What Is The Average Amount Of Protein Per Day

Protein Preserves Lean Body Mass

Right Amount of Protein – With Dr. Dan and Lee Labrada

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.

How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day

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.”

Get The Right Amount Of Calories

Your recommended daily intake of calories depends on three main factors: your activity level, age and sex.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides these estimated calorie needs: From 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day for men. The ranges account for variations in age and physical activity level. Our basal metabolic rate tends to lower as we age, according to the American Council on Exercise, so we generally need fewer calories the older we get. And, of course, the more calories we burn via exercise, the more we need to take in to maintain our current weight.

Carbohydrates come from starches, sugar and fiber. Your carbohydrate RDI is 45 to 65 percent of your total calories. The exact number depends on your activity level, because your body uses carbs as fuel.

Healthy sources of carbs include whole fruit, whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, beans and legumes. The fiber found in most of these healthy sources of carbohydrates helps improve bowel health, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For adults on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 900 to 1,300 of those calories should come from carbohydrates, which should include 28 to 30 grams of fiber, according to the Dietary Guidelines.

You May Like: How Much Protein In Keto Diet

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.

How To Determine Your Exact Protein Needs

How Much Protein A Day to Build Muscle?

If youre up for a little math, you can get a lot more specific in terms of your personal needs. The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA, which is determined by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, which is a part of the National Academy of Sciences, has determined that adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

To calculate this, youd divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 , then multiply it by 0.8. Math!

Start with

Your body weight

divide by

Ta-da! Your recommended grams of protein per day

Heres an example:

You May Like: What Are The Symptoms Of Protein Deficiency

Protein Doesn’t Have To Be Meat

It’s worth noting that increasing your protein consumption doesn’t necessarily mean meat-centric meals. If you’re a vegetarian, or simply find you don’t care to eat a lot of meat, you still have plenty of options. If you’re okay with animal products, then eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and low-fat milk are all good sources of protein. So are grains, legumes, tofu and quinoa, a popular “ancient grain.”

Even vegetables you wouldn’t think of as protein-rich can boost your intake to a surprising extent. For example a large baked potato contains almost 8 grams of protein, about the same as a cup of milk or a 3-ounce portion of tofu. A cup of boiled spinach or turnip greens contributes over 5 grams of protein to your daily total. Plant-derived proteins may be just as effective for avoiding muscle loss as animal proteins, so you’re not cheating yourself by going that route.

Writer Bio

Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer. A self-described “food-science geek,” he reads academic papers for entertainment. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. His food and nutrition articles have appeared on high-profile sites including Livestrong, Healthfully, Walgreens.com, LeafTV, GoBankingRates, Vitamix.com and many others.

How Much Protein Do I Need Daily

To put it simply, the recommended daily amount for the average adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram . This puts us around 46 grams a day for the average woman and 56 grams a day the average man. If youre highly active, recovering from an injury, or looking to build muscle, bump this number up to around 1.2-1.8 grams per kilogram .

Beyond fitness goals, its critical we consume at least the daily recommended amount of protein per day. This is because our bodies are constantly losing it. We lose protein every day as we shed skin cells and hair, eliminate bodily wastes, and break down muscle, Dennett mentions. We need to replace that protein. Our body is able to manufacture some amino acids on its own, but there are others that we have to get from food because we cant make them. For optimal intake, spread your protein throughout the dayyour body can only use so much at a time.

Also Check: Which Protein Shake Tastes The Best

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,

Low Carb Diets Help You Burn Fat

How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day || Delicious High-Protein Foods to Eat

Low carb diets greatly reduce your blood levels of insulin, a hormone that brings the glucose from carbs into the bodys cells.

One of the functions of insulin is to store fat. Many experts believe that the reason low carb diets work so well is that they reduce your levels of this hormone.

Another thing that insulin does is to tell the kidneys to retain sodium. This is the reason high carb diets can cause excess water retention.

When you cut carbs, you reduce insulin and your kidneys start shedding excess water .

Its common for people to lose a lot of water weight in the first few days on a low carb diet. Some dietitians suggest you might lose up to 510 pounds this way.

Weight loss will slow down after the first week, but your fat mass may continue to decrease if you maintain the diet.

