How Much Protein Needed Per Day


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Where Does Protein Come From

How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

The healthiest protein options are plant sources, such as soy, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils lean meats, such as skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey a variety of fish or seafood egg whites or low-fat dairy.

Meet your dietary protein needs with these whole foods versus supplements, which are no more effective than food as long as energy intake is adequate for building lean mass.

Manufactured foods don’t contain everything you need from food, and manufacturers do not know everything that should be in food.

Why Do You Want To Protect Lean Mass

When cutting calories to shed pounds, you will lose a combination of fat and muscle weight. But your goal should be to lose more fat than muscle.

More lean mass means a better body composition , helping you look more toned and lean overall. Muscle is also your storage place for carbs , meaning you can process carbs and store them more efficiently. The more muscle you have, the less body fat you store. So when it comes to losing weight, maintaining your muscle is going to be a huge benefit.

When Is The Best Time To Consume Protein

Spread out protein consumption evenly throughout the day. On average, people tend to get most of their protein during evening meals and the least at breakfast. Some newer studies show moving some protein from supper to breakfast can help with weight management by decreasing hunger and cravings throughout the day. Of course, more research is needed before these claims can be verified.

General recommendations are to consume 1530 grams of protein at each meal. Studies show higher intakes those more than 40 grams in one sitting are no more beneficial than the recommended 1530 grams at one time. Don’t waste your money on excessive amounts.

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Digging Deeper: After Better Than Before

Is it better to eat before or after exercising?

In a 2020 crossover trial we first summarized for Examine Members, 8 healthy young men were divided into three groups.

All three groups performed a full-body strength workout in the morning. One group ate a meal 1.5 hours before, another just after, and the last waited for lunchtime.

This happened three times, with three days in between. Each time, the men switched to a different group. Thus, at the end of the trial, they had all tried all three meal times.

Blood insulin and certain modified amino acids were measured as indicators of muscle breakdown. The results? Eating a mixed-nutrient meal immediately after resistance training, rather than 1.5 hours before or not until lunchtime, resulted in the greatest suppression of muscle protein breakdown.

Whether or not this correlates with improvements in muscle growth and recovery, however, is unclear.

Here’s Why Youre Probably Not Eating Enough Protein

How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day

The irony of the protein boom is that Americans arent actually ingesting any more of it today than they were 30 years ago.

That might be because proteins recommended daily allowance is a modest 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, a number formulated during World War II in order to safeguard public health during a possible shortage and ensure the nutritive value of military rations.

That RDA means roughly 8 to 10 percent of your daily intake should be protein, says Heather Leidy, Ph.D., a protein researcher and associate professor in Purdue Universitys Department of Nutrition Science.

But that 8 to 10 percent is only the minimum required to prevent a protein deficiency, not what you need for protein synthesis, muscle gain, satiety, weight management, and glycemic control.

While the diets of most Americans may contain between 10 and 15 percent protein, Leidy notes, research suggests that anywhere from 20 to 30 percent would be a better health goalwith at least 30 grams of protein being the minimum threshold at mealtime.

Another way to look at it: Thats between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of your target body weight. So if youre a 185-pound guy who wants to weigh 165, you should eat between 90 and 120 grams of protein per day.

Actually, it’s pretty easy.

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Protein Calculator: How Much Protein Do I Need

Determining how much protein to eat per day is important for any lifter, athlete, or person, period! Here’s the number to aim for to build muscle, lose weight, and support your exercise goals.


The amount of protein you need depends on a number of factors, including your weight, age, goals, and activity level. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight for a sedentary person. However, if you do intense workouts, have a physically demanding job, or both, experts say you may need moreâperhaps as much as double.

This calculator will tell you how much protein to eat each day based on your specific body and lifestyle. Dial in this nutritional priority to take control of your nutrition and nail your goals!

How Much Protein Do You Need If You Exercise Regularly

Activity level can also alter how much protein you need to build and repair muscles. If youre active and do strength training, consuming more protein post workout makes sense, Fielding says.

For those regularly active, consider upping protein intake to 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. This protein should be spaced out during the day, with a prioritization of carbohydrates and protein following exercise.

