Nutrition Protein

How Much Protein Do I Need? Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Written by Carl Lombard

Anyone who’s mildly enthused by the idea of fitness knows the importance of protein. Every athlete and bodybuilder is conscious of his sources and forms of proteins and how much protein per day he is consuming. For the rest of us simpletons, the most important thing is that our body needs protein to function.

But how much protein per day should we consume?

It is recommended that you take 0.8 g of protein for every kilo of your body weight. This is called the RDA, i.e., Recommended Dietary Allowance. But remember that this is the minimum amount of protein you need. So, if you discontinue having this amount of protein, you’re likely to fall ill. Does that mean you have been taking too much protein? Let’s find out.

Why We Need Protein:

Consistent over-consumption of protein can lead to vascular, renal, and digestive problems. However, you cannot afford to go too low either. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of suffering from weakness, anemia, stunted growth, immunity problems, and more.

Our body needs protein to function. It requires a certain amount of protein for building and repairing tissues. So, it breaks down the same amount of protein, too. However, under certain circumstances, the amount of protein broken down by your body is more than what it creates, thus increasing your body’s needs. This happens if an individual is:

  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Suffering from illness
  • Recovering from surgery or injury
  • Elderly
  • Involved heavily in athletics

Protein Enzymes:

Our body also functions with the help of enzymes. These are proteins that boost biochemical reactions in the body. They help the body in the following ways:

  • Enzymes boost metabolism by combining with molecules in the cell and catalyzing reactions.
  • Digestive enzymes, such as sucrase and lactase, help with the digestion of sugar.
  • Some of them react with vitamin and mineral molecules.
  • They enable bodily functions like digestion, production of energy, contraction of muscles, etc.  

Proteins & Antibodies:

Proteins also help with the formation of antibodies or immunoglobulins. The antibodies can:

  • Protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Prevent infections.
  • Quickly respond to new agents of diseases.
  • Help strengthen the immunity system.

Protein & Losing Weight

Did you know that a high-protein diet can be instrumental in preventing obesity and helping weight management? Yes, there are several studies to prove that. It can modulate energy intake and production, metabolism, and appetite. Higher protein has been observed to aid weight and fat loss.  

So, your consumption of protein needs to be between 1.2 g and 1.6 g per kg. Furthermore, it is a good idea to maintain protein portions in your every meal. For instance, 25-30 g of protein in a single meal can regulate your appetite, help with weight management, and more.

Our Body Uses Protein to Build Muscle (Daily Recommendation)

Protein performs several body-building activities like:

  • Building muscles.
  • Repairing and building tissues.
  • Oxygenating the body.
  • Digesting food as enzymes.
  • Regulating hormones to aid developments.
  • Making connective tissues, cartilage, bone, blood, hair, etc.
  • Building hormones, enzymes, and body chemicals.

Muscles are primarily made of protein. They undergo constant wearing, tearing, and rebuilding. To gain muscle mass, the protein synthesized must be more than the protein broken down. So, if you need to build your muscles and gain strength, you need to consume more protein.   

But how much protein do I need? Are you eating too much protein?

Here’s a breakup of your daily requirement of protein for every kilo of your body weight:

  1. Basic body functions: 0.8 g (minimal activity level)
  2. Functional tasks: 1 g (sedentary lifestyle); 1.3 g (moderately active); 1.6 g (intense activity)

If you’re a healthy adult who’s well-adapted to protein consumption, you can take as much as 2-3.5 g of protein per kg of your weight. We bet you’re wondering right now, “How much protein do i need to build muscle?”

Based on the above, we can deduce that for muscle growth and physical strength, you need to consume 1-1.6 g protein for every kilo of your body weight, depending on your activity level.    

How Much Protein? Men vs. Women

On average, men consume more calories than women as they have higher muscle mass. In other words, since average men have larger bodies to maintain than average women, their protein needs and consumptions are higher. 

Keeping in mind the recommended protein level for rudimentary functions, i.e., 0.8 g protein per kilo of weight, the amount of protein required by an average man with a sedentary lifestyle is 56 g a day. In comparison, the amount needed by a sedentary woman of an average stature is 46 g.    

This is only the basic amount of protein required to avoid nutrient deficiency and prevent your body from malfunctioning. It is not even sufficient for optimal health, let alone building muscles. The intake will grow further on the basis of:

  1. Weight
  2. Height
  3. Age
  4. Muscle mass
  5. Activity level
  6. Target weight

So, it’s evident that you need protein. It is highly essential for you to stay healthy, maintain proper functioning of the body, and grow muscle mass. Besides, it can help you with weight management. How much protein you need depends on your body type, lifestyle, and goals.

It is easy to calculate your protein needs with simple calculators available online. You can also talk to a dietician to know precisely what your body is asking for. Accordingly, you can choose a diet program with sufficient amounts of protein.

About the author

Carl Lombard

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