Based On Weight And Activity
There are other ways to get a more specific protein goal that may take into account lean muscle mass and/or physical activity level.
The average adult needs a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kg, would need about 60 grams of protein per day.
However, your protein needs may increase if you are very active. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Dietitians of Canada suggest that athletes need more protein.
These organizations suggest that athletes consume between 1.2 grams and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, with endurance athletes at the lower end of this range and strength and power athletes at the higher end.
Here’s Why Youre Probably Not Eating Enough Protein
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.
How Much Protein Is Optimal
The DRI for protein is only 46 and 56 grams for the average woman and man, respectively.
This amount may be enough to prevent deficiency, but it is far from optimal if you are trying to lose weight .
Most of the studies on protein and weight loss expressed protein intake as a percentage of calories.
According to these studies, aiming for protein at 30% of calories seems to be very effective for weight loss.
You can find the number of grams by multiplying your calorie intake by 0.075. For example, on a 2000 calorie diet you would eat 2000 * 0.075 = 150 grams of protein.
You can also aim for a certain number based on your weight. For example, aiming for 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass is a common recommendation .
It is best to spread your protein intake throughout the day by eating protein with every meal.
Keep in mind that these numbers dont need to be exact, anything in the range of 25-35% of calories should be effective.
More details in this article: How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?
In order to lose weight, aiming for 25-35% of calories as protein may be optimal. 30% of calories amounts to 150 grams of protein on a 2000 calorie diet.
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What Are The Potential Side Effects Of A High
If you’re focusing on more protein and less carbohydrates in your diet, your fiber intake make take a hit, since fiber is only found in carbohydrates, says Zeitlin. Less fiber means more bloat, constipation, and higher risk of heart disease and chronic illnesses if you end up really deficient in the stuff. So make sure to include veggies throughout the day and add in plant-based proteins, like chickpeas, lentils and edamame, she says.
Talk to your doctor before upping your protein intake a ton, just to make sure the diet is right for you and your needs, says Zeitlin. Extremely high-protein diets could cause stomach cramping, excessive urination, or constipation, and if you’re experiencing those things, cut back to how much protein you ate before.
Protein Helps Prevent Muscle Loss And Metabolic Slowdown
Weight loss doesnt always equal fat loss.
When you lose weight, muscle mass tends to be reduced as well.
However, what you really want to lose is body fat, both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat .
Losing muscle is a side effect of weight loss that most people dont want.
Another side effect of losing weight is that the metabolic rate tends to decrease.
In other words, you end up burning fewer calories than you did before you lost the weight.
This is often referred to as starvation mode, and can amount to several hundred fewer calories burned each day (
For this reason, a high protein intake and heavy strength training are two incredibly important components of an effective fat loss plan.
Not only do they help keep your metabolism high, they also make sure that what is underneath the fat actually looks good. Without protein and strength training, you may end up looking skinny-fat instead of fit and lean.
Eating plenty of protein can help prevent muscle loss when you lose weight. It can also help keep your metabolic rate high, especially when combined with heavy strength training.
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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 (
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.
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.
What Else Do I Need To Do To Lose Weight
As mentioned, from a scientific perspective, consuming fewer calories than you burn is the only requirement for losing weight. Functionally speaking, an adequate level of protein is important for weight loss because it can help you stay in that caloric deficit. Your diet is going to be most important aspect of your overall weight loss strategy. Other practical lifestyle choices that can help you shed pounds include:
Regular exercise. Adults are recommended to get between 150 and 300 minutes of exercise per week, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Cardiovascular exercises will use up a higher concentration of calories than other types of exercise. In addition, it is recommended to include strength training at least two days out of the week.
Hydration. Drinking water is important for a multitude of reasons, but its well-known to impact how full you feel. In fact, research shows that inadequate hydration is correlated with a higher body mass, even after controlling for other factors.
Supplementation. While whole foods are always ideal, sometimes its difficult to find the time to meal prep or meet your macro and micro nutrient needs through food alone especially if you are cooking for multiple people. Protein supplements like whey or blended plant-based protein powder or snack bars are a great option when you are on-the-go and need a quick fix to help keep you full.
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Triggers A Healthy Diet
When you have enough proteins intake in your body, you also trigger a healthy diet. Why? Protein has been observed to curb the craving for hard-to-resist food that keeps you from a healthy diet.
It is because of a brain chemical called dopamine. This chemical in the brain is linked to addiction. Adequate protein intake means improved dopamine function, which may cause reduced cravings.
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.
Protein shakes are a quick and convenient breakfast option that can help squeeze some extra nutrients into your diet and keep you feeling full.
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Foods High In Protein
There are many different combinations of food that a person can eat to meet their protein intake requirements. For many people, a large portion of protein intake comes from meat and dairy, though it is possible to get enough protein while meeting certain dietary restrictions you might have. Generally, it is easier to meet your RDA of protein by consuming meat and dairy, but an excess of either can have a negative health impact. There are plenty of plant-based protein options, but they generally contain less protein in a given serving. Ideally, a person should consume a mixture of meat, dairy, and plant-based foods in order to meet their RDA and have a balanced diet replete with nutrients.
