How Much Protein Do You Need?

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The amount of protein that you should consume will vary drastically depending on your health needs and the amount of physical activity that you engage in.

What Exactly is Protein and Why Do I Need It?

To put it simply, protein makes up the vast majority of the human body, outside of water. Muscle and other connective tissue, as well as the skin and hair, are all made up of protein, and all of these require protein from outside sources in order to function properly and remain healthy. In addition to this, protein plays a major factor in the function of nearly every other part of your body, including your hormones, neurotransmitters and your fluids.

Although much of the protein in your system gets reused, your body is constantly burning through it, especially when you’re physically active. For this reason, consuming adequate amounts of protein is essential to maintain optimal health. As the body does not store protein like it does carbohydrates or fats, any lapse in its supply will typically cause it to start to break down muscle to obtain the protein it needs, which can be detrimental to one’s health.

Amount of Protein Needed For the Average Person

The amount of protein you need will depend on your weight, height and your activity level. For the average person who is at a healthy weight and is moderately active, such as playing a team sport once or twice a week, walking daily or working in a physically demanding job, body weight can be used to determine how much protein he or she needs. In general, you can multiply your weight by .37 to determine the grams of protein that you should consume in a day. For example, a 130 pound woman needs to eat a minimum of 48 grams of protein a day, while a 200 pound man needs at least 74 grams a day.

Those on a calorie restrictive diet who are looking to lose weight can also generally go by this guideline if they are relying on diet alone to shed the pounds. However, when using a combination of diet and exercise to reach a healthy weight, going by the amount of protein recommended for physically active people can be beneficial.

Amount of Protein Needed for Physically Active People

As previously discussed, consuming inadequate amounts of protein will typically cause the body to begin to break down muscle in order to get the protein it needs. As those who are physically active tend to burn through the protein they eat more quickly, they typically require significantly more than the average person does. Those who engage in heavy resistance training, long distance running, or generally spend a fair amount of time at the gym can typically benefit from eating more protein than their less-active, yet still healthy, counterparts do.

The general consensus of the body building and high-intensity cardio community is to eat about one gram per pound of body weight. Therefore, a 130 pound woman would need to eat 130 grams of protein, while a 200 pound man would have to eat 200 grams. In some cases, it is recommended that one eat a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. In this case, a 130 pound woman with 20% body fat would have a lean muscle mass of 104 pounds, and would therefore need 104 grams of protein. A 200 pound man with 12% body fat would have 176 pounds of lean muscle mass and require 176 grams of protein per day.

Can I Eat Too Much Protein?

Barring any health issues, one cannot typically eat too much protein provided he or she is still obtaining the necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from other food sources. Individuals with kidney disease should be careful to not exceed the amount of protein set by their doctors, as the kidneys play a pivotal role in breaking down the protein so it can be used by the body. For otherwise healthy individuals, however, the body will dispose of any excess protein without issue.

What are the Best Sources of Protein?

When it comes to the “best” sources of protein, this is determined by how many amino acids each protein source contains. Animal sources, including beef, chicken, veal, lamb, pork, fish and eggs, each contain all 20 of the necessary amino acids, and are often labeled as “complete” sources of the is nutrient. While plant sources such as nuts, seeds and legumes also contain some amino acids, they are not considered “complete” sources of protein because they do not have all 20. However, when varieties of vegetable sources that contain protein are consumed, one can generally receive adequate amounts of this nutrient without consuming animal products.

The amount of protein that you should consume will vary drastically depending on your health needs and the amount of physical activity that you engage in.

What Exactly is Protein and Why Do I Need It?

To put it simply, protein makes up the vast majority of the human body, outside of water. Muscle and other connective tissue, as well as the skin and hair, are all made up of protein, and all of these require protein from outside sources in order to function properly and remain healthy. In addition to this, protein plays a major factor in the function of nearly every other part of your body, including your hormones, neurotransmitters and your fluids.

Although much of the protein in your system gets reused, your body is constantly burning through it, especially when you’re physically active. For this reason, consuming adequate amounts of protein is essential to maintain optimal health. As the body does not store protein like it does carbohydrates or fats, any lapse in its supply will typically cause it to start to break down muscle to obtain the protein it needs, which can be detrimental to one’s health.

Amount of Protein Needed For the Average Person

The amount of protein you need will depend on your weight, height and your activity level. For the average person who is at a healthy weight and is moderately active, such as playing a team sport once or twice a week, walking daily or working in a physically demanding job, body weight can be used to determine how much protein he or she needs. In general, you can multiply your weight by .37 to determine the grams of protein that you should consume in a day. For example, a 130 pound woman needs to eat a minimum of 48 grams of protein a day, while a 200 pound man needs at least 74 grams a day.

Those on a calorie restrictive diet who are looking to lose weight can also generally go by this guideline if they are relying on diet alone to shed the pounds. However, when using a combination of diet and exercise to reach a healthy weight, going by the amount of protein recommended for physically active people can be beneficial.

Amount of Protein Needed for Physically Active People

As previously discussed, consuming inadequate amounts of protein will typically cause the body to begin to break down muscle in order to get the protein it needs. As those who are physically active tend to burn through the protein they eat more quickly, they typically require significantly more than the average person does. Those who engage in heavy resistance training, long distance running, or generally spend a fair amount of time at the gym can typically benefit from eating more protein than their less-active, yet still healthy, counterparts do.

The general consensus of the body building and high-intensity cardio community is to eat about one gram per pound of body weight. Therefore, a 130 pound woman would need to eat 130 grams of protein, while a 200 pound man would have to eat 200 grams. In some cases, it is recommended that one eat a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. In this case, a 130 pound woman with 20% body fat would have a lean muscle mass of 104 pounds, and would therefore need 104 grams of protein. A 200 pound man with 12% body fat would have 176 pounds of lean muscle mass and require 176 grams of protein per day.

Can I Eat Too Much Protein?

Barring any health issues, one cannot typically eat too much protein provided he or she is still obtaining the necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from other food sources. Individuals with kidney disease should be careful to not exceed the amount of protein set by their doctors, as the kidneys play a pivotal role in breaking down the protein so it can be used by the body. For otherwise healthy individuals, however, the body will dispose of any excess protein without issue.

What are the Best Sources of Protein?

When it comes to the “best” sources of protein, this is determined by how many amino acids each protein source contains. Animal sources, including beef, chicken, veal, lamb, pork, fish and eggs, each contain all 20 of the necessary amino acids, and are often labeled as “complete” sources of the is nutrient. While plant sources such as nuts, seeds and legumes also contain some amino acids, they are not considered “complete” sources of protein because they do not have all 20. However, when varieties of vegetable sources that contain protein are consumed, one can generally receive adequate amounts of this nutrient without consuming animal products.

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