and pregnant and lactating women, however, require more protein per unit weight than adults in normal condition and therefore should be in positive protein balance. Growing kids and pregnant women are gaining muscle, bones, flesh and blood, and since for every cell in these body parts protein is a requirement, the required daily protein allowance is higher. Other conditions in which positive protein balance is a requirement include recovery stage after illness and when there is increased secretion of insulin, growth hormone, and testosterone.

As a general guide, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), in the USA, for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight of adults.

Table: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): daily recommended intakes of protein for individuals. (Source: Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine)

Age, gender, life stage group Protein DRI (grams/day)
0–6 mo 9.1
7–12 mo 13.5
1–3 years 13
4–8 years 19
Adult Men
9–13 years 34
14–18 years 52
19–30 years 56
31–50 years 56
51–70years 56
> 70 years 56
Adult Women
9–13 years 34
14–18 years 46
19–30 years 46
31–50 years 46
51–70years 46
> 70 years 46
Pregnant Women
14–18 years 71
19–30 years 71
31–50 years 71
Lactating Women
14–18 years 71
19–30 years 71
31–50 years 71

Note: Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) have been developed, since 1996 by the Food and Nutrition Board, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, to replace the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
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