How Many Grams Of Protein Required Per Day

Muscle Protein Synthesis In Women

How Many Grams of Protein Do You Need Per Day?

Do note that the majority of recommendations about protein are based on male studies, and generalised to women, a point stressed in the work of physiologist Dr. Stacy Sims.

The female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, have different effects on muscle protein synthesis. When it comes to hormonal changes, men do not have the same peaks and troughs as women, nor do these hormones work in the same way or produce the same levels .

Intake requirements may differ depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Both oestrogen and progesterone are generally low during the first half of your cycle. Levels of the latter hormone generally rise in the second half though. Progesterone has a catabolic effect on protein metabolism meaning it breaks down muscle, and so you may need to up your protein intake during this period.

Similarly, a decline in oestrogen levels during menopause is linked to decreased muscle mass and bone strength, and so for this reason, post-menopausal women should eat more protein. For women over 50, The Mayo Clinic recommends 1.5 grams of protein per kg of weight.

Protein Preserves Lean Body Mass

In addition, protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.

One study compared the effect of low protein intake to high protein intake on lean body mass over a short term caloric deficit. On average, the low protein group lost about 1.6 kilograms of muscle mass while the high protein group only lost 0.3 kg of muscle mass .

Another similar study compared 0.8 g/kg per day against 1.6 g/kg per day and 2.4 g/kg per day and found that the two higher intakes spared more lean body mass than the 0.8 g/kg per day diet. They also found that there was no real benefit to 2.4 g/kg per day over 1.6 g/kg per day .

Currently, most evidence suggests that ~1.6 grams of protein per kilogram, or .73 grams of protein per pound is a recommended daily target for protein intake to spare lean body mass loss during periods of weight loss.

So How Much Protein Should Older Adults Get

Generally, the protein recommendation for adults is to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight more active women should be getting 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram. That translates into 54 to 68 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound woman.

Again though, people who are older likely need a bit more than that to help maintain their muscle mass. There aren’t specific dietary requirements yet, but research suggests that eating as much as 0.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight at intervals spread out by a few hours may enhance the body’s appropriate use of protein to maintain skeletal muscle mass as best as possible. âThis would be just over 25 grams of protein per mealâand at one snackâfor a 150-pound women,â says Jones.

That’s…a lot of protein. It’s also a big change from the above-mentioned existing recommendations, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before trying it yourself.

If you get the all-clear, Dewsnap recommends breaking down the increase to make it feel more digestible. âIt can be helpful to think of this as a per meal protein recommendation so itâs not overwhelming and to ensure you get enough in over the course of the day,â she says. Spreading protein throughout the day may also help the body digest and utilize it better, as opposed to all at once or in very large doses.

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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Fat Loss

First, let it be clear that, though it is possible to lose fat on a eucaloric diet by shifting your macronutrient ratios toward more protein, if you want to keep losing weight youll need to switch to a hypocaloric diet .

High protein intakes help preserve lean mass in dieters, especially lean dieters. To optimize body composition, dieting athletes should consume 1.62.4 g/kg, skewing toward the higher end of this range as they become leaner or if they increase their caloric deficit .

Later studies have argued that, to minimize lean-mass loss, dieting lean resistance-trained athletes should consume 2.33.1 g/kg . This latter recommendation has been upheld by the International Society of Sports Nutrition and by a review article on bodybuilding contest preparation.

Optimal daily protein intake for fat loss

Body weight

How Much Protein Do You Really Need

How Much Protein A Day to Build Muscle?

Protein is an essential part of our diets. Protein is the only source of nitrogen that is used to build and repair tissues. A fundamental question in nutrition is: How much protein is needed to sustain life and sustain good health? Moreover, how do our requirements for protein change over our lifetime? In older adults with reduced muscle mass, experts have suggested that a high-protein diet may help to improve muscle function, yet evidence suggests that high-protein diets may not be as beneficial as some have thought.

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. It is used to build and repair tissues, and it forms the building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, hair, and nails. Protein deficiency, caused when people do not get adequate amounts of protein from their diet, can impact all aspects of body function. Edematous malnutrition is the most severe form of protein deficiency, but is extremely rare in the United States and developed countries. Too much protein in a diet can also have adverse effects on body function. Excessive protein intake has been linked to increased risk of osteoporosis.

Shalender Bhasin, MD, of the Section of Mens Health: Aging and Metabolism at Brigham and Womens Hospital cautions against regarding the IOMs recommended daily amount of protein as biblical dictum. It should really be viewed as a guideline rather than a rule, he said.

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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Athletes

If youre physically active regularly, you need more protein daily than if you were sedentary. The American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1.22.0 g/kg to optimize recovery from training and to promote the growth and maintenance of lean mass when caloric intake is sufficient. This recommendation is similar to that of the International Society of Sports Nutrition : 1.42.0 g/kg.

Importantly, it may be better to aim for the higher end of the above ranges. According to the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength, the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg. Those of you interested in a comprehensive breakdown of this study will find one in NERD #34 .

However, only 4 of the 49 included studies were conducted in people with resistance training experience . IAAO studies in athletes found different numbers: on training days, female athletes required 1.41.7 g/kg the day following a regular training session, male endurance athletes required 2.12.7 g/kg two days after their last resistance-training session, amateur male bodybuilders required 1.72.2 g/kg.

Since higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, one may want to err toward the higher amounts. For most athletes , the ISSN range will work well:

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein For These Unique Needs

Animal-based protein sources tend to be more easily utilized by the body compared to plant-based protein sources, but that absolutely does not mean to count out plant-based protein, says Dewsnap.

