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Recommendations for Safe and Adequate Protein Intake

Recommendations for Safe and Adequate Protein Intake

Protein is a major source of energy that many lack in their daily diets. Many people are unaware of the amount of protein they should consume in a day, as well as which foods are the best sources for proteins. Below is a chart illustrating recommendations for safe and adequate protein intake.


Grams of Protein/pound of Body Weight

Protein needs (grams)/day needed for a 150 lbs. person

Current RDA, sedentary person

0.4 60

Recreational exercised, adult



Competitive athlete, adult



Growing teenage adult



Adult athlete building muscle mass



Adult athlete restricting calories



Maximum need 1.0



You can easily get the protein you need through standard foods. Protein supplements are a great resource, but they should not be the main source of protein for meeting your recommended needs. Real food is always better than any supplement. One of the primary reasons protein supplements are not necessary is because you will likely exceed your protein requirements. Too much protein can result in nutrient imbalance, dehydration, kidney strain, and excess body weight. Below is a chart illustrating common foods and their corresponding protein content. Notice that reaching your daily protein requirement is clearly achievable with food alone.


Animal Sources Grams of protein/standard serving
Tuna (can or packet) 40 grams/6 oz can
Meat (chicken, pork, hamburger) 35 grams/4 oz (size of the palm of your hand)
Haddock (white fish) 27 grams/4 oz (size of the palm of your hand)
Cottage Cheese 30 grams /1 cup
Greek Yogurt 13-15 grams/6 oz container
Milk (any kind) 8 grams/8 oz
Cheddar Cheese 7 grams/1 oz
Egg 16 grams/2 large eggs
Egg White 3-4 grams/1 egg white


Plant Sources Grams of protein/standard serving
Soy (tofu, soy beans) 14-20 grams/ ½ cup
Bocca Burger 13 grams/ 2.5 oz patty
Beans and peas (black, pinto, lentil) 12-16 grams/ 1 cup
Nuts and seeds 6-9 grams/ ¼ cup
Peanut Butter 8 grams/ 2 Tbsp
Whole Wheat (or grain) bread 3-4 grams/ 1 slice


If you have any questions about proper nutrition or are interested in speaking with our qualified Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center at 703-450-4300 to speak with one of our expert staff members.

Don’t let pain limit you…..We care. We listen. We get RESULTS!


-Hinton, Int’l J Sports Nut, Aug 04

-The American Dietetic Association: Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN).

-Joint Position Statements on Nutrition and Athletic Performance: ACSM, ADA, and Dietitians of Canada.

-Burks, J and King, L: 2011