How much protein do I need?

People should aim for an RDA of protein every day to help them build and repair muscle. A quality diet also has in general a better effect on your physical health in general. This article has a lot of great information on and what it is, where it comes from, and the basics of how much your body needs. It also includes some guidelines on calculating protein intake, which can help you build muscle and aid weight loss.

What is protein?

How much protein

Protein is one of three macronutrients that helps provide energy to the body. Dietitians recommend that people eat a variety of proteins, depending on their lifestyle and socioeconomic class. Carbohydrates and fats also provide energy, but in different ways. Proteins make up muscles, bones, and other tissues, as well as helping to produce energy and enzymes and hormones. The body uses 11 different amino acids to build. Non-essential amino acids are made by the body while the nine essential amino acids must be consumed with food. ‘Complete’ proteins are a good source of essential amino acids.

Where does protein come from?

Protein comes from animal and plant sources. Animal sources, including chicken, beef, fish, or dairy products, contain all the essential amino acids and are high-quality protein sources. Plant proteins, including beans, lentils, and whole grains, are incomplete proteins. Although they may not contain all the amino acids, they are still valuable protein sources. Soy products derive from soybeans. They include edamame, meat alternatives, and tofu, and contain essential amino acids. These make them a complete protein source, a major benefit when meeting the recommended daily intake.

How much protein should I eat?

How much protein

The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults age 19 or older should get 10-35% of their total daily calorie intake from high quality protein sources. Children aged 4 to 18 should get 10-30% of their total daily calorie intake from protein, according to the USDA. A person who gets about 20% of their calories from protein would need around 100 grams of protein a day. In the example provided, this would total to 400 calories.

How to calculate protein intake

One way to estimate your protein consumption target is to divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and multiply that number by 0.8.

  • First, it’s 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.

A person consuming 2,300 calories per day, aiming for 20% of their calories to come from protein, will need to consume 115 grams of protein per day.

Can protein help you lose weight?

Including protein in your diet can help with weight loss. It tends to be a bit more satiating than carbohydrates or fats, which can help you feel full for longer. Some studies have shown that it can help provide a feeling of fullness that’s greater than with other macronutrients, too. Following a high-protein, low-calorie diet, participants reported increased weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass. In these studies, participants also had lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and reduced waist circumference overall.

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Can protein help you build muscle?

How much protein

Research shows that protein combined with healthy exercise can build muscle. However, it’s best to eat something within 30 minutes to 60 minutes after finishing your workout, Your muscles’ capacity for utilizing nutrients after a workout is a lot better than it is when you’re not eating right. It is recommended that you meet your RDA for protein because it will help prevent muscle loss and provide the minimum required amino acids.

If you want to gain muscle, you might need to eat more than your daily requirement. Active individuals may eat up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The most active individuals may go as high as 3.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Eating high protein levels for long periods may cause digestive, renal, and vascular problems.

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How much protein do I need in pregnancy?

The RDA of protein during pregnancy is still between 10-35% for people ages 19-50 who are pregnant. It is important to eat more protein in the second and third trimester due to higher caloric needs. For teens under 18 who are pregnant, the recommended daily intake is 10-30% of total daily calories from high-quality protein sources.

Is too much protein bad for you?

How much protein

Personally, many people are unsure about how best to eat protein — even though it’s an essential component of a healthy diet. High-protein diets that are high in fat may put an individual at risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, colon cancer, or other health problems.


Cutting out protein from your diet may lead to muscle and bone deterioration, whereas too much consumption of protein will slow down your ability to lose weight. Protein can come from many sources, but only protein from animal sources or soy contains all the essential amino acids the body needs in a single food item.

Combining incomplete protein sources is the key to getting your nutrition intake in order, especially when you’re out of ideas. 10-35% of your daily calories should be from protein unless you are really active, then calculate 2-3.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day. A person can talk with a dietitian or nutritionist to discuss their optimal protein intake.

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