How Much Protein Should I Have Each Day?

Author: Herbalife Nutrition
Three Women Path

“How much protein do I actually need?” It’s an often-asked question by those keen to understand their optimum daily intake of protein.

Here, we explain everything you need to know about protein, the types of protein rich foods in an average diet and how to calculate your optimum intake.

But remember, every body is different.

WHAT IS PROTEIN?

If you think of your body holistically, then protein is one part of a body’s energy supply.

This energy from protein is joined by carbohydrates and fats.

Protein, like carbs and fats, are what are known as macronutrients for the body. [1]

All three provide energy, and this energy is measured in calories.

This makes protein one of the main nutrient groups for the body.

Often referred to as the ‘body’s building blocks’,[2] protein is deployed to build and repair tissues, help fight infection, balance fluids and provide extra energy.

And did you know, each gram of protein contains four calories?[3]

TYPES OF PROTEIN-RICH FOODS

  • ·       Seafood
  • ·       Lean meat and poultry
  • ·       Eggs and dairy
  • ·       beans and peas
  • ·       soy products
  • ·       unsalted nuts and seeds. [4]

CALCULATING YOUR DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE

Guidelines

When searching for online information on how much protein you should have, official guidelines will offer up a notional amount.

But remember, these are only guide amounts for protein consumption. They are not super accurate in relation to your body’s unique requirements.

Make sense?

For example, the US Institute of Medicine[5] recommends 10 to 35 percent of our total daily calories should come from protein.

Similarly, the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients[6] says a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.

That means that the average sedentary male should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, and the average female should eat about 46 grams.

Bio measurements

Susan Bowerman (M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND) Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training for Herbalife says the very fact human bodies differ in terms of gender, genetics and other biological factors[7] means the amount of protein you should have each day cannot be answered with a definitive amount.

There are two main calculations used to measure the amount of protein you need.

1.      Lean body mass

In calculation number one, a body composition measurement will tell you how much lean body mass you have – some home bathroom scales or gyms have this measurement and determine the amount of protein suggested for you.

That’s about 1 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.

2.      Body Weight

In calculation number two, an even easier method is via your actual body weight.

In kilograms: multiply your body weight by 1.5

So, a woman who weighs 64kg should aim for about 100g of protein a day.

A 110kg man should consume, roughly, 150g of protein per day.

To track the amounts you are consuming, the old-fashioned method of checking the nutrition information on the side of foods is still very useful.

PROTEIN AS PART OF YOUR OVERALL DIET

But every person’s body is different and your activity levels will play a large role in determining how much protein you need.

For example, have you noticed how pro athletes often consume more protein?

If you’re very active your protein needs may increase.[8]

So, if you feel you need to up your protein for example, try protein powder, shakes or snacks[9], which you can tailor to your needs or other protein rich foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, or nut butter.

And, protein from plant sources[10] tends to be lower in saturated fat, contains no cholesterol, and provides fiber and other health-promoting nutrients.

But remember, for a healthy diet don’t just focus on protein – a mix of good carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, and healthy fats from nuts, avocado, and vegetable oils is also important[11].

And of course, to maintain a healthy weight, consume about the same number of calories that you burn each day.[12]

So, now you should be able to answer with some clarity that question, ‘how much protein should I have a day?’

References

[1] https://www.innerbody.com/nutrition/macronutrients#:~:text=to%20become%20dehydrated.-,Carbohydrates%20in%20the%20Diet,large%20amounts%20for%20normal%20functioning.

Author: Jill Weisenberger

Date: Feb 25, 2020

Title: Macronutrients

Publisher: www.innerbody.com

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[2] https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/important-nutrients-know-proteins-carbohydrates-and-fats

Author: US Department of Health and Human Services/National Institute On Aging

Publisher: US Department of Health and Human Services

Title: Important Nutrients to Know: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats

Date: April 29, 2019

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[3] https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/how-many-calories-are-one-gram-fat-carbohydrate-or-protein

Author: USDA
Title: How many calories are in one gram of fat, carbohydrate, or protein?

Publisher: USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center
Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[4] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/protein#protein-foods

Author: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Title: Protein

Publisher: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[5] https://www.livescience.com/53044-protein.html#:~:text=High%2Dprotein%20diet-,The%20Institute%20of%20Medicine%20recommends%20that%2010%20to%2035%20percent,protein%2C%20according%20to%20the%20NIH.

Author: Jessica Szalay

Publisher: www.livescience.com

Title: What Is Protein?

Date: Dec 10, 2015

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[6] https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

Author: US National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
Title: Nutrient Recommendations; Dietary Recommendation Intakes (DRI)

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[7] https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/healthy-weight/calculating-protein-intake/

Author: Susan Bowerman Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training Herbalife
Title: How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day? Try These Methods

Publisher: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/
Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[8] https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/fitness/macros-for-athletes/

Author: Susan Bowerman Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training Herbalife
Title: Meal Replacements or Protein Shakes? Choose What’s Right for You

Publisher: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com

Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[9] https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/healthy-weight/meal-replacements-protein-shakes/

Author: David Heber Chairman, Herbalife Nutrition Institute
Title: Meal Replacements or Protein Shakes? Choose What’s Right for You

Publisher: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com
Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[10] https://www.herbalife.com.au/articles/alternative-plant-proteins-for-personalised-nutrition/

Author: Herbalife Nutrition
Title: Providing Alternative Plant Proteins for Personalised Nutrition

Publisher: https://www.herbalife.com.au
Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[11] https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/nutrition-facts/top-5-heart-healthy-oils-dont-fear-the-fat/

Author: Susan Bowerman Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training HerbalifeTitle: Top 5 Heart-Healthy Oils: Don’t Fear the Fat

Publisher: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com
Date accessed: June 30, 2021

[12] https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/maintaining-healthy-weight#:~:text=As%20a%20rule%20of%20thumb%3A,than%20you%20eat%20and%20drink.

Author: National Institute on Aging (https://www.nia.nih.gov)

Title: Maintaining a healthy weight

Publisher: US Dept of Health and Human Services

Date accessed: June 30, 2021