Nutrition expert Dr. Allan Spreen answers common questions about diet and fitness:
Q: How many grams of protein should a person consume daily? If you have lost muscle over a long period of time because of yo-yo dieting, should you consume more for a short period until you have regained your muscle tone?
A: There are different dietary philosophies, each of which uses different amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates in the daily intake. "Atkins-type" plans use lots of protein, where over 50 percent of the diet can be protein (in the early stages of the plans). In "Zone-type" plans the recommendations are for 40 percent of daily intake to be protein, with 30 percent fat and 30 percent carbohydrates. In "Low-fat-type" regimens up to 70 percent of the diet can be carbohydrates with as little as 10 percent fat, which doesn't leave much room for lots of protein.
A long-time, rough rule of thumb for daily protein intake has been 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (a kilogram, or Kg., is equal to 2.2 pounds). This would be about 50 grams daily for a 110-pound person, and about 70 grams for a 154-pounder.
Whether or not you need more protein due to "yo-yo" dieting is controversial, but if you are now working out to tone and develop more muscle tissue, then higher intake might be warranted. Ask your doctor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Spreen is Director of The Nutrition Physician, a free nutrition information website that provides information on vitamins and nutrition.