How much protein do you need every day? Most nutritionists recommend a daily protein intake of around 0.8 grams for every one kilogram of your body weight for the average adult.
The protein requirements for men and women are also different. How much protein does a woman need? This would mean that the average protein intake for women is around 46 grams of protein per day, and the average male would need 56 grams.
According to WHO, the mean protein requirement is 0.6 grams per kilogram body weight, per day.
Now, when they say recommended daily protein intake of 46 grams of protein, it does not mean the grams of a food or its weight. For instance, one egg weighs around 46 grams, but it does not contain 46 grams of protein. Far from it, it has only 6 grams.
Again, the specified amount of protein might just be enough to keep you from becoming protein deficient, and this may not be the optimum amount needed by your body for good health.
So let’s find out how much protein per day is the right amount, shall we?
Daily Recommended Protein: Factors for Consideration
When considering the daily protein needs, you cannot calculate it based on merely your body weight. How many grams of protein per day? While calculating this, there are many other factors that have to be taken into consideration. The right protein intake depends on:
- Body weight
- Your age
- Sex (Male or Female)
- Your Goal (whether it is to lose fat or weight loss, maintain body weight, build muscle, body building etc.)
- Activity levels, whether you are lightly active; moderately active; highly active or you do intense workouts and exercise
- Your lifestyle (a demanding job where you need a lot of physical strength)
Calculating Recommended Intake: How Much Protein do I need Per Day?
You can use online calculators for calculating the recommended daily protein requirement for your body. Enter the age, height and other requirements to find out the amount of protein you need.
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Protein Intake for Athletes: Protein to Build Muscle
What is the role of protein and exercise? Everyone will agree that athletes need greater quantities of protein as compared to sedentary people. In case of recreational athletes, the thumb rule is a healthy protein intake per day of 1.2 to 1.4 grams for every one kilogram body weight and up to 1.7 grams per kg body weight in case of power athletes.
However, it will also depend on the number of training hours, the anaerobic exercise, type of workout and the muscle gain required. If the intensity of the training is more, more protein will be needed. In fact, in some cases, such as marathon runners, even 2 grams per kg of body weight is recommended for high intensity workouts, in order to avoid muscle loss.
As far as protein for vegan athletes is concerned, they can get enough protein from plant-based food like nuts, seeds, soy, beans, tofu, quinoa, steel cut oats and whole grains.
Protein Recommendations for Children
The right amount of protein that your body needs also depends on your age and also differs according to the sexes, due to the difference in hormones.
Ages 1 to 3: According to the Institute of Medicine, children between one to three years of age need about 1-gram protein for every 1 kg of body weight per day. This is enough to meet the requirements for healthy kids of this age group, which comes to around 13 grams a day to improve muscle growth.
Ages 4 to 8: Their requirement is around .95 grams per kg of body weight per day, which comes to around 19 grams a day, due to an increase in their body weight.
Ages 9 to 13: Here, the requirement is the same .95 grams per kg body weight per day, coming to around 34 grams a day, as the body weight is more at this age.
Ages 14 to 18: They need around .85 grams a day, which amounts to around 52 grams for the average child per day.
Protein Intake For the Elderly
For adults above 50 years of age, the recommended amount is 1.5 grams/kg each day. They need more in order to combat osteoporosis and maintain their muscle mass.
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Illnesses/Injuries/Recovering Patients Protein Need
If you’re undergoing repair from an acute injury, a surgery or due to an illness, you need more protein. If you want a quick recovery, ensure that you get a high protein intake and do it consistently.
Dietary protein improves healing of wounds, especially in case of elderly people. An elderly person recovering from an illness or wound will require slightly more than the recommended 0.8 grams per kg, and will need around 1 gram/kg. Anywhere between 1 gram to 1.5 gram of protein/kg body weight is recommended.
In case of injured athletes, the recommended amount of protein should be around 2 grams for every kilogram of body weight.
Check out that you get the RDA or recommended dietary allowance for protein for your body weight. It goes without saying that an active person needs more protein than one leading a sedentary lifestyle.
You can get the recommended amount from plant as well as animal sources or through protein supplements. Beef and poultry and eggs or milk, soy, cheese in case of protein for vegetarians, can offer good quality protein. Combine it with other sources like nuts and plant-based proteins like veggies and legumes.
How much protein do you really need to lose weight? If you want to reduce weight, a high protein diet is highly suitable, as it improves the metabolic rate, but it is not a complete panacea. The catch here is to combine it with proper exercise and other nutrients.
Tip: Space out your protein intake over the day, in the form of meals and snacks, rather than eating it all up in one meal. It’s more effective.
So, what are we waiting for? Go get that daily quota of protein NOW.