How Many Grams Of Protein Should I Eat Daily

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How Much Protein Do We Need

How much protein should you eat?
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By Sophie Egan

Q. It seems that many people who are not elite athletes are now hyper-focused on protein consumption. How much protein does the average adult need to consume daily?

A. The recommended intake for a healthy adult is 46 grams of protein a day for women and 56 grams for men. And while protein malnutrition is a problem for millions of people around the globe, for the average adult in developed countries, we are eating far more protein than we actually need.

Most American adults eat about 100 grams of protein per day, or roughly twice the recommended amount. Even on a vegan diet people can easily get 60 to 80 grams of protein throughout the day from foods like beans, legumes, nuts, broccoli and whole grains.

The Hartman Group, a consumer research firm that has been conducting a study of American food culture over the past 25 years and counting, has found that nearly 60 percent of Americans are now actively trying to increase their protein intake. Many are avoiding sugar and simple carbohydrates and turning to protein-rich foods, snacks and supplements. The firm calls protein the new low-fat or the new low-carb, even the new everything when it comes to diet and energy.

Effects On Weight Loss

Studies show that increasing your intake of protein can benefit weight loss through several mechanisms.

For starters, it can increase your metabolism, which can bump up the number of calories that your body burns throughout the day (

7 ).

One study in 27 people showed that consuming higher amounts of protein for 12 weeks led to greater feelings of fullness, decreased late-night cravings, and less preoccupation with food, compared with a control group .

However, while protein may help support weight loss, its important to consider the other ingredients in your protein shake.

Although ingredients like nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and nut butter may be healthy and nutritious in moderation, theyre also very calorie dense and could cause weight gain if consumed in high amounts.

Moderating your intake of these ingredients can help keep the calories from stacking up and turning your healthy protein shake into a high calorie indulgence.

summary

Increasing your intake of protein could support weight loss. However, some ingredients in your protein shake may be high in calories, which could lead to weight gain.

Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Healthy Sedentary Adults

For adults, the US Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg. However, a more appropriate statistical analysis of the data used to establish the RDA suggests this number should be higher: 1.0 g/kg.

Note that, contrary to popular belief, the RDA doesnt represent an ideal intake. Instead, it represents the minimum intake needed to prevent malnutrition. Unfortunately, the RDA for protein was determined from nitrogen balance studies, which require that people eat experimental diets for weeks before measurements are taken. This provides ample time for the body to adapt to low protein intakes by down-regulating processes that are not necessary for survival but are necessary for optimal health, such as protein turnover and immune function.

An alternative method for determining protein requirements, called the Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation technique, overcomes many of the shortcomings of nitrogen balance studies. Notably, it allows for the assessment of protein requirements within 24 hours, thereby not leaving the body enough time to adapt. Studies using the IAAO method have suggested that about 1.2 g/kg is a more appropriate RDA for healthy young men, older men, and older women.

Further evidence that the current RDA for protein is not sufficient comes from a randomized controlled trial that confined healthy, sedentary adults to a metabolic ward for eight weeks. The participants were randomized into three groups:

Three types of hypercaloric diets

Macronutrients
41 41

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What If You Eat Too Much Protein On Keto

The common fear on Keto is that if you eat too much protein, then you wont lose weight.

But is this true??

The idea is that the excess protein gets turned into glucose which spikes your insulin, lowers your ketone levels, and kicks you out of ketosis.

But as youll discover below, this idea is highly debated.

So, just because you hear some people talk about how too much protein kicks you out of ketosis, doesnt mean its true.

Other Circumstances That Can Increase Protein Needs

How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day

Regardless of muscle mass and physique goals, those who are physically active need more protein than those who are sedentary.

If your job is physically demanding or you walk a lot, run, swim, or do any sort of exercise, you need to eat more protein.

Endurance athletes also need significant amounts of protein about 0.50.65 grams per pound of body weight (

This can help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, both of which are significant problems among older adults.

People recovering from injuries may likewise need more protein .

Summary

People who are physically active, as well as older adults and those recovering from injuries, have significantly increased protein requirements.

Read Also: High Protein Breakfast For Muscle Gain

Where Should I Be Getting The Protein That I Eat

Your body likes food its just the way it was designed. It absorbs the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients important to the body best from food. As such, your first choice for getting the protein you need should be through food.

This doesnt mean that this is the only viable source, however, it is certainly the first and best choice!

Another source of protein is through protein supplements. The most common type of protein supplement is protein powder.

Because most protein powder is made from a food product, it is almost as beneficial as eating food is for the body.

