Wondering exactly how much protein you should be consuming each day?�The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), which is the minimum amount you need to be healthy, is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day�46 grams for an average woman. That equals as little as 10% of daily calories. If you’re not super active, that’s likely adequate, and you’ll hit the target effortlessly if you follow a typical Western diet.
To get your personal protein “RDA,” multiple the number 0.36 by your weight in pounds. (For a sedentary 150-pound woman, that would be 54 grams.) Double it if you’re very active or aiming for “optimal protein,” which can help you maintain muscle as you age and support weight loss.
American women already eat about 68 grams a day, according to the latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. “There’s no reason to go out of your way to get protein,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. “Just eat a variety of fish, nuts, beans, seeds, and dairy, including yogurt.”�However, increasing your protein well above the RDA may make sense if…
You’re Very Active
That means getting at least 35 to 40 minutes of moderate exercise four or five days a week, including resistance training two or more times a week. Consider eating 1.2 to 2 grams of dietary protein per kilogram (or about 0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound) of body weight each day, says Nancy Rodriguez, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut. That amount is best for rebuilding muscle tissue, especially if you do a lot of high-intensity workouts, research suggests.
You’re Trying To Lose Weight
Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, helping you feel full, and also pushes your body to secrete the gut hormone peptide YY, which reduces hunger. “When you bring protein to about 30% of your daily calories, you’ll naturally eat less,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition practice in New York City, and author of The Little Book of Thin. “Protein decreases appetite and also, in my experience, helps you manage cravings.”
While studies are mixed about whether consuming more protein leads to weight loss, research is pretty clear that protein can help you retain more of your lean muscle as you lose fat. One 2011 study suggests amping up protein to as much as 1.8 to 2 grams per kilogram (roughly 0.8 to 0.9 grams per pound) of body weight per day to stave off muscle loss when restricting calories. Cut back on refined carbs to balance out the extra calories from adding protein.
RELATED: 3 Delicious Protein Pancake Recipes
You’re In Middle Age
Eating more protein as you get older may help you maintain muscle and ward off osteoporosis, “so you can stay stronger and more functional,” says Rodriguez. In a 2015 study, adults over the age of 50 who roughly doubled the RDA (eating 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram, or 0.68 grams per pound, of body weight) were better able to rebuild and retain muscle after only four days, compared with control groups eating the RDA.
Doubling the RDA gives you “optimal protein,” a concept that Rodriguez and more than 40 nutrition scientists advanced at a recent Protein Summit, the findings from which were published in 2015 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Optimal protein works out to be about 15% to 25% of your daily calories, still below the level recommended by many popular high-protein diets. Over a day, that could look like 20-30 grams per meal and 12 to 15 grams per snack, for a total of 90 to 105 grams daily.
The information herein on "This Is How Much Protein You Really Need To Eat In A Day" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card