Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in building and repairing tissues in the body. It is also necessary for the production of hormones, enzymes, and other important molecules. But how much protein do you actually need in a day? Let's take a closer look.
Daily Intake Guidelines
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (National Institutes of Health, 2016). This means that if you weigh 70 kilograms (154 pounds), you would need about 56 grams of protein per day. However, this is just a general guideline, and the actual amount of protein you need may vary depending on several factors, including your age, sex, weight, and activity level.
If you are an athlete or engage in regular physical activity, you may need more protein than the RDA. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes should consume between 1.4 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to support muscle growth and repair (International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2018).
Pregnant and breastfeeding women also require more protein to support the growth and development of the fetus and the production of breast milk. According to the Dieticians Australia, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume 1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day ([Dietitiansaustralia.org.au](http://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/), 2022). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists mirrors this and recommends that pregnant women consume at least 71 grams of protein per day, while breastfeeding women should aim for 81 grams of protein per day (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2020).
Older adults may also require more protein than younger adults to prevent muscle loss and maintain overall health. The RDA for protein for adults over the age of 65 is 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (Institute of Medicine, 2005).
Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body needs for growth, repair, and maintenance of various tissues and organs. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and there are nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained through the diet. While both animal and plant-based foods contain protein, not all sources of protein provide the same quality of protein. Animal-based protein sources are considered complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts to meet the body's needs. Animal-based protein sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, are considered to be high-quality and complete sources of protein.
On the other hand, plant-based protein sources are considered incomplete proteins because they lack one or more essential amino acids. However, you can still meet your protein needs with a plant-based diet by combining different sources of protein throughout the day (American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada, 2003). For example, combining legumes with grains or nuts and seeds can provide a complete protein source. Plant-based sources such as soy, quinoa, and hemp seeds are complete proteins and can be used as alternatives to animal-based protein sources.
Individuals who find it challenging to meet their daily protein requirements can turn to supplements. While supplements are not necessary, protein powders offer a convenient and efficient way to meet one's personal protein needs. Far East Alchemy's Whey Protein Elixirs have a complete amino acid profile, making it an easy and tasty way to get your protein fix in, without the need to cook or prepare anything!
In summary, the amount of protein you need in a day depends on several factors, including your age, sex, weight, and activity level. Generally, the RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but athletes, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and older adults may require more. It's important to choose a variety of protein sources, including both animal-based and plant-based options, to ensure you are getting all the essential amino acids your body needs. Using a high quality protein powder can provide a quick and easy way to supplement your protein needs if you have trouble meeting them. Always reach out to a professional to receive tailored advice for your specific nutritional needs.
Nih.gov. (2016). *Office of Dietary Supplements - Dietary Supplements for Exercise and Athletic Performance*. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/ExerciseAndAthleticPerformance-HealthProfessional/.
Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I., Cribb, P.J., Wells, S.D., Skwiat, T.M., Purpura, M., Ziegenfuss, T.N., Ferrando, A.A., Arent, S.M., Smith-Ryan, A.E., Stout, J.R., Arciero, P.J., Ormsbee, M.J., Taylor, L.W., Wilborn, C.D., Kalman, D.S., Kreider, R.B., Willoughby, D.S. and Hoffman, J.R. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. *Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition*, [online] 14(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8.
Dietitiansaustralia.org.au. (2022). *Protein*. [online] Available at: https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/health-advice/protein.
Acog.org. (2020). *Nutrition During Pregnancy*. [online] Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/nutrition-during-pregnancy.
Trumbo, P., Schlicker, S., Yates, A.A. and Poos, M. (2002). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. *Journal of the American Dietetic Association*, [online] 102(11), pp.1621–1630. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/s0002-8223(02)90346-9.
Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets. (2003). *Journal of the American Dietetic Association*, [online] 103(6), pp.748–765. doi:https://doi.org/10.1053/jada.2003.50142.