Do you want to know how much protein you should eat a day? Protein is essential to our diets, providing energy and helping build and repair muscle. So it’s no wonder why so many people are asking the question, “How much protein should I eat a day?” While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, understanding how much protein is recommended for different lifestyles can help you make informed decisions about your diet.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The amount of protein you need will depend on your lifestyle and health goals. Generally speaking, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein from all sources is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. That works out to about 56 grams of protein per day for the sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the sedentary woman.
For athletes or those who are looking to build muscle or lose weight, it’s recommended that they consume 1.2–1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This works out to 84–119 grams per day for men and 68–94 grams per day for women depending on their fitness goals.
It’s essential to get your daily protein dose from various sources, as each type offers different benefits. For example, animal sources like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products provide all nine essential amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—that your body needs but can’t produce itself; plant sources like nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, grains, and vegetables don’t contain all nine essential amino acids but can be combined in various ways to ensure you’re getting all that you need.
Depending on your dietary preferences or restrictions, you can quickly meet your daily protein requirements without relying solely on animal sources by following a balanced vegetarian or vegan diet that includes plenty of high-protein plant foods such as quinoa, tofu/tempeh, lentils/beans/other legumes like chickpeas/mung beans/peas/cowpeas, etc., chia seeds, etc.
For reference, here’s how many grams of protein one serving size contains in various types of food:
- 3 ounces cooked chicken = approximately 25–26 grams
- 3 ounces cooked salmon = approximately 22-23 grams
- 3 ounces cooked beef = approximately 21-22 grams
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt = approximately 20–24 grams
- Three eggs = approximately 18 grams
- ½ cup tofu = approximately 10-15 grams
- ½ cup cooked lentils = approximately 8–9 grams
- 1 slice whole wheat bread = approximately 4–5 grams
- ¼ cup almonds or walnuts = approximately 6–7 grams
- Two tablespoons peanut butter = approximately 8–9 grams
- 1 cup milk/soy milk/almond milk/rice milk = approximately 8-10g
The Last Word on How Much Protein Should You Eat a Day?
As with any dietary changes, it’s always best to consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your eating habits or lifestyle to determine what will work best for you, given your specific needs and health goals. But understanding how much protein we need based on our lifestyle choices can help us get enough nutrients in our daily diets to stay healthy and thrive!