How Much Protein Does An Adult Need

Be Cautious With Too Much Protein

How much protein do I need a day? (Facts about protein)

The old saying too much of a good thing is a bad thing holds true with almost every nutrient, including protein. While protein is important, it is a delicate balance. Providing too much protein can cause issues like dehydration and in those with kidney disease, it can further kidney damage.

Those with kidney disease may actually need less protein and not more. It is important to speak with your doctor and/or ageriatric dietitian to determine your individual needs.

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.

Adjusting Your Protein Intake

If you need help meeting your age groups recommended amount of protein, an easy way to up your intake is by adding a protein supplement to your diet. People often use protein powder to help better meet their bodys needs, as well as maximize muscle gain and fat loss with a higher protein intake.

Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas. With so many different forms of protein powder out there, it can be difficult to find one thats tailored specifically to your body type and health goals. Thats where Gainful comes in: Gainful creates a customized protein supplement based on your body type, dietary needs, activity level and fitness goals. You just take a quiz to find your personalized blend of the finest, high-quality ingredients, and Gainful takes care of the rest. Whether youre looking to build muscle, starting a weight loss journey or just simply want to take back control of your health, its never been easier to integrate a personalized protein powder into your program. Theres a Gainful protein powder for everyone and every diet gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free and anything in between.

Worried about making changes to your diet and lifestyle on your own? With Gainful, youre never in this alone: Each subscriber has unlimited access to a personal Registered Dietitian, whos available to answer your questions whenever they pop up.

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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.

Choose Each Source Wisely

How Much Protein Do Older Adults Need (&  Where to Get It)?

Yes, animal meat, poultry and fish are protein powerhouses. Dairy products , beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are also great sources. One essential amino acid in particular, leucine, stimulates muscle growth and prevents the deterioration of muscle as we age. You’ll find a decent amount of leucine in chicken, beef, pork chops, tuna, ricotta cheese and pumpkin seeds.

Keep an eye on calories. Our increased protein needs can drive them up at a time when a slowing metabolism means you need slightly fewer. The good news: Studies suggest that protein is more satiating than carbohydrates or fat, making it easier for us to steer clear of processed foods and sugar-laden snacks.

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Protein Helps You Feel Full Longer

One of the biggest things that impedes weight loss is hunger.

People are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger.

Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients .

Several different lines of research have all pointed to the same thing: higher protein intakes tend to provide more satiety and less hunger.

For example, in one study, high protein snacks allowed people to go longer between eating and also caused them to eat less at subsequent meals .

Another study showed that including protein into a glass of water decreased hunger compared to water alone .

Depending on the source of protein, there does appear to be minor differences in the exact amount of satiety that protein provides, however these differences are minor and dont really make a meaningful impact for most people .

Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal level of daily protein intake in ones diet with regard to stay full. However, roughly 1.8 – 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram daily appears to provide substantial benefit on satiety .

Can Protein Help You Lose Weight

Including protein as part of a balanced diet has been proven to assist with weight loss.

Of the three macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. Studies have shown that it provides a feeling of fullness for

meta-analyses of studies showed increased weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass following high protein, calorie-restriction diets versus low protein, calorie restriction diets. Participants in these studies also had lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and reduced waist circumference overall when on the high protein diet.

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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Pregnant Women

The protein RDA for pregnant women is 1.1 g/kg. This value was estimated by adding three values:

  • The RDA for a healthy adult

  • The amount of additional body protein a pregnant woman accumulates

  • The amount of protein used by the developing fetus

However, as we saw previously with non-pregnant healthy adults, the RDA may not be sufficient, let alone optimal. Theres some IAAO evidence that the RDA for pregnant women should be about 1.66 g/kg during early gestation and 1.77 g/kg during late gestation . Moreover, a meta-analysis of 16 intervention studies reported that protein supplementation during pregnancy led to reduced risks for the baby:

  • 34% lower risk of low gestational weight

  • 32% lower risk of low birth weight

  • 38% lower risk of stillbirth

This effect was more pronounced in undernourished women than in adequately nourished women. Importantly, these values were determined from sedentary women carrying one child, meaning that pregnant women who engage in regular physical activity or are supporting the growth of more than one child may need even higher amounts.

Also, keep in mind that we can only tell you what the studies reported we cant possibly know about your health and your pregnancy specifically. Please be sure to consult with your obstetrician/gynecologist before making any changes.

Optimal daily protein intake for pregnant women

Body weight

Protein Is Hard To Store As Body Fat

Protein Needs For Older Adults

During periods of weight loss, there are often times where more energy is consumed than expended. As such, minimizing how much of that excess energy is stored as fat is important.

The body processes the three different macronutrients in very different ways.

Leaving out a lot of jargon and mumbo jumbo, in order for protein to be stored as fat, it goes through a much different biochemical process than either carbohydrates or protein.

This process makes it much harder for protein to store as body fat.

