If you're looking to lose weight, achieve a weight loss goal or maintain great health, how much protein do you need to eat per day to do that? Today, I'm diving into the details of how much protein is needed per day.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
Protein needs can typically be calculated based off of your current weight. This is because much of the protein needs come down to how much muscle and organ tissue you have. Protein is needed to maintain muscle mass, increase satiety (sensation of fullness after a meal), prevent cravings and achieve a weight loss and body recomposition goal.(1)
There's a bit of debate in the nutrition world regarding specifically how much protein is needed per day. However, what current research is showing is that the standard .8g/kg approach is just not cutting it. Unless you are suffering from kidney disease or are specifically advised by your doctor to limit protein intake due to a health condition*, it's crucial to be getting adequate protein each day.
*Be sure to consult your doctor before adjusting your protein intake, especially if you think you might have a health condition that merits a reduction in protein.
How Much Protein Do I Need For My Age?
A common thought is that protein needs go down as we age. Current research is actually showing the exact opposite. One study on protein needs for older individuals found:
"Protein tissue accounts for 30% of whole-body protein turnover but that rate declines to 20% or less by age 70. The result of this phenomenon is that older adults require more protein/kilogram body weight than do younger adults... The importance of dietary protein cannot be underestimated in the diets of older adults; inadequate protein intake contributes to a decrease in reserve capacity, increased skin fragility, decreased immune function, poorer healing, and longer recuperation from illness."(2)
Another review on protein requirements as we age found that older individuals must consume between 1.0-1.3 grams of protein per kilogram body weight to optimize physical function.(3)
Regardless of age, adequate protein intake is crucial for health and it appears that it becomes even more important as we age.
How Do I Calculate How Much Protein I Need?
Protein needs depend on not only weight/lean muscle, but also activity level and whether or not you're recovering from an injury or a burn. A great calculation range for protein needs is:
( 1.2 - 1.6 ) x current weight* (in kilograms) = grams of protein needed per day
Note that this calculation shows a range. For the details of how to easily calculate your protein needs and help determine what range of protein you fall in, you can check out my super short, 3 minute video below to walk you step-by-step through the process.
*If your BMI is greater than 30, you should not use your current body weight. Checkout the video below for more details.