Protein is an essential body requirement. It aids our body in sustaining a fluid balance, repair tissues, builds tissues, nutrient transportation, and other vital bodily function. But how much protein is needed by our bodies every day? What is the right amount in grams per day?

Each person needs a different amount of protein along with other vital nutrients to maintain a healthy body composition. But the Dietary Reference Intake-DRI of protein daily intake for a person is 0.8 grams per kg of bodily weight/0.36g per pound. So; to answer the question of how much protein grams per day do you need; minimum for an average Male it is 56 grams per day and Female; 46 grams per day.

The above-mentioned protein quality is adequate to an optimal body composition and body health. As said earlier, the protein intake in right amounts certainly varies from person to person.

Protein intake is based on the following factors

  • Level of activity
  • Muscle mass
  • Age
  • Current health
  • Physique goals
  • Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Muscle building
  • Weight loss

Protein: Why do you need it?

Proteins are building blocks of the body. They make skin, muscles, organs, tendons, hormones, enzymes, tiny molecules serving crucial functions, and neurotransmitters. They are the primary need of our bodies. They are made from amino acids-small molecules that bond together. They form chains of protein that fold to create a complex unit. Some proteins are generated by the body, while essential amino acids are obtained from food/diet. The right quality of protein is as necessary as the right quantity of protein in the body.

Food sources of protein include:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish- Herring, Salmon, Trout, Tuna
  • Dairy
  • Omega-3 rich foods
  • Legumes

Protein types

Essential amino acids or complete protein foods are:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Other animal source foods

Incomplete protein food that has no essential amino acids:

  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Seeds

What does Grams of Protein mean?

Grams of protein means the protein amount in the serving, for e.g., 8 ounce of beef serving has 61 g of the actual content of protein though it weighs 226 g. A large egg has 6 g of the content of protein though it weighs 46 g.

Per Day Grams of Protein

Simple math will give us per day gram protein requirement for an individual. Protein Gram comprises of 4 calories. By dividing two calorie number range by four will give gram proteins.

For instance, a person who consumes 2k calories each day ought to consume 200-700 calories of protein or, in other words, 50-175 g of protein.

Basic protein requirements as a percentage can be determined based on the daily intake of calories, or protein grams range each day. This varies on Activity, Weight, and lean muscle/body mass.

Daily protein grams per day requirements based on

Activity level and Weight

An average grown-up will require 0.8 g protein/kg body weight/day. If you are very active, then the protein gram requirement also increases. Athletes, bodybuilders, and so on will need more protein than an average adult. So, athletes doing running, cycling etc., may need 1.2-1.4 g protein/kg/day or 0.5-0.6 g/pound/day. While strength training like powerlifting may need 1.6-1.7g protein/kg/day or 0.7-0.8 g of protein/pound/day.

Lean Body Mass

This is considered to give a more precise protein value as body mass needs more protein for fatty tissue maintenance. What is LBM? Lean body mass is the body weight, which does not include fat. This consists of the weight of the bone, muscle, water, organs, and tissues. You can determine your lean body mass by total body mass- fat percent. Body fat can be assessed with BIA scales, skin calipers, or DeXA scans. After determining body fat in percentage, multiply body fat percentage with body weight to give fat weight. Subtract total body weight from the fat weight to provide you with lean body mass. Multiply the LBM with the level of activity.

Here we will consider weight in pounds and multiply with below grams of protein for:

  • 0.5 – Sedentary activities
  • 0.6 – Light activity
  • 0.7 – Moderate activity
  • 0.8 – Active
  • 0.9 – Very Active
  • 1.0 – Athlete

For example; The person weight 150 pounds, and his LBM is 105, then his protein requirement per day is 53-120g, ranging from sedentary to athletic.

Protein Daily Intake: Key Point

To sustain or gain muscle, sufficient protein has to be obtained in the body. A lean mass of 0.7-1 g/pound is considered adequate.

Protein requirement for exercisers, weight-loss, athletes, and bodybuilders

Several athletes, bodybuilders, and persons trying to lose weight consider that if they enhance their intake of protein, it will assist them in building muscle mass and lose weight. This is also because your protein intake becomes more when you exercise. However, a certain level of protein intake is a sufficient amount, beyond which you can only see no or diminishing results.

For an Athlete, the recommended intake guidelines are 1.2-2 g of protein/kg/day for good health and performance.
For a bodybuilder or average exercise, 2g of proteins/kg/day is adequate.

Protein Daily Intake: Key Point

Requirement and necessity of protein are more in individuals who are more active physically, people who are coping up with injuries and older people.