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Getting Enough Protein As We Age

Dietary needs change as women get older. Studies have shown that as women age, they may benefit from increased protein amounts in their diet. Again, the amount of protein necessary for a healthy diet will vary from person to person. However, senior women may find it in their best interests to add more protein to their diet.

More protein can help prevent muscle loss as you get older so you can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Additionally, protein is crucial to bone health. Women are very susceptible to bone loss as they get older. Protein helps to build up bone strength and density. Senior women may want to think about adding more protein to their diet in order to stay healthy. More protein in your diet has also been shown to have heart health benefits. Increased protein levels have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attacks and heart disease.

As women age, they become more vulnerable to things like bone loss, muscle loss, and heart disease. Increasing your protein intake is a great way to stay healthy and stave off health problems. ENU Nutrition meal replacement shakes may be a great way to add more protein to your diet. The protein shakes can be used as meal replacements or can be used between meals for an extra protein boost in your day.

What Is The Thermogenic Effect Of Protein

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need Per Day?

It takes energy to digest your foodcommonly referred to as the thermic effect of food . And as it turns out, each macro requires a different amount of energy to digest.

Protein is thought to be the most thermogenic of all the macros, causing a small spike in metabolism to digest protein foods compared to fat and carbs . And it is commonly believed that eating more protein overall may lead to tiny increases in your daily metabolism and overall energy expenditure.

TEF only accounts for 10% of your total energy expenditure, but because dieting is associated with decreases in metabolism over timedue to prolonged caloric restriction and decreases in massthis minor effect on metabolism may be worth considering .

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How Does Protein Benefit Women

Womens bodies naturally have a lower percentage of lean mass and more fat mass than men boosting protein intake can help protect the lean mass even if you are cutting back on calories or working hard in the gym.

Protein is a key nutrient to keep our bodies healthy for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and keeping our muscles strong as we age also helps to protect our bones.1

How Did We Calculate Your Protein Intake’s protein calculator starts with the Mifflin St. Jeor equation, which is considered by our nutritionists and dieticians to be the “gold standard” of calorie calculators. Here’s how it works:

Calculate basal metabolic rate , or the calories your body burns simply by being alive. For men: 10 x weight + 6.25 x height â 5 x age + 5 For women: 10 x weight + 6.25 x height â 5 x age -161

Then, this BMR count is multiplied, depending on your activity level:

Sedentary = 1.2

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So How Much Protein Do Athletes Need

There are countless opinions out there, but science is the best place to turn. Resistance training studies were among the first to begin exploring the relationship between increased exercise and increased protein needs. Unsurprisingly, a recent meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, confirms that in order to gain muscle mass and strength, you need to take in closer to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This translates to around 130 grams/day for a 180-pound athlete, 115 grams for a 160-pound athlete, 100 grams for a 140-pound athlete, and 90 grams for a 120-pound athlete.

But its not as simple as just aiming for a certain number each day. Lets use the analogy of driving a car across the country as an example: You will need a lot of gas, but you cant fill your tank once and expect to drive 3,000+ miles. You will need to stop to refuel along the way. Protein intake is similar.

In order to maximize muscle recovery and strength gains, research suggests you need to feed your body protein-rich foods at least four times each day rather than larger doses one to two times per day. That means its best to include protein-rich foods at all meals and at least one snack whenever maintaining or building lean body mass is a priority for you.

To get 20 grams of protein you will need to eat:

Protein-Rich Food
Cottage cheese ¾ cup

How Much Protein Should You Have A Day For Weight Loss

Are You Eating Too Much Protein Vegan Bodybuilding

Protein is the one macronutrient that never gets a bad rep when it comes to losing weight. Thats because eating enough protein is shown to help weight loss.

Foods that are high in protein have a thermic effect, meaning they can boost your metabolism and increase use of energy. So increasing the percentage of protein in your diet can wind up increasing energy expenditure.

Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient, leaving you feeling full and satisfied after a meal. A small 2014 study on healthy women found that eating a high protein snack after lunch led to less afternoon hunger. And 100 fewer calories were consumed at dinner compared to those noshing on high fat and high carb snacks.Aiming to consume more than 1.2 g/kg per day has also been shown to boost fullness compared to the normal range .

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How Much Protein Do We Need

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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.

Protein Grams Per Day

You can target a specific number of protein grams per day as an alternative to the percentage approach. A straightforward way to get a range of protein grams per day is to translate the percent range into a specific protein gram range. The math is easy.

