How Much Protein Does The Average Person Need

Eating More May Help Older People Prevent Muscle Loss

How much protein do I need?

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:

How Much Protein A Day For An Active Male

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Active men need more protein than sedentary men to help maximize athletic performance and improve muscle-to-fat ratio. The amount of protein an active man needs each day is based on his activity level and body weight. The Institute of Medicine recommends that all men, regardless of activity level, consume at least 56 grams of protein every day.

Protein Bars Are Really Just Candy Bars With A Bit Of Extra Protein

Indeed, research on the muscle-building power of protein supplements is varied. A 2014 analysis of 36 papers found that protein supplements have no impact on lean mass and muscle strength during the first few weeks of resistance training in untrained individuals.

Over time and if the training becomes harder, supplements can promote muscle growth. However, the paper also concludes that these changes have not been proven over the long term. A 2012 review paper further says that protein increases physical performance, training recovery and lean body mass but for the benefit to be optimal, it should be in combination with a fast-acting carbohydrate.

But even if athletes and gym goers may benefit from a post-workout protein boost, that doesnt mean they should reach for the supplements and smoothies. Most people get more than their daily recommended allowance from food, says Kevin Tipton, a sport professor of the University of Stirling. Theres no need for anyone to have supplements. Theyre a convenient way to get protein, but theres nothing in supplements you cant get in food. Protein bars are really just candy bars with a bit of extra protein.

The global protein supplements market was valued at $12.4bn in 2016

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Consuming More Protein Than Need Is Wasteful In Terms Of Money And Its Paid Down The Toilet

There are, though, healthy proteins which are not meat, such as mycoprotein, which is derived from fungi. Quorn, for example, contains this type of protein, and is high in fibre too.

Researchers now are looking into how this unique composition can affect satiety and insulin levels, which are linked to type two diabetes. One team compared a mycoprotein diet to a chicken diet and found that the insulin levels in those who ate quorn achieved the same sugar control, but needed less insulin to be produced by the pancreas.

The risk of consuming too much protein is small, but the bigger risk might just be falling for overpriced products offering us more protein than we need. Some products labelled as high protein arent, and theyre quite expensive. Anyway, consuming more protein than need is wasteful in terms of money, and its paid down the toilet, says Johnstone.

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How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day

Protein 101: How much protein a day do you really need ...

Protein is essential to good health. The very origin of the word from the Greek protos, meaning “first” reflects proteins top-shelf status in human nutrition. You need it to put meat on your bones and to make hair, blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and more. Its common for athletes and bodybuilders to wolf down extra protein to bulk up. But the message the rest of us often get is that our daily protein intake is too high.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, its the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.

To determine your daily protein intake, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator. For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds woman and who is sedentary , that translates into 53 grams of protein a day.

But use of the RDA to determine how much protein you need daily has actually caused a lot of confusion. “Theres a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,” says Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “People in general think we all eat too much protein.”

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Could You Die From Eating Too Much Protein

7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Too Much Protein. Doctors ultimately discovered that the combination of overdosing on protein and bodybuilding supplements alongside a diagnosis of rare genetic disorder urea cycle disorder , which prevented the bodybuilders body from breaking down the excess protein, was the cause of death.

Protein Needs For Athletes

Its important to note that this RDA is for an average adult who is sedentary to mildly active, which means theyre engaging in no more than 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking or jogging, a day.

If youre much more active, you probably need a bit more protein, somewhere between 1.1 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on your specific composition. Thats because proteins main job is to build, maintain, and restore all of these muscles, organs, and tissues, some of which are constantly being broken down and need replenishing with serious exercise.

Youre also burning more calories aka energy so you need more calories to replenish that energy.

There are nuances to protein, of course, but lets keep it simple for most of us this is all you need to know.

As a food editor who is also a Registered Dietitian, I know the confusion of our fractured landscape of diet information. But if you strip away the study-of-the-day and fad diets, there is solid information we can all learn about basic nutritional building blocks.

Were offering these unsexy yet useful tools to empower cooks to make decisions that suit them with solid, science-driven resources.

This especially applies to protein, the first topic in our new Nutrition 101 series. We want to give you the tools for confident eating and a more wholesome diet something we can all get behind.

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Who The Guidelines Do Work For

The Food and Nutrition Board, a committee of scientists that releases nutritional intake reports, recommends that individuals eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need about 54 grams. This value is supposed to reflect what 97 to 98 percent of all healthy individuals need to maintain their body weight.

However, researchers have proposed different protein requirements for specific groups of people. For example, one consortium of scientists concluded that those over 65 need slightly more protein like 1 to 1.2 grams per kilogram in part because an aging metabolism has a harder time converting food into new proteins for the body. And though it depends on the person, protein needs might increase for pregnant individuals, too. Some physicians recommend that expecting mothers also eat about 1.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Other life changes might also require you to scale back the eggs and chicken, Kapur says. A lot of time spent at home during quarantine, for example, might mean youre not as active as before.