If possible, consuming a variety of complete proteins is recommended. A complete protein is a protein that contains a good amount of each of the nine essential amino acids required in the human diet. Examples of complete protein foods or meals include:
- Hemp and chia seeds
How To Calculate Your Daily Protein Intake
Knowing protein is such an important nutrient for those looking to lose weight while maintaining or even building muscle, you may wonder exactly how much protein you should be consuming each day. The previously mentioned 0.8 grams per kilograms of bodyweight per day, which translates to about 0.36 grams of protein per pound, is a decent starting point.
However, most people who are looking to lose weight and are focused on a high protein diet will likely want to increase that ratio. An article published by Harvard Medical School last year called the 0.8 grams of protein per kilograms of bodyweight ratio modest, pointing out that following the RDA would result in only about 10% of daily calories coming from protein sources. It further suggests that consuming between 15% and 25% of your daily calories from protein sources can be beneficial to help you with muscle growth and retention.
A ratio of anywhere from 0.4 grams of protein per pound to as high as 0.7 grams per pound is typically used by professional athletes or others who engage in lots of exercise. Experiment with different ranges to see what kind of protein intake your body needs to help you feel full enough to achieve your weight loss goals.
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Protein: Is More Better
For a relatively active adult, a daily protein intake to meet the RDA would supply as little as 10% of his or her total daily calories. In comparison, the average American consumes around 16% of his or her daily calories in the form of protein, from both plant and animal sources.
The Protein Summit reports in AJCN argue that 16% is anything but excessive. In fact, the reports suggest that Americans may eat too little protein, not too much. The potential benefits of higher daily protein intake, these researchers argue, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique. Some studies described in the summit reports suggest that protein is more effective if you space it out over the days meals and snacks, rather than loading up at dinner like many Americans do.
Based on the totality of the research presented at the summit, Rodriguez estimates that taking in up to twice the RDA of protein “is a safe and good range to aim for.” This equates roughly to 15% to 25% of total daily calories, although it could be above or below this range depending on your age, sex, and activity level.
However, over the last several years, the public health message has shifted away from desired percentages of protein, fats and carbohydrates. For example, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of eating healthier protein rich foods rather than concentrating on specific amounts of daily protein.
How Much Protein For A Fat Loss Diet For Men
Calorie restriction and protein intake is important for men trying to reduce body fat, but maintain lean muscle mass. Consuming a high-protein diet can help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass commonly associated with weight loss, according to a study published in a 2010 edition of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Combining a high-protein diet with low-carb intake is associated with more fat loss during the first six months of dieting, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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‘how Much Weight Loss’ Calculator
The ‘How Much Weight Loss‘ Calculator can help determine how much weight you can lose on popular diets and specific calorie plans.
For example, how much weight could you lose if you followed a 1,200 calorie or 1,800 calorie diet plan for two weeks, a month or six weeks? Or perhaps you are wondering how long it would take to lose 30 lbs on a liquid diet, Atkins or Weight Watchers.
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You’re A Vegetarian Or Vegan
Eat These Recipes:High-Protein Vegan Recipes
Good news for those forgoing animal products: If you’re eating enough calories, opting for a plant-based diet doesn’t automatically mean you’re not consuming enough protein. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the terms “complete” and “incomplete” protein are misleading. “Protein from a variety of plant foods, eaten during the course of a day, supplies enough of all indispensable amino acids when caloric requirements are met,” the Academy said in a 2016 position statement.
Vegetarians and vegans may need to pay a bit more attention to what foods give them the best protein-for-calorie value than the average meat-eater, but eating a varied diet that includes protein-rich legumes and soy will keep your body and muscles humming along just fine.
Other great vegetarian sources of protein: eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, quinoa and peanut butter. See our Top Vegetarian Protein Sources if you need help eating more protein. Vegans, read up on our Top 10 Vegan Protein Sources.
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Protein Deficiency Can Lead To Malnutrition
Protein deficiency can lead to malnutrition, such as kwashiorkor and marasmus. Both of these conditions are life-threatening.
This protein deficiency happens if a person has a health condition such as an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa.
An energy deficit due to the deficiencies of many micronutrients is called Protein-energy undernutrition . This condition can be sudden caused by total starvation or gradual.
Protein Intake How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day
Few nutrients are as important as protein. Not getting enough of it will affect your health and body composition.
However, opinions regarding how much protein you need vary.
Most official nutritional organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.
The DRI is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This amounts to:
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
This may be enough to prevent deficiency, but the amount you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, and overall health.
This article examines the optimal amounts of protein and how lifestyle factors like weight loss, muscle building, and activity levels factor in.
Proteins are the main building blocks of your body. Theyre used to make muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and various molecules that serve many important functions.
Proteins consist of smaller molecules called amino acids, which link together like beads on a string. These linked amino acids form long protein chains, which then fold into complex shapes.
Your body produces some of these amino acids, but you must obtain others known as essential amino acids via your diet.
Protein is not only about quantity but also quality.
If youre eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, youre likely getting enough protein.
Protein is important when it comes to losing weight.
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Other Circumstances That Can Increase Protein Needs
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 .
People who are physically active, as well as older adults and those recovering from injuries, have significantly increased protein requirements.