A container of protein powder, which is typically about 5 pounds, contains about 30 servings. However, 2 to 3 servings a day are recommended, which means that, at most, you are getting 15 days out of your powder.

Protein powder is sometimes combined with other nutrients and is used as a meal replacement shake. This isnt always the case, and you shouldnt assume that a product is also a meal replacement unless it says so on the label or in the product description.

Adequate Amounts Of Protein Is Optimal On Keto

Just because protein may create some glucose, does not mean its bad for the keto diet. Our bodies are smart enough to create just the right amount of glucose to survive via gluconeogenesis, without any complications.

Many ketogenic dieters who are experiencing negative side effects may benefit greatly from increased protein consumption.

You should never worry about eating too much protein on keto. In fact, eating too little can be more problematic.

If you arent experiencing the full health benefits of the ketogenic diet, increasing your protein intake while regularly monitoring the change in your overall body composition should help you blast through any keto plateaus youve fallen victim to.

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Does Protein Have Any Negative Health Effects

Protein has been unfairly blamed for a number of health problems.

Some people believe that a high protein diet can cause kidney damage and osteoporosis, but science does not support these claims.

Though protein restriction is helpful for people with preexisting kidney problems, theres no evidence that protein can cause kidney damage in healthy people (

31 ).

Overall, theres no evidence that a reasonably high protein intake has any adverse effects in healthy people trying to optimize their health.

Summary

Protein does not have any negative effects on kidney function in healthy people, and studies show that it leads to improved bone health.

The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, as they have all the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Some plants are fairly high in protein as well, such as quinoa, legumes, and nuts.

However, most people generally dont need to track their protein intake.

If youre healthy and trying to stay that way, simply eating quality protein sources with most of your meals, along with nutritious plant foods, should bring your intake to an optimal range.

How Much Protein To Eat On A Keto Diet

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

How much protein you need on a keto diet depends on your unique body and goals. Using the example of a 140-lb person, you would multiply that number by 0.6 to get your minimum protein amount .

You can then do the same for your maximum protein intake by multiplying by 1 , which gives you an ideal intake range. In this case, would be between 84-140 grams of protein per day.

You can also use an automated keto macro calculator. Its quick, easy, accurate, and takes your unique measurements into account.

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Here’s Exactly How Much Protein You Should Eat For Muscle Gain And Weight Loss

Regardless of your goal the answer is simple: 30 grams of protein at every meal.

A 180-pound guy who wants to maintain his current weight would need 100 to 130 grams, or six palm-sized portions of protein-rich foods, every day. Thats about 30 grams at each meal and an additional 10 to 20 grams in two snacks. Chicken breast is great, but so are chicken thighs, tofu, salmon, pork, shellfish, whitefish, lamb, tempeh, and much more.

And don’t forget that a heaping scoop of most protein powders will net you around 30 grams of the nutrient.

Within the larger picture of your daily diet, that means youll want to consume 30 percent of your daily 2,600 calories from protein.

And, yes, that includes plant proteins.

If you’re trying to reduce the amount of meat youre eating, you need to swap in a high-protein plant food.

Some plant foods that are high in protein: soybeans , quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, any kind of nut, peas, any kind of bean, and seitan. You can use an app to track your nutrient intake, or you can simply aim for a palm-sized portion of whatever protein youre including in your meal.

Also, be careful with snacking. Youll find some protein products on the market that contain a measly four grams per serving, along with an abundance of added sugars.

Experts differ on what the exact amount of protein you need to build muscle, but the general consensus is that if your goal is muscle gain you should consume 1 gram of protein for every pound of your target body weight.

How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day

Current guidelines, established by the Institute of Medicine in 2002, recommend adults 19 years of age and older consume 10% to 35% of their daily calories from protein. Thats about 200 to 700 calories from protein for a 2,000-calorie diet. Another way to calculate how much protein you need each day is to multiply 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. With a little math, this translates to 54 grams of protein for a 150-pound woman, or 65 grams for a 180-pound man.

Here are some examples of what 10 grams of protein looks like:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Meat is an obvious protein source, and heres a handy trick for calculating grams of protein in most meats: 1 ounce of meat has 7 grams of protein, with a 3- to 4-ounce portion providing around 30 grams of protein. See what typical servings of protein look like and find out how much is in chicken, eggs and more in our guide to protein serving sizes.

But the IOMs recommendations set the minimum amount of protein you need to eat in order to avoid falling short of this vital nutrient. Recent research suggests that aiming for more, between 1.3 and 1.8 grams/kilogram of body weight , may be optimal for health, especially when it comes to warding off age-related muscle loss.

