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How much protein do you need?

As you probably know by now, proteins are the building blocks for muscles, organs, hormones and tendons. If you’re looking to gain muscle and aid recovery, protein based foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, tofu are crucial. Additional protein shakes and bars are a great option to help meet your protein totals in-between meals or after work outs. 

The question is, how much do you actually need? Can you overdo it? And how can you tell when you’re taking enough? We’ll go through all of these key questions in this article, so you’ll feel much clearer about how much protein you need. 

 

How much protein should I take? 

If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, you should aim to consume 1.4-1.6g of protein per kg of body weight each day. You can use different protein supplements to reach these goals, so whether it’s  protein bars, shakes or blends, the choice is yours.  

This differs quite considerably to the recommended protein intake for a sedentary person. A sedentary adult should consume 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight, as it’s still highly important for general health and wellbeing.  

 

How much protein should be in my diet? 

 You should aim to get between 10%-35% of your calories from protein. Let’s say you consume 2000 calories a day, you’d want at least 200 of those to come from protein sources. This is a good balance of protein for overall health. 

If you’re a regular exerciser, aiming for the higher end of that ratio may be a good option. The more calories you burn, the more protein you can eat while staying healthy. Foods that are high in protein leave you feeling fuller for longer than nutrients like carbs, so if you do want to go into a calorie deficit and lose weight, protein can help aid the process.  

 

 Is consuming too much protein bad for me? 

There is so much different information and advice out there when it comes to protein intake, it can be hard to distinguish the facts. But most people reading this don’t have to worry about consuming too much protein as a rule. For people predisposed to kidney disease, overconsumption is certainly something to consider. However, generally, the main worry is the source of the protein itself. If you’re getting your protein from foods that are high in saturated fat, you may gain weight and put yourself at risk of heart disease. You should limit proteins like beef, sausages, bacon, pork and processed meats for this very reason. As an alternative, you can get your protein intake from healthier options like protein shakes and snacks which are low in sugar and calories.  

 

How much protein should I consume to lose weight? 

As we mentioned above, protein can help you feel fuller for longer, which may aid you going into a calorie deficit without the discomfort of hunger. If weight loss is your goal, aim to consume around 1.6 and 2.2g of protein per kg of body weight. If you’re an athlete or an intense trainer you should aim to consume around 2.2-3.4g of protein per kg of body weight to lose weight.  

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Science in Sport