One study compared low carb and low fat diets and used DEXA scanners, which are very accurate measures of body composition. The low carb dieters lost significant amounts of body fat and gained muscle at the same time .

Studies also show that low carb diets are particularly effective at reducing the fat in your abdominal cavity, also known as visceral fat or belly fat. This is the most dangerous fat and is strongly associated with many diseases .

If youre new to low carb eating, youll probably need to go through an adaptation phase where your body is getting used to burning fat instead of carbs.

Don’t Miss: How Do I Know How Much Protein To Eat

What Counts As A Low Carb Diet

Theres no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a low carb diet, and whats low for one person may not be low for the next.

An individuals optimal carb intake depends on their age, gender, body composition, activity levels, personal preference, food culture, and current metabolic health.

People who are physically active and have more muscle mass can tolerate a lot more carbs than people who are sedentary. This particularly applies to those who do a lot of high intensity exercise, like lifting weights or sprinting.

Metabolic health is also a very important factor. When people develop metabolic syndrome, obesity, or type 2 diabetes, their carb needs change.

People who fall into these categories are less able to tolerate a lot of of carbs.

Summary

The optimal carb intake varies between individuals, depending on activity levels, current metabolic health, and many other factors.

Guidelines For Special Populations

Many sources that suggest protein guidelines provide numbers for adult men and women. But there are certain populations that may need more or less protein to manage a medical condition or facilitate growth.

  • Pregnant and lactating people need more protein than people who are not pregnant .
  • Older adults need more protein than middle-aged adults .
  • People with liver or kidney disease need to decrease protein intake .

Consult a doctor or dietitian to determine your ideal daily protein goal.

Read Also: How Many Protein Need Per Day

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.

CALORIES | MACRONUTRIENTS | PROTEIN | ALL NUTRITION CALCULATORS

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!

How Much Protein After Exercise

How much protein do you need per day?

After exercising, when your muscles are more sensitive to the anabolic effect of protein, take a dose in the range of your desirable minimal protein intake per meal. If youve been exercising on an empty stomach, youll be in negative protein balance, so take this dose as soon as possible. Otherwise, try to take it within a couple of hours the exact size of your window of opportunity depends on how much protein youre still digesting.

Digging Deeper: After better than before?

Is it better to eat before or after exercising?

In a 2020 crossover trial we first summarized for Examine Members, 8 healthy young men were divided into three groups.

All three groups performed a full-body strength workout in the morning. One group ate a meal 1.5 hours before, another just after, and the last waited for lunchtime.

This happened three times, with three days in between. Each time, the men switched to a different group. Thus, at the end of the trial, they had all tried all three meal times.

Blood insulin and certain modified amino acids were measured as indicators of muscle breakdown. The results? Eating a mixed-nutrient meal immediately after resistance training, rather than 1.5 hours before or not until lunchtime, resulted in the greatest suppression of muscle protein breakdown.

Whether or not this correlates with improvements in muscle growth and recovery, however, is unclear.

Also Check: What Does Too Much Protein In Urine Mean

Age And Activity Affect Protein Needs

Now that you’ve hit age 50, you may need more protein. As we age, humans tend to lose muscle mass, and the amount of protein needed for daily maintenance is lower than the amount needed to preserve or increase muscle. That’s important even if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder, because losing muscle means you’ll become frail as you age, and be at greater risk for fractures due to osteoporosis.

A 2015 study in the “Journal of Nutritional Science” showed that upping your protein intake can help maintain your lean muscle mass. That’s consistent with a number of earlier studies, which caused the international PROT-AGE study group to recommend a higher level of 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or more than 1.2 grams if you exercise regularly.

Eating 100150 Grams Per Day

This is a moderate carb intake. It may work for people who are lean, active, and trying to stay healthy and maintain their weight.

Its possible to lose weight at this and any carb intake, but you may also need to be aware of calorie intake and portion sizes to lose weight.

Carbs you can eat include:

  • all vegetables
  • several pieces of fruit per day
  • moderate amounts of healthy starches, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and healthier grains, like rice and oats

Don’t Miss: What Is Protein Powder Made Of

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.

Popular Articles

Related Articles