How Much Protein Is Good For You

Dont Go Overboard With Protein

How Much Protein is Really Good For You?

Whey protein has its place if youre an athlete building muscle or trying to fill some nutritional gaps. But most people already get enough protein and dont need supplements.

Your body can only use 20 to 40 grams of protein at a time, Smith says. Even if youre trying to bulk up, taking amounts higher than this isnt helpful. Most people dont need whey protein to meet their protein requirements if theyre eating a healthy diet.

As with any supplement, its best to discuss with your physician before you start taking protein supplements. They can interfere with some medications or may actually be harmful for people with certain conditions.

How Much Protein Do You Need After A Workout

Protein has a few key benefits that make it crucial to eat after a workout. For one thing, it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles and are necessary for energy and proper bodily function, Michalczyk says.

Protein also helps to keep us fuller for longer, so it can help stave off that ravenous feeling that we sometimes can get after a tough workout, she adds. This is good when you need that snack to hold you over to your next meal.

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However, not all proteins are created equal. Some foods are complete sources of protein and some are incomplete, meaning they don’t contain all of the amino acids your body needs for all of these processes, Michalczyk says. So, if you don’t eat traditional complete proteinsaka meat, dairy, fish, and eggsand tend to opt for more plant-based foods, youll need to combine where you can to get in that requirement.

You can definitely mix both plant-based and animal protein after a workout, just make sure it is a complete source of protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs, Michalczyk says. The famous rice and beans example shows how plant-based foods can be combined to make a complete protein that gives you all of the amino acids you need, she says. There are also a few plant-based items that do offer complete proteins, such as soy , quinoa, and spirulina.

Positive Sources Of Protein

As well as protein supplements, which are typically low in calories and fat with high-quality protein, there is a range of healthy options that are high in protein.

Fish, such as tuna and salmon, are excellent sources of protein. As a lean protein option, you will benefit from their omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as B-12 and D. A six-ounce portion of salmon contains some 34 grams of proteins and just 18 grams of fat.

Chicken and turkey are beloved by gym-goers for their range of benefits. They are high in protein, low in fat, and can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease compared to eating red meat .

Legumes, such as lentils, peas, and beans, are likewise high in protein while having little fat. Nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, and cashews, are another healthy option that is high in protein.

Other positive sources of protein you can consider adding to your diet include lower-fat dairy products, eggs, and grain-based products.

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Getting Too Little Protein

Protein deficiency means not getting enough protein in your diet. Protein deficiency is rare in Australia, as the Australian diet generally includes far more protein than we actually need. However, protein deficiency may occur in people with special requirements, such as older people and people following strict vegetarian or vegan diets.

Symptoms of protein deficiency include:

  • wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissue
  • oedema
  • anaemia
  • slow growth .

Can Protein Intake Lower Hunger Levels


Like our point on food cravings above, protein consumption naturally reduces the appetite due to protein being the most filling macronutrient.

One study found that by increasing the percentage of calories you consume from protein-rich foods, you can reduce your appetite and ultimately eat less. In this study, the overweight women ate some 441 fewer calories by increasing their protein intake .

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How Much Protein Per Day To Lose Weight

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.

How Much Protein Your Body Needs

Okay, so how much protein are we talking about here? The amount of protein your body actually requires for the purpose of tissue growth and repair is determined by factors like sex, age, height, weight, health, activity level, and overall calorie need, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. So its going to vary a lot from person to person.

A good starting point for roughly estimating minimum protein needs is the recommended daily allowance for protein, or the average minimum daily intake thats sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements for most healthy individuals . The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or about 0.36 grams per pound. For instance, the average 200-pound person needs at least 72 grams of protein per day to meet the RDA.

People with a higher activity level will likely need more. Individuals who work out and want to maintain and/or build muscle mass through diet and exercise definitely benefit from getting more protein than the RDA, Adam M. Gonzalez, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., assistant professor in the Department of Health Professions at Hofstra University, has told SELF.

Based on those recommendations, for instance, a 200-pound person would want to get between 100 and 180 grams of protein a day. Generally, the more active you arethe more frequent, strenuous, and long your workouts arethe higher in that range youll be, Dr. Gonzalez says.

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Are You Getting Enough Protein

So the current daily reference intake of protein is 50g, while the recommended dietary allowance suggests that you should eat a modest 0.8g of protein daily per kg of bodyweight. If you’re not already aware, let us be the first to tell you: that’s not enough to really pack on muscle.

Elite athletes eat around 2g per kg every day, says Dr Karen Reid, a sports science nutritionist who’s worked with the Wales rugby team, and the founder of Performance Food. She recommends getting near that level for the first 12 weeks of a new workout programme. Thats when youre sore, when youre breaking down muscle fibres and creating new structures. And damage plus fuel equals growth. After 12 weeks, she recommends scaling back to between 1.2g and 1.6g per kilo.

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How Much Protein Do We Really Need?

High-protein diets like the Atkins and Keto diets which allow you indulge in your favorite proteins as long as you significantly cut back on carbs have become a popular alternative to traditional dieting. Since protein is a major building block for life it seems logical to have a diet rich in it. But is it possible to have too much protein? Are certain diseases caused by consuming excess protein? Here are some answers.

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Are You Getting Too Much Protein

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?

What Happens In Your Body When You Eat Protein

Its not like you eat a piece of chicken and that protein goes directly to your biceps. Dietary protein gets broken down and reassembled into the various kinds of proteins that exist in the body. No matter what kind of protein youre eatingplant or animal, complete or incompleteyour bodys first objective is to break it back down into all the different amino acid units it was assembled from, Dr. Tewksbury explains, through the digestive process.

