The Density of Nutrition


Once again, an article with an overload of information landed on our desks. So – we dove into nutrition (it’s National Nutrition Month)specifically nutrition around protein. This, of course, is subjective depending on what you read or who you talk to, but our resources are noted at the end of this post.

grilled new york strip steak on white plate

According to Harvard Health: “Protein is essential to good health. The very origin of the word, from the Greek protos, meaning “first” — reflects protein’s top-shelf status in human nutrition. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for a relatively active adult, is as little as 10% of his or her total daily calories. In comparison, the average American consumes around 16% of his or her daily calories in the form of protein, from both plant and animal sources.

The use of the RDA to determine how much protein you need daily has actually caused a lot of confusion. “There’s a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,” says Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “People in general think we all eat too much protein.”

Dr. Nancy Rodriguez was one of 40 nutritional scientists involved with last summer’s Protein Summit. The summit generated a set of scientific reports that were independently published in a special supplement to the June issue of  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).

The reports argue that 16% is anything but excessive. In fact, the reports suggest that Americans may eat too little protein, not too much. The potential benefits of higher daily protein intake, these researchers argue, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique. Some studies described in the summit reports suggest that protein is more effective if you space it out over the day’s meals and snacks, rather than loading up at dinner like many Americans do.

Based on the totality of the research presented at the summit, Rodriguez estimates that taking in up to twice the RDA of protein “is a safe and good range to aim for.” This equates roughly to 15% to 25% of total daily calories, although it could be above or below this range depending on your age, sex, and activity level.”

Research on how much protein is the optimal amount to eat for good health is ongoing, and is far from settled. The value of high-protein diets for weight loss or cardiovascular health, for example, remains controversial."

The article goes on to say, "That before you ramp up your daily protein intake, there are a few important things to consider. For one, don’t read “get more protein” as “eat more meat.” Beef, poultry, pork, milk, cheese, and eggs can certainly provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods, including; whole grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, and vegetables.”

Nutritional comparison chart

No story or post on nutritional guidelines can be complete without the USDA. We picked up a few interesting facts:

  • For over 25 years over half (about 2/3) of the adult population has been overweight or obese.
  • One in three of youth 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
  • About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity.
  • In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion. In 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.

They also note a very common sense approach to selecting foods: “Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.”

Wild Idea’s position has always been on eating less meat, but of a higher more nutrient rich and sustainable quality. Selecting our buffalo meat products, which are very nutrient dense - certainly meet the criteria of lower calorie and higher protein, but they also offer benefits to our planet health. Save our planet, our food supply and our health, one bite at a time!

Harvard Health Publishing: How much protein do you need every day?

Special supplement to the June issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 

USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture: FoodData Central



  • Posted on by Theresa L Anderson


  • Posted on by Art A Contrestano

    PRETTY GOOD NUTRITIONAL CHART-You need to add more… T.Y.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered