Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Healthy Sedentary Adults
For adults, the US Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg. However, a more appropriate statistical analysis of the data used to establish the RDA suggests this number should be higher: 1.0 g/kg.
Note that, contrary to popular belief, the RDA doesnt represent an ideal intake. Instead, it represents the minimum intake needed to prevent malnutrition. Unfortunately, the RDA for protein was determined from nitrogen balance studies, which require that people eat experimental diets for weeks before measurements are taken. This provides ample time for the body to adapt to low protein intakes by down-regulating processes that are not necessary for survival but are necessary for optimal health, such as protein turnover and immune function.
An alternative method for determining protein requirements, called the Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation technique, overcomes many of the shortcomings of nitrogen balance studies. Notably, it allows for the assessment of protein requirements within 24 hours, thereby not leaving the body enough time to adapt. Studies using the IAAO method have suggested that about 1.2 g/kg is a more appropriate RDA for healthy young men, older men, and older women.
Further evidence that the current RDA for protein is not sufficient comes from a randomized controlled trial that confined healthy, sedentary adults to a metabolic ward for eight weeks. The participants were randomized into three groups:
Have A Protein Shake For Breakfast
Many smoothies contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, or juice, but very little protein.
However, a shake or smoothie can be a great breakfast option, especially if you choose nutritious ingredients.
Whey protein powder has been studied the most and seems to have an edge over the others when it comes to helping you feel full (
Heres a basic whey shake recipe:
Whey Protein Shake
- 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of whey powder
- 1 cup of fresh berries
- stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired
- 1/2 cup of crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Having a protein shake for breakfast helps you start the day off right. Whey may be the best type to use.
Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Fat Loss
First, let it be clear that, though it is possible to lose fat on a eucaloric diet by shifting your macronutrient ratios toward more protein, if you want to keep losing weight youll need to switch to a hypocaloric diet .
High protein intakes help preserve lean mass in dieters, especially lean dieters. To optimize body composition, dieting athletes should consume 1.62.4 g/kg, skewing toward the higher end of this range as they become leaner or if they increase their caloric deficit .
Later studies have argued that, to minimize lean-mass loss, dieting lean resistance-trained athletes should consume 2.33.1 g/kg . This latter recommendation has been upheld by the International Society of Sports Nutrition and by a review article on bodybuilding contest preparation.
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What Should You Do
Research on how much protein is the optimal amount to eat for good health is ongoing, and is far from settled. The value of high-protein diets for weight loss or cardiovascular health, for example, remains controversial.
Before you start ramping up your daily protein intake, there are a few important things to consider. For one, dont read “get more protein” as “eat more meat.” Beef, poultry, and pork can certainly provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods including whole grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, and vegetables. The table below provides some healthier sources of protein.
Its also important to consider the protein “package” the fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that invariably come along with protein. Aim for protein sources low in saturated fat and processed carbohydrates and rich in many nutrients.
One more thing: If you increase protein, dietary arithmetic demands that you eat less of other things to keep your daily calorie intake steady. The switches you make can affect your nutrition, for better or for worse. For example, eating more protein instead of low-quality refined carbohydrates, like white bread and sweets, is a healthy choice though how healthy the choice is also depends on the total protein package.
Balancing Protein With Fat And Carbs
You may also want to consider counting your protein by balancing macros. Measuring protein as a percentage of your calorie intake is worthwhile. Eating the right amount of protein is about more than just protein. Macronutrients dont exist separately they interact with each other in the body. Getting the right balance is important for health and for hitting fitness and weight loss goals.
One way to determine the right balance of macronutrients is to look at body type. The percentages given here refer to the ratio of calories coming from a particular macronutrient:
- Ectomorph. This body type is naturally thin because of a relatively high metabolic rate. Ectomorphs should aim for a ratio of 25 percent protein, 55 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent fat.
- Endomorph. Endomorph body type is naturally heavier with a slower metabolism. These clients should eat a ratio closer to 35 percent protein, 25 percent carbohydrates, and 40 percent fat.
- Mesomorph. A mesomorph has an athletic body and builds muscle fairly easily. A ratio of 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat is ideal.
Keep in mind that not everyone fits neatly into one body type category. But this is a good place to start for your client who wants to consider all her macros. She can start with the guidelines for the body type she is closest to and adjust as needed for weight loss or maintenance or for muscle building.
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Should I Use Protein Powder Daily
Given that protein intake over the long term is what plays a larger role in how your body adapts to exercise9, it makes sense to include protein powder as part of a healthy, daily diet. The daily recommended amount of protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or .36 grams per pound, equally approximately 46 grams for an average sedentary woman and 56 grams for the average man10. The two scoop serving of Clean Lean Protein provides 18-21 grams, helping you to get a jump start on your daily protein requirements.
Find Out How Much Protein You Need
Most adults over 19 years of age need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can use the following equations to calculate your protein needs.