Then those little singular amino acids get reconfigured into whatever kind of protein your body needs. For instance, some proteins in the body make up antibodies that help the immune system fight bacteria and viruses. Others help with DNA synthesis, chemical reactions, or transporting other molecules, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences explains.

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Protein Grams Per Day

As an alternative to the percentage approach, you can target a specific number of protein grams per day. One simple 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. Simply 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.

How Much Protein Should I Eat

How Much Protein is Really Good For You?

For most people a daily dose of around 0.8-1g of protein per 1kg of body weight is recommended. For weightlifters and strength athletes 1.4 2g of protein per kg of body weight is recommended per day, with a recommendation of 1.2-1.6g of protein per kg of body weight per day for endurance athletes. After exercise, protein is particularly important since muscles need it to recover and grow. A portion of protein is recommended within 30 minutes of exercise, when your muscles are particularly receptive to protein synthesis.

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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

Protein Requirements For People Over 70

If you’re over 70 and typically have just toast and jam for breakfast, you might want to add protein to your meal. While protein at breakfast is a good idea at any age, research suggests that eating the right amount daily is even more important for maintaining optimal health when you’re over 70.

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What About Protein Powders

Although our bias is that you should get most of your protein from whole foods, protein powders can still be part of a healthy, high-protein diet.

You may not need protein powders if you prioritize the food on our list of best high-protein foods. But if you fall short of your daily targets, protein powders are an easy and convenient way to get more protein.

Plus, protein powders are a great way to create high-protein versions of your favorite desserts, low-carb bread, or smoothies.

If you are going to use protein powders, make sure they have few additives, such as sweeteners, maltodextrin, seed oils, or fillers.

Animal and plant protein powders are both good options, and you can choose which works best for your taste, preferences, and carbohydrate goals.


  • Foods with the highest protein percentage are low in carbs and fat, like lean meat and seafood.
  • To increase the protein in your diet, look for easy substitutions snack on lupini beans or venison jerky, add two egg whites to your two whole eggs in the morning, or add more meat, seafood, dairy, or legumes to your meals.
  • Mix protein foods with high-fiber vegetables and dont overdo fat to create meals with a protein percentage above 35%.
  • If you struggle to meet your protein goals with whole foods, consider protein powders.
  • We Need To Maintain Our Muscle Mass As We Age Because We Become Less Active And Frail

    Protein! Good Sources and How Much You Need In a Day 🙂

    Most experts agree with Tipton that protein is best consumed in food instead of supplements. But there are some exceptions, such as athletes who find it difficult to hit their daily protein targets, points out Graeme Close, professor of human physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. I believe most need more than the recommended daily allowance, and theres good evidence to support this, he says. In this case, he says, a shake can be useful.

    Another demographic who can benefit from extra protein? The elderly. Thats because as we age, we need more protein to retain muscle mass. But we also tend to eat less protein as we get older because our taste-buds begin to prefer sweet over savoury.

    Emma Stevenson, professor of sport and exercise science at Newcastle University, is working with food companies to get more protein into snacks that the elderly are known to regularly buy, such as biscuits. We need to maintain our muscle mass as we age, because we become less active and frail, she says.

    Close says the elderly should increase protein intake to around 1.2g per kg body weight.

    Most people get more than their daily recommended allowance of protein from their diet

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    Very High Protein Diets Are Dangerous

    Some fad diets promote very high protein intakes of between 200 and 400g per day. This is more than five times the amount recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The protein recommendations in the Guidelines provide enough protein to build and repair muscles, even for body builders and athletes. A very high-protein diet can strain the kidneys and liver. It can also prompt excessive loss of the mineral calcium, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis.

    Protein And Your Health

    Protein is one of three essential macronutrients the other two are fat and carbohydrate. These are needed in large amounts to maintain health and vital functions.

    The body uses protein to build, repair, and maintain most of your body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are also necessary for immune system function and help some additional physiological processes as well.

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    Protein Insufficiency May Cause The Following Symptoms:

    The growth that has been delayedMuscle mass is lost.Hair thinningEdema is a kind of swelling caused by an excess of fluid in the bodys tissues.Although Americans are unlikely to be protein deficient, people who follow particular kinds of diets should keep track of their protein consumption. Vegans and vegetarians, in particular, must ensure that they get enough amounts of the macronutrient. Because meat is such a rich source of protein, these people will have to get protein elsewhere if they dont consume it. Plant-based protein sources, such as beans, nuts , and tofu, make it easier for non-meat eaters to obtain their protein fix. Vegetarians may receive a lot of protein from dairy foods.

    Protein Intake And Kidney Damage

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    The kidneys are remarkable organs that filter waste compounds, excess nutrients and liquids out of the bloodstream, producing urine.

    Some say that your kidneys need to work hard to clear the metabolites of protein from your body, leading to increased strain on the kidneys.

    Adding some more protein to your diet may increase their workload a little, but this increase is quite insignificant compared to the immense amount of work your kidneys already do.

    About 20% of the blood your heart pumps through your body goes to the kidneys. In an adult, the kidneys may filter around 48 gallons of blood every single day.

    High protein intake may cause harm in people with diagnosed kidney disease, but the same doesnt apply to people with healthy kidneys (

    18 ).

    In conclusion, there is no evidence that a high protein intake harms kidney function in people who dont have kidney disease.

    On the contrary, it has plenty of health benefits and may even help you lose weight .


    A high protein intake has been shown to accelerate kidney damage in people who have kidney disease. However, higher protein diets dont adversely affect kidney function in healthy people.

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