How Much Protein Do You REALLY Need per Day?
Updated: Feb 6, 2022
Protein is an essential macronutrient required for vital aspects of life including:
energy production (as a fuel source)
immune system health
blood sugar balance
hormone + enzyme production
tissue formation + cell repair
But if you've ever tried to calculate your daily protein needs, there's a chance you've come across conflicting information which can make it difficult to know where to start!
How Much Protein is Recommended?
.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is the Recommended Dietary Allowance suggested healthy, but sedentary adults.
For example, a 150 POUND (68 KG) person would require ~55 grams of protein per day.
However, while this may be sufficient for some inactive individuals, many health professionals advocate for a higher RDA due to it meeting only the MINIMUM amount of protein required to prevent deficiency and meet basic needs.
Additionally, the protein RDA also does not take into account important individual factors such as age, height, weight, activity level, etc., often making the RDA more of a “baseline” than total requirement for most.
In fact, some people may need as much as 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day based on their individual needs and goals.
For example, a 150 POUND (68 KG) person would require ~82-136 grams of protein per day.
Recommended protein intakes for active individuals, those looking to gain muscle mass and strength, & those aged 50 and older) are based on activity level, such as follows:
MINIMAL ACTIVITY: 1 gram of protein/kg body weight
MODERATE ACTIVITY: 1.3 gram of protein/kg body weight
INTENSE ACTIVITY: 1.7 gram of protein/kg body weight
Extremely active or athletic individuals may even choose to increase intake to upwards of 2+ grams of protein/kg of body weight. However, chronic intake of ? 2 grams of protein per/kg of body weight may result in abnormalities and is not suggested.
So, How Much Protein Do YOU Really Need per Day?
For the average joe, it's not uncommon to require MORE protein than RDA standards, but LESS protein than recommended more active or older individuals.
With this, you may find it more helpful to instead follow the protein Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) which recommends consuming 10%-35% of your total daily caloric intake from protein.