Kapur asks about this detail when talking with clients. Is most of someones protein coming from sandwich meats or breakfast sausage? If so, its time to readjust. Even if someone switches to leaner meats, we like to encourage plant-based sources, she says. You don’t need to give up meat for that, but plants have other nutrients and make a more wholesome diet pattern over time.

Based On Lean Body Mass


An additional method of figuring out how much protein you need takes into account activity level and lean body mass. Some experts feel that this is a more accurate technique since lean body mass requires more protein for maintenance than fatty tissue.

Lean body mass is the amount of bodyweight that is not fat. It includes bone, water, muscle, organs, and other tissues. There are different ways to determine your lean body mass, but the easiest is to subtract your body fat from your total body mass.

First, you’ll need to determine your body fat percent. There are different ways to get the number, including body fat testing with skin calipers, BIA scales, or DEXA scans. You can also estimate body fat with this calculator.

Next, calculate your total body fat in pounds. Multiply your body weight by the body fat percentage. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and your fat percentage is 30, then 45 of those pounds would be fat .

Lastly, calculate lean body mass.Subtract your body fat weight from your total body weight. Using the same example, the lean body mass would be 105 .

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The Protein Myth: Why You Need Less Protein Than You Think

From diet books to news headlines, protein is in, while carbohydrates and fats are out. Without this very important nutrient, we wouldn’t be able to build, maintain and repair the body’s tissues. Of the 20 amino acids that are used to make protein, nine cannot be produced by the body alone. These nine essential amino acids can only be obtained from the foods we eat. But are we eating too much?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveyfound that the average American male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average female eats about 70 grams. That’s almost twice the daily recommended intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board. For most healthy individuals, it’s recommended that 10-15 percent of our daily calories come from protein . This may sound like a lot, but it’s easier to meet those needs than you think. Consider this: One cup of milk , a 3-ounce piece of meat , 1 cup of dry beans and an 8-ounce container of yogurt provide 56 grams of protein, according to the CDC. That didn’t take much.

To calculate individual protein needs, it’s important to factor in body weight, physical activity level and health status. The average person who leads a relatively sedentary lifestyle needs about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That means if you are healthy, weigh 140 pounds, and occasionally ride your bike to work, you only need about 50 grams of protein per day.

For more by Jessica Jones, MS, RD, .

For more on diet and nutrition, .

How Much Protein Do You Need

Protein is essential for life it’s a building block of every human cell and is involved in the vital biochemical functions of the human body. It’s particularly important in growth, development, and tissue repair. Protein is one of the three major “macronutrients” .

So, consuming enough protein is required to stave off malnutrition it may also be important to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age. And, in recent years, some have advocated a higher protein diet to rev up metabolism to make it easier to lose excess weight, though success in this regard is highly variable.

  • The ideal amount of protein you should consume each day is a bit uncertain. Commonly quoted recommendations are 56 grams/day for men, 46 grams/day for women. You could get 46 grams/day of protein in 1 serving of low-fat greek yogurt, a 4 oz. serving of lean chicken breast and a bowl of cereal with skim milk.
  • A weight-based recommended daily allowance of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a 140-pound person, that comes to 51 grams of protein each day. . Active people especially those who are trying to build muscle mass may need more.
  • Based on percent of calories for an active adult, about 10% of calories should come from protein
  • To pay more attention to the type of protein in your diet rather than the amount for example, moderating consumption of red meat and increasing healthier protein sources, such as salmon, yogurt or beans.

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How Much Protein Should I Eat To Build Muscle

If youre trying to build muscle, youre going to want to eat enough protein to induce muscle repair and growth.

Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so youll need plenty if youre looking to build a muscular physique!

How much?

If youre of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 0.641.09 g/lb .

There is some evidence that a higher range might be beneficial. Not so much in gaining more muscle, but to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase.

As we mention in our guide, 12 Tips to Gain Weight Quickly, you might put on a little fat when eating in a caloric surplus to grow muscle.

More protein may counteract this a little.

If youre an experienced lifter on a bulk, intakes up to 1.50 g/lb may help you minimize fat gain.

Now of course, if you want to grow muscle, you cant just eat proteinyou also need to strength train!

Luckily, were experts on that.

Here are some resources to begin your training:

  • 5 Best Strength Training Workout Routines For Beginners. If you dont know where to start your strength training journey, start here. This guide will walk you through bodyweight exercises onto becoming a full gym warrior .
  • The Beginner Bodyweight Workout. If youre looking for an exercise routine that can be done ANYWHERE, look no further. Our beginner routine has jumpstarted many Rebels in their strength training. Youd be surprised how much muscle you can build with your own weight, a milk jug, and a sturdy table.
  • How Much Protein Per Day To Lose Weight

    How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day? Try These Methods ...

    If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight . Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram if aiming for weight loss.

    My practical recommendation to people is that if you carry a BMI of over 30 or a body fat percentage above 25-30% it makes more sense to base your protein recommendations off of your goal weight.

    For the correct amount of protein to gain muscle, check this resource out.

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    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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