Protein Intake — How Much Protein Should You Eat per Day?
The exact amount of protein you need depends on many factors, including activity level, age, muscle mass, and overall health.
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 (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight.
This amounts to 54 grams per day for an 150 pound sedentary person or 65 grams per day for an 180 pound sedentary person:
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. They’re 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.
Generally, animal protein provides all essential amino acids in the right ratio for you to make full use of them. This makes sense, as animal tissues are similar to your own tissues.
If you’re eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, you’re likely getting enough protein.
However, if you don’t eat animal foods, getting all the protein and essential amino acids your body needs can be more challenging. If you’re following a plant-based diet, you may be interested in this article on the 17 best protein sources for vegans.
Few people need to supplement with protein, but doing so can be useful for athletes and bodybuilders.