How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?
Protein - you know it’s good for you, but what exactly does it do and how many grams of protein should you be eating per day?
In this blog, we’ll review why protein is so important to your overall health, the daily recommended amount of protein you should be getting and where you can find high-quality sources of protein.
What Does Protein Actually Do?
To understand just how important it is to get enough protein in your diet, let’s actually break down what protein does.
Proteins are commonly referred to as “the building blocks of life,” mainly because they’re found in every single cell in your body. Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, which provide essential support to your overall bodily function.
Consuming protein-rich food helps your body repair + make new cells, aids in digestion, promotes healthy tissue + organ function, protects your immune system, and stores energy for when you need it the most.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
When it comes to daily protein intake, the recommended DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for the average sedentary man or woman is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about .36 grams of protein per pound.
For example, a healthy woman weighing 130 pounds would need to consume about 46.8 grams of protein per day.
While other factors such as age, muscle mass, daily activity and your specific weight goals may impact how much protein you eat, this is the general recommendation to avoid slipping into a protein deficiency. All dietary decisions should be discussed with your doctor, dietitian or healthcare provider.
Protein and Muscle Growth
While we’ve covered how much protein you need to maintain your body's general functions, what if you’re looking to increase muscle mass?
If you’re hitting the gym regularly or just looking for a high protein diet, you need to refuel your body with more muscle-friendly proteins than you’re breaking down. (Makes sense, right?) Muscles are made up of proteins, so they need the extra amino acids from external protein sources to grow.
Typically, the recommended amount of protein for active gym goers increases to about .7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Again, be sure to discuss any dietary plans with your doctor, dietitian or healthcare provider.
Protein Rich Foods
Now that we’ve established how vital protein is to your health, let's take a look at some protein-rich foods that can help you meet your daily recommended amount of protein.
It’s long-been a myth that the best protein sources come from eating large amounts of red meat or animal protein. In fact, there are actually tons of plant-based protein options that provide just as many healthy nutrients to the body.
Depending on your dietary restrictions or preferences, here are some of our favorite protein sources.
- Lean Beef
What About Protein Drinks?
Other dietary supplements, such as protein shakes, powders or energy bars, can be great ways to add more protein to your diet as well. These supplements typically require less time to cook or prepare than other protein-rich foods, which makes them even better if you’re in a hurry or on-the-go.
Most protein powders and beverages use whey protein, which is made from the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Whey protein delivers a high amount of essential amino acids to the body and has been found to help reduce cholesterol and support weight loss.
Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) is a predigested form of whey, meaning it's much easier and faster for our bodies to absorb. This makes WPH particularly beneficial for athletes or anyone who stays highly active throughout the week. Since WPH is fast-absorbing, it's able to quickly and efficiently deliver the amino acids your muscles depend on for recovery & growth.
Protein powders and drinks that contain WPH, like BuzzFit Coffee + Protein, can be great pre or post workout fuel.
If you’re a coffee drinker, consider switching to a protein coffee like BuzzFit to add an extra 10g of protein to your routine without having to buy or make any additional protein snacks!