HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?
The recommended protein intake for adults is based on their weight. The average person should eat 0.36 grams of protein for every pound they weigh (or 0.8 grams per kilogram). Based on that recommendation, a 120-pound woman should eat 43 grams of protein each day (120 x 0.36) and a 170-pound man should eat 61 grams of protein each day (160 x 0.36).
Protein needs can also be determined based on percent of overall calories consumed per day. The range recommended is from 10%-35% of total caloric intake. For the standard 2000 calorie diet, this equals 50-175 grams of protein per day.
Vegetarians and Vegans
For vegetarians, vegans, or those who eat mainly plant based proteins, protein needs may be slightly higher than the standard recommendations (1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight or .45-.54 grams per pound of bodyweight). This means that a 120-pound woman eating plant-based proteins may benefit from eating 54-65 grams of protein per day (120 x.45 and 120 x .54). If she happens to follow a 2000 calorie diet, that would mean 11- 13% of her calories come from protein, which is still in the recommended range.
During a Flare
In active Crohn's disease, protein needs are increased up to 25% more grams per day than normal. For example, a 120-pound woman with 10% of her total calories from protein would normally need 50 grams per day. With Crohn's disease, she will need an extra 13g (50 x .25) or 63g in total.
The problem is that eating during a flare is hard to do, so it's often best to keep your intake of protein up for a good while (at least several weeks) afterwards, so you can rebuild your muscles and tissues. If you are trying to build muscle or recover from a flare, you will need 20-40% more.
Kids with Crohn's Disease
Kids with Crohn's disease need even enough protein so they can continue grow. The amount they need is also based on their size and development (they need more as teenagers and as preteens going into puberty). So it's estimated that they need to have protein providing 10 – 30% of their diet based on their age and development. And they too need 25% more during a flare.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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