How Much Protein Do I Need per Day?
It’s a commonly asked question, and one that has no simple answer.
When determining how much protein you need to consume on a daily basis, the amount differs depending on factors such as your lifestyle, goals, and plenty more. While there’s no definitive answer, there are great guidelines to help align with your goals - whether you want to add muscle, maintain tone, or lose weight.
Join us as the experts at Supplement Dealz, take a look at how much protein you need per day; and how to get it into your diet.
What is protein?
In a nutshell, proteins are the building blocks of the human body.
This hard working macronutrient is formed of amino acids - which in turn play a whole host of key roles in your body, from making muscles and tendons to hormones and neurotransmitters.
After water, protein is the most abundant compound in the human body, which should give you some idea of just how important it is in helping us to keep going!
The body is able to make some amino acids itself - but others need to be provided in our diets. These are known as essential amino acids, and can be gained from - you guessed it - eating protein.
Why do I need protein?
Aside from needing protein to, well, stay alive; consuming a high protein diet comes with a whole host of health and fitness benefits:
Weight loss and management
Protein has a double whammy effect when it comes to aiding weight loss: it can both boost your metabolic rate, and reduce your appetite at the same time by making you feel fuller for longer. When combined with an active lifestyle, a healthy diet rich in protein can be a great aid to healthy weight loss.
When it comes to eating protein for weight management, calculating your optimal protein intake is best done as a percentage of your daily calories.
Studies have shown that getting 25 - 30% of your total daily calories from protein can boost metabolism by 80 - 100 calories per day; while increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories can reduce the amount of fat regained after weight loss by 50%.
So, while you shouldn’t by any means eat a 100% protein diet, upping your intake as a percentage of your daily calories could prove beneficial when trying to lose weight.
Muscle + Strength Gain
Muscles are made up largely of protein - so it stands to reason that a protein rich diet could help you to gain muscle.
Of course, it isn’t as simple as just eating more protein - this needs to be coupled with exercise, and your workouts should be optimised for maximum gains.
To gain muscle, your body needs to synthesise more protein than it breaks down. Protein alone isn’t going to build muscle - you also need to make sure your workouts are effective too.
But with muscles being constantly broken down and rebuilt, particularly when we work them harder in the gym, it’s vital that we fuel our bodies with protein to ensure muscles are built back up as efficiently as possible for visible results.
Plus, protein can help recovery times after a workout. If you’re feeling extra sore, or are beginning a new training regime, upping your protein intake could be the key to ensuring your body repairs itself faster.
Aiming to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? A protein rich diet can help you to keep the muscle which can often be lost with a calorie deficit.
Ok, so how much protein do I need?
We’ve extolled the virtues of protein, but what you really want to know is: how much do I actually need?
There’s no simple answer to this one, but let’s start with a baseline.
The daily RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake) of protein is 0.75g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight in adults.
That means for men, it’s around 56g a day; and for women, it’s around 45g.
However, as we’ve already seen, protein has many benefits - and it’s likely you’ll want to think about including more in your diet to suit your own individual lifestyle and fitness goals.
But it isn’t as simple as eating more protein and reaping the benefits.
The right type of protein, the right amount, and the right lifestyle are also key factors.
The good news is that it’s easy to include enough protein in your diet, with many foods packed with this macronutrient; and supplements available to help boost your protein intake.
Let’s take a look at how much protein you need per day, depending on your goals and lifestyle.
How to calculate lean body mass:
When it comes to calculating how much protein you need, it’s best to look at lean body mass - rather than overall body weight.
To calculate your lean body mass, simply multiply your body weight by your fat percentage, then subtract the result from your body weight.
So, if you were a 100kg male with 30% body fat, you would multiply 100 x 0.30 to get 30kg. Subtracting this from 100kg gets us to 70kg - your lean body mass.
With the recommended daily protein intake at 0.75g per kg of bodyweight, that’s around 52.5g of protein for our hypothetical male.
We’re here to tell you that if you’re looking to pack on the muscle; recover after a workout; or lose weight, that’s nowhere near enough.
With athletes eating around 1.6 - 2.4g per kg of protein a day, depending on their training regime and overall goals, it’s pretty clear that 0.75g isn’t going to cut it when it comes to making those gains.
A male athlete with that 70kg lean body mass, for example, would need between 112g - 168g of protein per day.
How can I add more protein into my diet?
On the surface, this one’s easy: just eat more protein!
Dig a little deeper, and it isn’t quite so straightforward.
Timing, quality and dietary requirements also play a part.
For example, eating three chicken breasts for dinner would go a long way towards hitting your daily protein target - but if this was all the protein you ate that day, it would be unlikely to have the desired effect.
Our bodies can’t process too much protein in one go (around 25g - 35g per serving), so it’s not purely about hitting your target, but rather about quality protein intake at regular intervals throughout the day.
Most important is that post-workout protein boost. With our bodies working hard to repair the muscle proteins broken down during exercise, you’ll want a quickly absorbed protein hit - which can be easily gained from a protein shake or supplement. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to whey protein powder and recovery protein powder, whilst having a great benefit to your body.
Adding more protein into our diets is also a great way to up your protein intake: focus on protein rich foods such as meats, dairy, eggs and fish. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, foods including nuts, legumes, soy and quinoa offer a high protein content to help you reach your goals.
To Sum Up
Protein comes with a wide range of health benefits, and boosting muscle growth is one of its most popular. It’s easy to get more protein into your diet, with protein supplements available to help. Always remember: it’s about quality proteins, eaten at the right times; and how much you need will vary depending on your goals and lifestyle.
Remember, if supplements are you favourite way of getting protein into your diet, save yourself some cash and check out our top deals in our flash sale!
Ultimately, though, a protein rich diet is something to work towards - and when combined with good nutrition choices and an effective exercise plan, it can have fantastic effects.