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How Much Protein Should I Eat Every Day?

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A trip to a grocery store used to include many packages touting the sought-after term “low fat”. Years later, it was replaced by an exciting-looking “low-carb” claims. Today, “high in protein” it’s a benefit you’ll see advertised on many products, whether they’re protein powders, bone broth, snack foods, or something else. But people are more confused than ever about how much protein they should be eating.

How much protein do you really need? We spoke with experts who explained its importance, why it’s not a one-size-fits-all nutrient, and how to figure out what your body needs.

Why do you need protein?

It’s a pretty simple situation: protein is good for us and we should be eating some of it every day. What is most important to remember is that our bodies actually need what protein provides.

“Most people think of eating protein simply to maintain or help improve muscle size, but it does so much more in our bodies,” he said. Michael J Ormsbee, Florida State University professor in the department of integrative nutrition and physiology and director of the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine. “Proteins serve as enzymes, hormones, receptors, signaling molecules and more.”

Because protein isn’t something our bodies keep in reserve like body fat, it’s a daily essential, he explained. Floris Wardenaar, assistant professor at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. “Protein provides essential amino acids, which we need to consume as part of our daily diet,” he said. “This is because the body is constantly breaking down proteins to create the building blocks of new proteins, resulting in a loss that needs to be replaced with food.”

If you find yourself feeling fuller after a protein-rich meal, you’ve discovered another benefit of protein. “It keeps us satisfied and satiated for longer,” he said. jane burrelassociate professor at Syracuse University.

What is the magic number?

How much protein is enough to get all these benefits? As a basic guideline, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that adults consume 50 grams of protein per day as part of a 2,000-calorie diet. But other experts take a more subtle approach.

“Adequate protein intake is not a number or goal to hit, but a range that depends on your age, gender, general health and lean body mass,” said the registered dietitian. Jaclyn London.

“A generally healthy person who is not very active should consume a minimum of 0.8 to 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight per day,” she advised. (That would be about 68 grams of protein for someone who weighs 150 pounds.)

“Someone who is super active at things like running, cycling or training for an endurance event will require more, around 1.2-1.7g/kg per day,” which would be 82 to 116 grams of protein for a 150 pound person, she continuous. “When working with active and generally healthy individuals, I typically recommend something closer to 1.2g/kg per day to 1.5g/kg per day.”

Not all proteins are created equal.  Consider the amount of cholesterol in bacon and eggs compared to vegetarian proteins or even chicken or fish.
Not all proteins are created equal. Consider the amount of cholesterol in bacon and eggs compared to vegetarian proteins or even chicken or fish.

The best sources of protein

“Protein can not only be found in animal foods, but also in plants,” said board-certified naturopathic physician Dr. Kellyann Petrucci. “In fact, some studies have indicated that getting protein from non-meat sources may actually be better for your health. Think low-fat dairy, fish, beans and soy. These foods are delicious and can even help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Pay attention to the fat content, which can go hand in hand with protein foods. “Not all proteins are created equal,” said Petrucci. “Bacon, sausage or processed meats can be high in protein, but they are also high in saturated fat, which can be harmful to your heart.”

Finally, food is always better than a supplement or powder, London said. “Protein powders are everywhere these days, and because they are considered dietary supplements, they are not overseen by the FDA,” she said. “When it comes to meeting your nutritional needs, dietary supplements should only be used to fill in the gaps of what your diet may be lacking, not to replace trying to meet nutrient needs through dietary sources. ”

Protein rich foods

Protein content in foods (one-ounce servings unless noted), according to Johns Hopkins Medicine:

  • Beef jerky or turkey: 10 to 15 grams of protein
  • 5 ounces of Greek yogurt: 12 to 18 grams of protein
  • Roasted Edamame: 13 grams of protein
  • 3/4 to 1 1/3 cup high-protein cereal: 7 to 15 grams of protein
  • Meat or fish: 7 grams of protein
  • 1/3 cup hummus: 7 grams of protein
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter: 7 grams of protein
  • 1 egg: 6 grams of protein

Spreading out your protein intake

How much protein you eat is important, but so is When you ate. “I encourage people to aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein each time they eat,” said Burrell. “If you only eat that amount of protein at lunch and dinner, but not at other times of the day, you could be left feeling unsatisfied or hungry.”

You need to get enough calories overall to give this protein what it needs to be most effective, she added. “I work with college students, and many are on high protein diets but not getting enough calories overall,” Burrell said. “For protein to be used to build new protein, you first need enough calories. Otherwise, your body will just use that extra protein for energy. And if your carb intake is low, your body will break down functional proteins and use some of those amino acids to make glucose to maintain blood glucose.”

Popular myths about proteins

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about protein, experts say. Here’s an example: “We still hear that protein causes kidney damage,” Ormsbee said. “The data just doesn’t support it.”

By itself, protein also can’t bulk up, they agreed. “A misconception about protein is that eating it means you’ll get big muscles,” petrucci said. “In fact, muscle growth is a complicated process that takes into account protein consumption, exercise and hormones. Athletes may have higher protein needs compared to their peers, but eating this way doesn’t mean they’ll have bigger muscles.”

In fact, smart protein choices are an important part of a nutritious diet. “It’s an absolutely essential component of meals and snacks, especially for people looking to adopt small but impactful strategies or habits that can result in weight loss or weight control over time,” said London.