Nutrition & Dieting/Protein



Just wondering if you could help me work out how much protein I need?  I have tried doing it myself online but being dyslexic numbers confuse me!  I'm 37, female and weight 115 pounds.  I also have chronic health conditions that effect the connective tissue and autoimmune system.

Many thanks!!!


ANSWER: Hi Lucy!
Because you have chronic conditions affecting your connective tissue, I would definitely recommend discussing your specific needs with a dietitian or your physician before implementing a new plan. In general, however, here are the guidelines for someone your age, sex, and weight, as well as a few tips about protein in general.

Protein can come from plant or animal sources--both help your body function like it needs to, but for other health reasons (extra fat and calories, less fiber), it is recommended that people try to get a lot of their protein from plant sources.

Great plant-based sources of protein include beans, peas, lentils, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Animal-based sources of protein include eggs, yogurt, seafood, poultry, and red meat. Plant-based sources do not provide all types of amino acids that you need, while animal proteins provide the complete range.

Without knowing your height, BMI, activity level, or the exact nature of your chronic condition, you probably need about 46 grams of protein each day. This will be about a "5 ounce equivalent" daily intake of protein. Sample "1 ounce" servings would be one egg, an actual 1-ounce serving of cooked beef, chicken, turkey, or fish. For veggie-based proteins, a sample "1 ounce" equivalent would be by weight a 1/2-ounce of nuts or seeds, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, a 1/4-ounce of cooked beans or peas, or 2 tablespoons of hummus. You can find more examples of ways to meet your 5-ounce equivalents here: If you go by some of the weight-based conversions, your calculated daily need would only be about 42 grams.

If you decide to go by grams from the labels on food packages, just be sure to know how many servings you are having to help you keep track of the true number of grams of proteins you are consuming.

People who are very active may need more protein, and people with special health conditions may have other requirements. This site also has reliable info about protein and doesn't get too crazy with numbers!:

If your autoimmune condition is related to digestion or metabolism, your needs may change considerably. Before changing your diet to aim for a certain amount of protein, check with your doc - you may already be getting enough from your daily diet to meet your needs. A doctor or dietitian may ask you for a food journal, too, before "prescribing" a change in your eating habits - probably for 1 or 2 weeks.

If your dyslexia is still making this explanation crazy, you can always watch a cheesy protein video to get more info! ;)  Enjoy:

Happy eating!

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sorry I mean to give you my height it is 5ft3".  My activity level is fairly low I guess die to my conditions which are Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Sjogrens Syndrome.  I don't now if this helps at all?



Thanks for the update. Without taking your conditions into consideration, a 42 gram/day protein intake for someone your age, height, weight, and activity level is appropriate.

I am not very familiar with the two conditions you have. There is very little nutrition-related research on Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but what I've found points more to general nutrient deficiencies than protein requirements: You may also want to ask your doctor about glycoprotein supplements, which could be helpful for your tissue health. In general, protein is an essential part of your diet if you are trying to build muscle strength for better muscle/joint/connective tissue health and function. Certain proteins, like yellow peas, may help reduce blood pressure, which can also be very good for people with EDS, but ask your doctor if that's something you need to focus on first!

I don't believe that your Sjogrens will affect your actual protein needs in terms of quantity, but perhaps it may be more important for you to consume protein in smoother or wetter forms (think protein shakes, yogurt, melted cheese, tofu, fish, oysters, blended bean soup, etc.)., Certain proteins,

Because both of your conditions can be worsened by food sensitivities or undiagnosed allergies, I would also suggest getting a full food allergy test - this may limit the types of food from which you should get your protein. No matter what, though, I would double check this research and info with a specialist.

I hope that helps a bit more! Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.

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me again lol

Thanks so much for your detailed and EASY TO UNDERSTAND help yay!  You should consider being a Dyslexic's Nutritionist lol.

You're right it is easier for me to eat 'juicy' foods although I do snack on bread, crisps and biscuits to ward of nausea...a whole other issue but yes it has been suggested I get food allergy testing done before but wouldn't I have to pay for this?  I'm in the UK.  I am also supposed to be seeing a dietician on the NHS...still waiting...might chase it up and if and when I get my appointment will discuss what we have talked about here.  It's concerning me though that I am not even getting half the protein I should be getting at the moment.  To give me an idea of weights ect how much do you think 1oz of cheese would be...size wise?  Like an egg cup full or a teaspoon full ect?

I do like me cheese


Hey Lucy!
Glad this is helping you. Since you're in the UK, you should find out if allergy testing is included for someone with your chronic conditions, since removing allergens from your diet can really improve symptoms. Otherwise, it is a one-day blood or skin test they can do in a quick office visit, so it shouldn't be too costly (and could be worth the money if they find something!). I would try to get your NHS dietitian appointment sooner rather than later, too.

This link has some good visual images of "1 ounce" equivalent portion sizes based on the size of your hand (fist, palmful, thumb tip, etc.).  The most useful chart has it all for 1-ounce equivalents of different types of foods and it is sort of greenish with white hand drawings.

An ounce of cheese is about the size of a matchbox (I can never eat just ONE!). A 1-ounce "egg" serving would really just be one whole egg. That graphic should be helpful since it's all visual:

Most people in the US and the UK get enough protein if they eat meat, eggs, dairy, and cheese on a regular basis, but you should probably track your intake based on the "five ounce" guideline and see how you do.

Good luck, and enjoy your cheese!  

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Katie Brind'Amour, MS, CHES


I can answer questions on a variety of nutrition-related subjects. I specialize in dietary management to prevent chronic disease and promote wellness for those with conditions like diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and heart disease. I can also respond to questions regarding USDA dietary guidelines, pediatric nutrition needs, potential causes of undesired weight gain or loss, nutrition during pregnancy or postpartum, and making simple but effective dietary changes (swaps, improvements, etc.). I can answer some limited questions regarding growing foods at home for summer and fall nutrition, as well as making homemade baby food. Finally, I can answer questions regarding food substitutions, allergies, and recipe modification for improved nutrition.


I am a Certified Health Education Specialist and freelance health and wellness writer. I have written dozens of research-based articles on the above topics over the past several years for a variety of sites (,,, etc.). In addition, I have a Masters in Biology and experience as a nutrition counselor for the Women, Infants, and Children program. I am familiar with disease-specific dietary needs because of time with a Newborn Screening program and self-guided research. I am in-progress on a PhD in Health Services Management and Policy, and I have a strong personal interest in nutrition-related reading and lifestyle changes.

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I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) with a Masters in Biology (MS) and an in-progress PhD in Health Services Management and Policy. My PhD minor is Health Behavior and Health Promotion.

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