Few things are as essential to good health as protein. You need it to help build muscle, make your hair, get the antibodies your body needs to function, and much more. Protein is key for your health, but how much do you actually need from day to day?
The Recommended Daily Allowance
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences developed Recommended Daily Allowances, or RDAs, nearly two decades ago. At the time, it was decided that individuals needed .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. At that level, you get the minimum necessary for basic nutrition. Essentially, it’s the amount you need to keep from becoming malnourished, not necessarily how much you should eat every day. At this level, a fifty-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds would need 53 grams of protein a day. Many studies since the RDA was released have suggested people should eat far more protein than that. In fact, most have said that consuming about twice your RDA level is a good goal.
If You’re Losing Weight
If you’re working to lose weight, you may want to aim even higher than that, though. One recent study review out of Canada suggested that when your diet contains approximately 25% protein, you’re more likely to lose weight faster. That protein, though, would need to be consumed over the course of the day for best results.
If You Want To Build Muscle
Those who are looking for solid workout results need even more protein than that. When you’re trying to build muscle mass, you need to make more protein available to make that happen, and most studies have suggested that for athletes really trying to see results, about one gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient, but as with those trying to lose weight, that protein consumption should be spread over the course of the day.
If You Want Build Muscle & Get Lean
You will need the one gram per pound of body weight at the same time as reducing calorie input. Therefore, it means that you must eat higher quality proteins and reduce carbohydrates and fats. Where as fats are still essential part of the diet, the high calorie content of both fats and carbs means they must be reduced while maintaining the protein intake.
So, how much protein do you need? It depends a bit on your goals, but the chances are phenomenal that you need more than you’re currently taking in.