Protein Requirement and Energy Intake

It has been proposed that protein requirement is, within a certain limit, inversely dependent on energy intake, i.e. the more energy is ingested, the less protein is needed (Table 4). This is because proteins can be used also as energy sources (beyond their structural, regulatory and functional role). Therefore, if their use to produce energy varies, their requirement also varies. Furthermore, alternative energy substrates, such as the carbohydrates, can stimulate insulin secretion, which in turn spares endogenous proteins [18].

A relationship between protein requirement and energy intake is reported in Table 4. The reported amount should be increased by 2 SD for safe allowances.

Table 4. Relationship between dietary protein requirement (in grams of protein per kg of body weight), titrated to the achievement of zero nitrogen balance, and energy intake (in kJ per kg of body weight) in a weight-stable healthy adult man [19,20]

Protein

Safe allowance

Energy

requirement

(+2 SD)

intake

(g/kg)

(g/kg)

(kJ/kg)

0.78

1.02

9.57

0.56

0.74

10.77

0.51

0.62

11.48

0.42

0.50

13.64

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