How much protein does a person need?

Justin’s Corner: How much protein does a person need?


Many of us have heard the importance of eating protein and getting a certain amount each day. But how much should we be eating? First, let’s look at the role that protein plays in the body.

Protein does more in your body then just build strong muscles. Proteins can be found in every cell and tissue, each with a specialized function necessary for normal development and function. Most of the protein your body uses come from diet, but your body also makes proteins as well. You need it to put muscle on your bones and to make hair, blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes and more.

Your body can also use protein for energy when carbohydrates are depleted. When it is needed, proteins will degrade into their amino acids, which are oxidized in the same process as glucose to create energy.

So just how much protein should you strive for everyday? My recommendations for anyone who is active and looking to lose fat and build lean muscle mass is .8 to 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. So if you are a 135-pound woman –you should be aiming for 108 – 135 grams of protein per day. When working with my nutritional clients, I give them an exact number of grams of protein per day to strive to hit within a range of +/- 5 g.

There are obviously different situations and goals for each individual. Using this chart is also a great way to get an idea of where your daily protein intake should be.

Daily protein intake

Person, Situation & Goals Ideal Daily Protein Intake
Average healthy sedentary adult (male or female) that does NOT work out or have any related goals. This is just what I consider to be a good minimum daily protein intake for general health/function. 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult (male or female) that IS doing some form of exercise regularly or IS trying to improve their body (lose fat, build muscle, etc.). This is the minimum I’d recommend in this case. 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult FEMALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult MALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Chart reposted from here

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