One study found that protein is stored as body fat with roughly 66% efficiency, while carbohydrates store with 80% efficiency and fats store at 96% efficiency .

During weight loss, overeating protein results in much less stored body fat than overeating on carbohydrates or fat. If you are looking for ways to lose weight fast, consuming protein is a great option!

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Protein For Overall Health

Protein is important for overall health in older adults. Every cell in our bodies contain protein its not just in our muscles. Protein is a building block in our skin, hair, blood, bones, etc. Protein is important for overall health.

Not getting enough protein can lead to malnutritionwhich can increase risk of falls, hospitalizations, disability, and early death. In a nutshell- protein is important. We need to make sure older adults get enough.

Best Types Of Protein

As mentioned earlier, protein is made up of amino acids, some of which are considered essential because our bodies cannot make them and must be obtained from food. However, that doesnt mean that all of our protein choices must come from foods that have all of the essential amino acids. Instead, be aware of what foods contain protein and choose a variety of them each day.

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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.

Are You Getting Too Much Protein

How Much Protein Do Older Adults Need?

Judging by all the protein bars, shakes and powders out there, you get the impression you need more protein. There are claims it curbs appetite, helps with weight loss and builds muscle. But whats the real story?

Contrary to all the hype that everyone needs more protein, most Americans get twice as much as they need. This is especially true for males 14-70 years of age, who the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise to decrease meat, poultry and egg consumption. Even athletes are often getting more protein than they need, without supplements, because their calorie requirements are higher, and with more food, comes more protein.

True or False: Big steak = bigger muscles

False. Although adequate protein throughout the day is necessary, extra strength training is what leads to muscle growth, not extra protein intake. You cant build muscle without the exercise to go with it.

The body cant store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat. Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body.

Extra protein intake can also lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease, because many high-protein foods you eat are high in total fat and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can be taxing on the kidneys, poses an additional risk to individuals pre-disposed to kidney disease.

How much protein do I need?

Excessive protein intake would be more than 2 g per kg of body weight each day.

Where does protein come from?

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How Did We Calculate Your Protein Intake

Bodybuilding.com’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

Eating More May Help Older People Prevent Muscle Loss

Beans and legumes, including all types of dried beans, split peas and lentils, are considered good sources of protein.

Protein helps to keep our muscles strong, which is important for maintaining the balance and mobility needed to continue to live independently as we age. Yet, unlike with fruits and veggies, we may not focus on getting enough of this important nutrient. And recommendations on exactly how much protein older adults need vary.

The current recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight a day for adults over 18, or about 2.3 ounces for a 180-pound adult. But research is showing that higher levels may be needed for adults age 65-plus.

In our older years, we are at 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 older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger people. A 2016 study from researchers at the departments of Food Science and Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas found that this lack of responsiveness can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption. The study says that protein levels in the range of 30 to 35 percent of total caloric intake may prove beneficial, although the researchers acknowledge that level could be difficult to reach for many people.

The Cleveland Clinic polled six dietitians on their top four sources of protein, and the winners were:

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Why Protein Requirements Change As You Age

Thereâs some evidence that older adults are not as responsive to protein as they age, meaning they need more of it to function optimally compared to younger adults. And the need increases further if you are a woman thanks to menopause.

âWhile technically increased recommendations by protein researchers consider those age 65 and older, menopause is a key time in a women’s life where due to hormonal shifts, body composition can change drastically in a short period of time,â says Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. These changes include increased body fat and , the latter of which can impact longevity. Considering that the average age of menopause is 51, women might want to start upping their protein intake sooner than 65.

âThe decline in muscle mass and function, known as sarcopenia, is due to a variety of factors,â says Jones, including decreased activity levels, poor nutrition, chronic disease, and neurological decline. For older women, though, one of the biggest drivers is menopause-related hormonal changes. During perimenopause and menopause itself, declining fertility causes estrogen levels start to plummet, which has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the body. Research shows that the loss in estrogen, which is important in maintaining muscle and bone mass, can contribute to sarcopenia.

Speaking of protein, these are the best vegetarian and vegan sources of protein that an RD loves:

How To Calculate Protein Intake

How Much Protein You Need Per Day to Lose Weight

Using an online calculator, such as the one provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may help people establish protein requirements.

Alternatively, the following calculation can provide the proper target for protein consumption in either grams or calories.

  • First, its important to know how many calories a person is likely to consume per day. An example is 2,300 calories.
  • A person should choose the percentage of the diet that will be protein. In this example, it will be 20%.
  • Multiply the total calories by the percentage of protein to get the number of calories from protein. 2300 x .20 = 460.
  • Divide the calories from protein by 4 to get the total grams of protein. 460 / 4 = 115.

Using this example, a person consuming 2,300 calories per day, aiming for 20% of their calories to come from protein, will need to consume 115 g of protein per day.

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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.

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