How Much Protein Should You Eat?

July 21, 2015


Protein… Too Much or Too Little?

Nutrition science has clearly demonstrated that every cell in our bodies are made up of protein. This includes hair, hormones, blood cells, muscle cells, skin, etc. A complicated combination of only 20 different Amino Acids makes up every type of protein in our bodies and and even those in nature like germs and the foods we eat. 
Our bodies require a certain amount of protein every day in order to continue making new cells and to maintain health. Protein is especially known for it’s ability to build muscle cells that allow for adaptations to exercise training. However, protein consumed in excess when not needed for cell growth is converted to carbohydrate and used for energy. 
Many body building communities believe in mega doses of protein in order to build muscle following training sessions. A simple google search showed recommendations of 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For an average 200 pound man, this equates to 400 grams of protein per day, roughly 1600 calories from protein alone. These types of diets place additional strain on our livers and kidneys and tend to be expensive due to the high cost of protein powders and meat sources of protein. 
Science has recently focused more on timing of protein intake to maintain metabolism and synthesize muscle throughout the day. A recommendation of 20-30 grams three times daily, depending on body weight is the most current recommendation. Quality sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, yogurt, beans, soy, nuts and seeds and eggs. 
Regular and consistent intake of quality protein takes planning. Many Americans do not consume enough protein at breakfast and over consume during the dinner and later hours of the day. A range of 1-1.2 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight is the current recommendation for active adults. Splitting up your daily needs is the best way to ensure you are consuming regular, balanced meals throughout the day. Are you getting enough or too much?
For additional questions or specific targets for protein intake, contact 

The Author

Karen Bobos, MSed

Karen M. Bobos, MSed, has been in the fitness industry since 1996 and feels her highest accomplishments are those results achieved by her clients through her guidance. She educates clients that there is no trick to being healthy, no magic pills, but rather optimal health is achieved through eating right and moving your body.

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