Each gram of protein contains four calories. Divide the two calorie range numbers by four. Someone who eats 2,000 calories per day should consume 200 to 700 calories from protein, or 50 to 175 grams of protein.

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If Youre A Strength Athlete

If you mainly lift weights, perform calisthenics or gymnastics, or do short, quick HIIT workouts , youll need a bit more protein to maintain and build muscle and keep body fat levels down.

Your level of protein may vary depending on your body type: if youre naturally broad and thick, youll most likely need a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet, and if youre built more muscular and athletic youll be able to handle slightly more carbohydrates and less protein. If youre naturally thin and have trouble putting on muscle, youll most likely want to eat similar to an endurance athlete.

Your protein needs: 1-1.5g protein per pound bodyweight

Suggested macronutrient breakdown: 30-35% protein / 25-40% carbohydrate / 25-40% fat

Leucine Content Of Plant And Animal Proteins

How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day?

Reference: van Vliet et al. J Nutr. 2015

Plant proteins being lower in leucine and other EAAs helps explain why several studies have reported lower MPS from soy protein powders and beverages than from whey protein, skim milk, whole milk with cheese, and lean beef.

The quality of a protein depends on its bioavailability and EAA content. Based on both criteria, the quality of plant proteins is lower than the quality of animal proteins.

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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Lactating Women

As with pregnancy, there is little research investigating how lactation and breastfeeding affect protein requirements. Women produce a wide range of breast milk volumes, regardless of their energy status . The infants demands appear to be the primary regulator of milk production.

Based simply on adult protein requirements plus the protein output in breast milk, the RDA for lactating women was set at 1.3 g/kg. However, one study reported that half of the lactating women consuming 1.5 g/kg were in negative nitrogen balance, while another study suggested that 1.01.5 g/kg leads to a rapid downregulation of protein turnover suggestive of an adaptive response to insufficient intake.

Considering the lack of data on the effects of a protein intake greater than 1.5 g/kg in lactating women and that consuming 1.5 g/kg or less leads to adaptations suggestive of insufficient intake, lactating women should aim to consume at least 1.5 g/kg of protein daily.

Optimal daily protein intake for lactating women

Body weight

Digging Deeper: Why More Protein For Athletes

Dieting athletes benefit from higher protein intakes, relative to their weights, than overweight and obese dieters. This can be partly explained in three interrelated ways:

  • Overweight and obese individuals have sluggish metabolisms that tend to favor fat storage over protein storage . They usually need a greater caloric deficit to lose fat than do athletes .

  • Protein intake is based on total weight. Lets consider two dieters who weigh the same. If one is an already lean athlete and the other an overweight individual, the latter will get to consume a lot fewer calories. Lets say Im an athlete consuming 3,000 kcal and 180 grams of protein : my diet is 24% protein. Now lets say Im overweight and consuming 2,000 kcal and 120 grams of protein : my diet is also 24% protein.

  • If an already lean athlete and an overweight person weigh the same, the former has more muscle and so needs more protein to maintain muscle mass.

Considering the health risks associated with overweightness and obesity, it is also noteworthy that eating a diet higher in protein significantly reduces several cardiometabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides, while also increasing satiety. These effects are small, however, and likely dependent on the amount of body fat one loses.

Optimal daily protein intake for fat loss

Body weight
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Quickly and easily calculate your optimal daily intake with our protein intake calculator.

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Best Sources Of Protein

Protein comes from plant and animal sources, and you can meet your protein needs with either type of protein. Plant sources are typically not considered complete proteins since they lack all of the essential amino acids. For this reason, eating a wide variety of plant-based proteins that cover all of the amino acids you need is important.

Is There Such Thing As Too Much Protein Powder

How Much Protein Should You Have A Day Uk

Luckily, a high protein diet3 is a very safe and effective diet that has very few negative side effects to consuming too much protein.

Some protein powders are made with lower quality protein sources, and may even contain toxic levels of heavy metals like mercury and lead.

Make sure you choose a third-party tested protein when choosing a protein powder.

That being said, you will still want to limit

If you notice stomach problems after increasing your protein powder consumption, decrease it and talk to your doctor about alternatives and their opinion.

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