Some tips on how to get more protein from your diet

From above, we can calculate how many protein grams are needed each day by an average individual, athletes, bodybuilders, and people trying to lose weight. Whatever your objective may be, be it for muscle gain or cardio activity or weight loss or combination of all, a healthy diet rich in carbs, fat, and protein are required. However, the blend should be in balance and essential for maintaining our body healthy.

Sources of Protein

Both animals and plants have protein sources. Any protein source excluding sugar, additional fat, or additional sodium is a good source of protein food.

Protein from Seafood and Meat

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Seafood
  • Coldwater fish-Herring, Salmon, Tuna

How to eat them?

  • Eat them in roasted or grilled form to reduce fat.
  • Cut the low-fat meat cuts or eliminate chicken/turkey skin to reduce fat and minimize calories.

Protein from plant sources

  • Veggies-kale/spinach
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Grains-Quinoa
  • Tofu

How to eat them?

  • Select plant proteins in recipes and cook in such a way that the nutrition is sustained.
  • Add nuts, tofu, or seeds to a dinner salad.
  • Use navy, kidney, or black beans for some of your meals.

To get more protein in your diet:

  • Eat spinach and scrambled eggs for breakfast
  • Add chopped seeds or nuts on veggie dishes
  • Choose less fat sausages or bacon.
  • Eat almonds for a snack
  • Cut on fatty and starchy foods.
  • Include Lean meat cuts with colorful and dark green veggies in meals.
  • Avoid breaded fish, select poached or baked fish.

Protein requirements for specific population:

  • Kids and teenagers require 25 percent more than grown-ups.
  • Pregnant and feeding moms need more than a normal woman.
  • Older adults need more than middle-aged people
  • Kidney/liver illness people will require lesser intake of protein

Good protein sources, along with their protein grams, are as below:

  • 21g – 3oz. Salmon, tuna, trout or haddock
  • 19g – 3oz. Cooked chicken/turkey
  • 17g – 6oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 14g – Half a cup of cottage cheese
  • 8g – Half a cup of cooked beans
  • 8g – A cup of milk
  • 8g – A bowl of cooked pasta
  • 7g – An ounce of nuts- any type
  • 6g – One egg

Protein and Weight loss / Gaining Weight

Protein is crucial in losing weight. You require lesser calories as compared to what you burn to lose weight. It is known that consuming protein can enhance the calorie number that you burn. This is by enhancing the rate of metabolism and minimizing your appetite. About 25-30 percent of daily calories increase metabolism by about 80-100 calories each day. The primary contribution to weight loss by protein intake is its capability to minimize appetite and resulting in minimizing the intake of calories as well. This is because it keeps you full and better. Now, it is important to understand that protein not only helps in losing weight, but it also prevents you from gaining extra weight. Taking protein not only helps obese people to lose weight but keeps the people with healthy weight from gaining additional weight.

Appropriate protein intake aids in preserving and building muscle mass. It burns some calories round the clock. Having protein in your diet is much easier to lose weight as compared to a fat/carb induced diet. For weight loss, the optimal amount of protein intake is about 30 percent of calories. This comes to about 150g each day for a person who takes in a 2k calorie diet.

Protein Daily Intake: Key Point

30 percent of protein intake is optimal for losing weight with the right rate of metabolism and minimizing the consumption of calories.

Proteins for strength and muscle gain

Proteins build muscles and its mass. Bodily tissues break down and build back consistently. Protein helps with this process. Muscle protein must be synthesized in more composition than its break down. Nitrogen balance or protein balance (since nitrogen is high in proteins) has to be net positive in your body. Higher protein intake builds strength and muscle. To retain muscle mass as well, protein has to be in appropriate quantities.

0.7g-1 g of protein aids in gaining body muscle for 1 pound of body weight or 1 kg of body weight 1.6g-2.2 g of protein are needed.

Protein Takeway:
protein daily intake

Protein is essential for our body as it is the building blocks of our body. The protein daily intake in grams are 46-75g for an average female, while 56-91g for an average male. Some people, such as athletes, bodybuilders, people looking for weight reduction, older people, and injured people, shall have varied protein grams requirements. Protein grams for an enduring athlete is 1.2-1.4g/kg or 0.5-0.65g/pound each day. Older adults need protein grams of 1-1.3g/kg or 0.45-0.6g/pound in body weight. Since protein assists in maintaining skin, organs, muscles, hair, blood, tissues, and transports vitamins, oxygen, and minerals, it is essential to get appropriate protein quantities each day.


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