Exactly How Much Protein Do You Need on a Daily Basis?

Protein powder and shake.
How Much Protein Do You Need? (Image Source: Shutterstock)
A man putting protein powder on his shaker bottle thinking how much protein he needs daily.
Protein Has Been The Main Source Of Building Muscle (Image source: Unsplash)

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

This well-toned woman lifting weights probably gets enough protein
Are You Getting Enough Protein? (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Average People

The RDA for Protein = 0.8 gm per kg of body weight

Vegans

Protein needs for a vegan diet are only slightly higher, due to the bioavailability of the protein source resulting in 0.9 gm per kg of body weight.

Post-Exercise

help to stimulate muscle growth. It can be in the form of food, a post-workout shake, a bar, or as a nutritious snack or meal depending on your schedule.

During Exercise

No, except during ultra-endurance exercise. Athletes may benefit from consuming protein during events that are longer than 3 to 5 hours.

Best Time To Ingest Protein To Support Muscle Anabolism (Muscle Building)

I recommend distributing it throughout the day.* Aim to consume about 20–30 gm of high-quality protein (or 0.25 g/kg body weight) in 3–5 small meals, spaced evenly with an additional 20–40 grams consumed before sleep (preferably casein since it is slow digesting). If you want to use a protein supplement, then be sure to read up on the types of protein powder that are available. This will help you select the best one to match your dietary needs.

Athletes

Foods that provide all of the essential amino acids are best for muscle synthesis. Milk might have the advantage over single-source proteins like soy because milk contains both whey and casein. Whey protein is more effective than casein alone, and soy is slightly less effective than whey on muscle protein synthesis.

Diets to Lose Weight

Some evidence suggests the answer is yes; protein intakes of 1.8 to 2.7 gm/kg/body weight or at the higher end of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution range of 30% to 35% seem advantageous to preserve lean mass and enhance fat loss (additive effect when exercise is also performed.)

Protein Synthesis

Injury Recovery

Consume sufficient energy (i.e. calories) for healing and recovery. This should be a high protein diet/ Aim for 1.6 to 2.5 gm per kg of body weight, spaced evenly throughout 4 to 6 feedings a day. This will help you to prevent the loss of muscle mass when recovering from an injury.

Supplements vs Dietary Sources

It’s easy enough to consume a protein bar as a quick healthy snack. However, there is no evidence that supplements are superior to food sources. Rather, foods provide essential nutrients that are not present in supplements. However, the convenience of supplements might suit your lifestyle.

The Bottom-Line on Protein Intake

As you can see, individual needs are a complex topic and vary widely depending on the individual. If this information seems daunting, the most important takeaway is to space your daily intake throughout the day and aim for about 20–30 grams per meal and 5–15 grams for snacks.

Resources

Protein Powder: Answering Athlete’s Questions About Protein

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