Some of your best healthy protein options include eggs, which are one of the most bioavailable sources of protein and can be utilized in a variety of ways. One large, whole egg contains around six grams of protein. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish are great healthy protein sources, as are protein-rich whole grains like quinoa and farro, soy and tofu, tempeh, lentils, and other minimally-processed plant proteins.

Protein powder mixed with high-protein milk like dairy or soy milk can also help older women get the most bang for their buck if their appetites are low, Dewsnap adds. âNuts and seeds contain protein in smaller amounts and are higher in fat and calories but carry a plethora of nutrients, which help to make them a great snack option or crunchy topping,â she says.

TL DR: “Bulking up” on protein isn’t just for the gym. It’s something that can help you live a longer, healthier life. Just talk with your doctor about the specific amounts you should aim for to ensure you’re doing it healthily.

ICYMI: These plant-based protein sources won’t mess with your digestion. And a protein shake for breakfast can be a healthy choice…if you play it right.

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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.


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.

Other Lifestyle Tweaks For Weight Gain

How Much Protein is Needed Daily? (Grams of Protein Per Day)

Weight gain isn’t just about getting enough protein. If you’re eating lots of protein but living a sedentary lifestyle, for example, you won’t gain muscle — you’ll just store the extra calories as fat. So you’ll need to strength-train regularly — around three times per week — to see results.

When it comes to your diet, you’ll also need high-quality carbs and protein. Nutritious whole grains and fruit, for example, supply carbohydrates that are stored in your muscle as glycogen. When you work out, this glycogen serves as a source of quick energy so that you can push through a tough workout. Healthy fats in your diet also provide energy so you can keep up with the active lifestyle needed for weight gain, while the veggies in your diet provide minerals and vitamins you need for a healthy metabolism, strong bones and immunity.

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The Amino Acid Profile Varies Between Plant And Animal Proteins

When eaten, protein is broken down into amino acids.

Proteins and amino acids are used for almost every metabolic process in the body.

However, different proteins can vary greatly in the types of amino acids they contain.

While animal proteins tend to contain a good balance of all the amino acids that we need, some plant proteins are low in certain amino acids.

For example, some key plant proteins are often low in methionine, tryptophan, lycine and isoleucine.

Bottom Line:

All proteins are made up of amino acids, although the amount and type of each amino acid varies based on the protein source.

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!

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Protein Requirements For Older Adults Ages 65+

Age becomes more important to protein intake as you hit 65+. Once you reach your 60s, you might want to begin upping the amount of protein you consume per day in an effort to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health and other essential physiological functions.

In 2013, an international group of physicians and nutrition experts recommended that healthy older adults should consume 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, which is a 25-50 percent increase over the RDA. This formula translates to 69 to 81 grams for a 150-pound woman, and 81 to 98 grams for a 180-pound man.

This team of experts found an increase in protein to be necessary because older bodies process protein less efficiently, so even healthy adults in their 60s need more protein than when they were younger to help preserve muscle mass. By the time people reach age 65, they become at greater risk of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients for muscle health, but compared to younger people, older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake. Fortunately,

How Does Protein Benefit Women

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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

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Can Protein Help You Build Muscle

High quality protein combined with exercise can help build muscle. Eating within 3060 minutes of finishing exercise may be the most beneficial for building muscle. During this time, skeletal muscles make better use of nutrients in food than they do 3 hours after exercising.

The current recommended daily allowance for protein is set at a level that prevents muscle loss and provides the minimum required amino acids. Individuals seeking to gain muscle should be eating more than the RDA.

Active individuals may eat up to 2 g per kilogram body weight of protein per day. The most active individuals may go as high as 3.5 g per kg body weight. Eating high protein levels for long periods may cause digestive, renal, and vascular problems.

10-35% of total daily caloric intake. But since pregnant people need extra calories during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the amount of protein they need to eat will be higher.

For teens under 18 who are pregnant, the RDA is 10-30% of total daily caloric intake from high quality protein sources.

Daily Protein Needs For Seniors Still Unsettled

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

My mom is a little feather of an 84-year-old, quite thin and less than five feet tall. So I wasnt surprised when her doctor told us recently to make sure she ate more protein, preferably at every meal or snack. Protein is good for building and maintaining muscle and bone. Its also important for strength and function. A new study aimed to extend the benefits even further, to stroke prevention.

Researchers in China analyzed seven studies that included more than 250,000 participants who ranged in age from their mid-30s to their 80s. They were followed for an average of 14 years. People with the most protein in their diets were 20% less likely to have had a stroke during the study period than those with the lowest amount of protein in their diets. Even more impressive, the risk of stroke went down 26% for every increase of 20 grams of protein in the daily diet. The results were published online today in the journal Neurology.

According to the researchers, if everyone started eating more protein wed see nearly 1,500,000 fewer stroke deaths per year globally.


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Expert Opinion & Research On Protein In Older Adults

In 2013 a position paper was released from the PROT-AGE Study Group . These are experts in the field of geriatrics. Their position paper highlights research that shows older adults need more protein than the RDA to support good health, promote recovery when ill, and to maintain functionality .

The PROT- AGE Study Group recommends that older adults consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight .

Another expert group had similar recommendations. The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism also recommended that older adults should get 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight from their diet .

There continues to be ongoing research in the area of protein requirements for older adults.

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