Note: 1 kg = 2.2 lbs
An adult who weighs 80 kg needs about 64 g of protein each day, while an adult who weighs 65 kg needs about 52 g of protein each day.
The following groups have different protein needs than what is recommended above:
- children and youth
- some athletes
- people with certain health conditions
Talk to a registered dietitian to help determine the amount of protein thats right for you.
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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.
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!
Replace Cereal With Eggs
Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels, and cereals.
Although oatmeal contains more protein than most cereals, it still only provides about 5 grams in a typical 1-cup serving .
On the other hand, 3 large eggs provide 19 grams of high quality protein, along with important nutrients like selenium and choline .
Whats more, several studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast reduces appetite and keeps you full for several hours, so you end up eating fewer calories later in the day .
According to one older study, eating whole eggs can also modify the size and shape of your LDL cholesterol particles in a way that may even decrease your heart disease risk .
Replacing cereal with eggs boosts protein consumption, makes you feel more full, and helps you eat fewer calories.
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Vegetarian Choices In The Protein Foods Group
Vegetarians get enough protein from this group as long as the variety and amounts of foods selected are adequate. Protein sources from the Protein Foods Group for vegetarians include eggs , beans, peas, and lentils, nuts and seeds , and soy products . For more information on beans, peas, and lentils, see Beans, Peas, and Lentils are Unique Foods.
Women Should Eat 46 Grams Of Protein Per Day
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies declares that the daily recommended protein intake for an adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Or, in terms of pounds, it is 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of weight. In the United States, the daily recommended intake for women is 46 grams.
But this figure fluctuates given various factors. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture points out, the amount of protein each individual needs depends on their age, sex, and level of physical activity. These additional factors are vitally important to determining the best daily balance of proteins that you should be consuming. Body size, physical activity level, age, total calorie intake, and your overall health are all also important. Youll need additional protein if you fit into these categories:
- Older than age 35
- Large bones or larger in mass
Symptoms Of Protein Deficiency And Health Risks Of Not Getting Enough
Protein deficiency occurs when you dont eat enough protein. The most severe cases result in a form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor. Usually, this affects people in very poor countries that dont have enough food to sufficiently feed the people. It rarely occurs in the United States, and when it does, its usually linked to some kind of abuse.
Symptoms of protein deficiency include:
- Delayed growth
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.
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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.
What Is The Daily Recommended Intake Of Carbohydrates
What is the recommended daily intake of protein fat and carbohydrates?
Adults should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from fat, and 10 to 35 percent from protein. Acceptable ranges for children are similar to those for adults, except that infants and younger children need a slightly higher proportion of fat .
what is my Recommended Daily Intake?
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What Foods Are In The Protein Foods Group
All foods made from seafood meat, poultry, and eggs beans, peas, and lentils and nuts, seeds, and soy products are part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans, peas, and lentils are also part of the Vegetable Group. For more information on beans, peas, and lentils see Beans, Peas, and Lentils are Unique Foods.
Select a wide variety of protein foods to get more of the nutrients your body needs and for health benefits. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat, like 93% lean ground beef, pork loin, and skinless chicken breasts. Choose seafood options that are higher in beneficial fatty acids and lower in methylmercury, such as salmon, anchovies, and trout. The advice to consume lean or low-fat meat and poultry and a variety of seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans, peas, and lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
How Much Grain Does The Average American Eat
During this period, Americans actually consumed 6.7 ounces of total grains per day, or 106 percent of the recommendation . However, they overconsumed refined grains , averaging 77 percent over the recommended amount of 3.1 ounces, or half of total grains.
How much protein does the average American eat?
Most American adults eat about 100 grams of protein per day, or roughly twice the recommended amount. Even on a vegan diet people can easily get 60 to 80 grams of protein throughout the day from foods like beans, legumes, nuts, broccoli and whole grains.
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What Is True About The Protein Needs Of Seniors
Why is protein important for elderly?
During these stressful periods, aging bodies process protein less efficiently and need more of it to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health, and other essential physiological functions. Even healthy seniors need more protein than when they were younger to help preserve muscle mass, experts suggest.
Protein Preserves Lean Body Mass
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.
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How To Calculate Your Recommended Protein Intake
The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. To maintain nutritional balance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines recommends protein make up about a quarter of your plate.
To calculate the target number of grams of protein you should eat each day, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36. The result should get you within the recommendation to source 10 to 35 percent of your daily total calories from protein. Usually that means having some kind of dairy at each meal plus a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards thats 3 ounces or the equivalent amount of plant-based protein at lunch and dinner.
Keep in mind that these recommendations may change depending on age and health. The recommendation changes for athletes, too. People who exercise frequently or are training for a race need to increase their protein intake to between 1.1 and 1.7 g per kg of body weight daily. Anything over 2 g per kg of weight is considered excessive.