Also Check: Protein Bars Without Sugar Alcohol

Here Are The Protein Amounts In Some Common Keto Foods:

  • One large egg = 6 g protein
  • One large avocado = 4 g protein
  • One medium head of cauliflower = 11 g protein
  • One 8-oz chicken breast = 70 g protein
  • One 8-oz beef ribeye steak = 54 g protein
  • 100 grams of salmon = 20 g protein
  • 100 grams of shrimp = 20 g protein
  • One hamburger patty = 28 g protein
  • One 6-oz can of tuna = 40 g protein
  • One slice of bacon = 3 g protein

Of course, if you go for fattier cuts of fish and meat, then youll find that it contains less protein and more fat instead. Its another reason why we always suggest eating the skin on fish as well as on chicken and going for fattier cuts of beef and pork.

Bottom Line:

Bottom Line: Most people can have a steak, an egg, and probably a chicken breast in one day and be ok with their protein intake. Of course, this can really vary depending on your protein needs.

How To Check Youre Eating A Good Amount Of Protein

How Much Grams Of Protein Should You Eat Each Day

As many of the experts above stated, protein is essential for our bodies to function correctly. So, dont under-eat protein in your quest to achieve high ketone levels!

If youre just looking to maintain your muscle mass, then a rough guide for protein is to consume 0.8 g of protein per lb of lean body mass.

Therefore, it may be best to spread out your protein intake evenly among two or three feedings rather than consuming most of it at one meal at least if you want to increase your muscle mass.

Therefore, it may be best to spread out your protein intake evenly among two or three feedings rather than consuming most of it at one meal at least if you want to increase your muscle mass.

If youre looking to build more muscle, then youll need to consume a bit more protein .

According to Registered Dietitian Franziska Spritzler, RD and Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, M.D., Research has suggested that your body needs about 20-30 grams of protein at each meal to ensure that amino acids get incorporated into your muscles. Therefore, it may be best to spread out your protein intake evenly among two or three feedings rather than consuming most of it at one meal at least if you want to increase your muscle mass.

If youre not sure how to calculate lean body mass, scroll up to the explanation above or check out this article.

Then use a tracking app like My fitness pal to make sure youre not under-eating protein or overeating by too much!

Recommended Reading: Gluten And Dairy Free Protein Bars

Helps Squeeze In Extra Nutrients

Protein shakes can be a simple way to squeeze some extra vitamins and minerals into your daily diet.

Vegetables like spinach, kale, zucchini, and beets are all rich in nutrients and can be easily blended into a protein shake.

Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and kiwis are also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can help boost the flavor of your smoothie or shake.

Other nutritious ingredients that you can add to your protein shake include nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk, herbs, and spices.

summary

Protein shakes are a quick and convenient breakfast option that can help squeeze some extra nutrients into your diet and keep you feeling full.

Health Benefits Of Protein

Protein helps to maintain body tissues, including muscles, organs, the nervous system, blood, skin, and hair. It also serves as a transport mechanism for oxygen, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

In addition, eating protein can help you manage your weight because it takes longer to digest a protein-rich meal. After consuming a meal with protein, you’re likely to feel full and satisfied longer.

Some protein foods have additional health benefits. Legumes are high in protein and fiber and contain phytochemicals that may have health benefits. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, and trout, are high in protein and also omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for health.

Read Also: High Protein Smoothies For Weight Gain

How Much Protein Should I Eat On Keto Heres What The Keto Experts Said:

Because theres a lot of varying views on protein intake on Keto diets, weve included some quotes from Keto experts below.

In general, the consensus seems to be that we need protein, but the exact amount we need really depends

Ever heard of a protein sparing modified fast? Listen to our podcast here for yet another aspect of this whole protein on keto thing.

How Much Protein Should You Eat For Muscle Gain

The Optimal Amount of Protein to Eat Per Meal

If youre looking to beef up your biceps, protein is one major contributor.

According to a 2018 article, to see muscle gains you want to get in more protein than your body breaks down .

Participating in resistance exercises followed by eating quality protein keeps the net protein balance positive. And continuing that pattern regularly can lead to muscle growth over time. This is why a post-workout protein shake is a staple for many weight lifters to pack on the muscle.

But the actual amount of protein needed to build muscle seems to vary. Some research states that eating about 20 to 40 g of protein after resistance exercise and every 3 hours throughout the day can help you see some gains. Other research states that targeting a protein intake of 1.6 to 2.2 g/kg per day is ideal.

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