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Healthou_How Much Protein Do I Need?

When going through cancer treatment, it is important to eat well. In particular, getting enough protein is important to the healing process. Protein is a “building block” nutrient. Your body uses protein to build tissue, such as white and red blood cells, other cells in the immune system, skin, hair, and muscle.

There are many things, such as health conditions and medical treatments, that can affect how much protein a person needs. For some health conditions, you need more protein for good health. For other health conditions, you need to eat less protein to avoid causing damage to your body

It is vitally important that you consult with your medical care team to get the best, individualized nutrition plan to meet your needs. However, you can use the information here as a general guide for determining your protein needs during cancer treatment.

How Much Protein Should the “Average” Person Eat Every Day?

On average, most people need to eat between one-third (0.33) and one-half (0.50) of a gram of protein per day for each pound (lb) of body weight. Consider the following example.

Example 1: Protein for a 200 pound person

200 pounds x 0.33 grams/pound = 66 grams
200 pounds x 0.50 grams/pound = 100 grams

This means that someone who weighs about 200 pounds should eat between 66 to 100 grams of protein each day.

As you can see, you simply take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.33 to 0.50. This will give you the range of protein, in grams, that you should aim to eat each day.

Other Things That Affect How Much Protein You Need

Now you know some general guidelines for how much protein a person needs each day. However, there are other things that affect protein needs.

First, men generally need a little more protein each day than women. To maintain muscle, the body needs protein. Men usually have more muscle mass; therefore, they need more protein. Considering the example above, a 200 pound man should aim for the top of the protein range, or about 100 grams of protein per day. A 200 pound woman may need to eat a little less protein each day for good health.

Second, cancer itself and cancer treatments can put additional stress on the body. In these cases, a person may need more protein. If a person is in cancer treatment and is losing weight, this may be a sign that this person needs more protein. In this situation, a person may need to eat as much as 0.65 to 0.80 of a gram of protein per day for each pound of body weight.

Third, if you are going to have or are recovering from surgery, you may need more protein. Surgery puts stress on the body. After surgery, your body may need extra protein to heal properly.

Example 2: Protein for a 200 pound person who is losing weight during cancer treatment, going into surgery, or recovering after surgery

200 pounds x 0.65 grams/pound = 130 grams
200 pounds x 0.80 grams/pound = 160 grams

This means that a 200 pound person who is losing weight during cancer treatment, going into surgery, or recovering from surgery needs to eat about 130 to 160 grams of protein per day.

Again, you simply take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.65 to 0.80. This will give you the range of protein, in grams, that you should aim to eat each day if you are losing weight during cancer treatment, going into surgery, or recovering from surgery.
 
In the case of a person recovering from surgery or undergoing cancer treatment, the body can use the extra protein to help rebuild muscle, blood cells, and the immune system. But keep in mind that even though protein is important, a person must eat plenty of calories (energy) too. If a person is not getting enough calories to maintain their weight, then the extra protein will not help much. Use the common sense approach. If you are losing weight during cancer treatment, your body is telling you that you need more protein and more calories !

When is Protein Too Much of a Good Thing?

While many people need more protein during cancer treatment, some people need less. Diseases and conditions such as kidney disease, kidney failure, or liver disease can make it harder for your body to process and use protein. If you have one of these conditions or diseases, you may be asked to follow a low protein diet.

If you have been told to follow a low protein diet or to limit the amount of protein you eat, it is very important that you follow these instructions. This will help prevent damage to your body and will prevent further medical complications.

As you can see, determining how much protein a person needs can be complicated. Be sure to talk to your medical care team, your doctor, or a registered dietitian to answer your questions about the best nutrition plan to meet your needs before, during and after treatment for cancer.

The Bottom Line

If you are in cancer treatment and you are not losing weight, you are otherwise healthy, and you do not have any medical reason to restrict protein in your diet, you should aim to eat about one-third (0.33) to one-half (0.50) of a gram of protein per day for each pound of body weight.

If you are heading into surgery, recovering from surgery, or you are in cancer treatment and losing weight, you may need more protein. You may need as much as 0.65 to 0.80 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.

If you have any medical condition or disease that requires that you limit the amount of protein you eat, you must follow your low-protein diet instructions as closely as possible. This will help prevent medical complications.

 

from source: https://www.caring4cancer.com/go/cancer/nutrition/questions/how-much-protein-do-i-need-to-eat.htm


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