How Many Grams of Protein Per Day Do You Need?When it comes to following a healthy, balanced diet, a common question is: “How much protein do I need?” So how many grams of protein per day do you need? High-protein foods are essential for building muscle, burning fat, supporting metabolism, and even bolstering the health of certain organs like your thyroid and adrenal glands — in other words, we need protein to be healthy. How much protein should you have per day? It really depends on your specific health goals and some other factors.
How Much Protein Do I Need? (How to Determine Protein Intake)To discuss how many grams of protein per day you need, it’s helpful to break it down into three categories or questions:
- How much protein do you need to support healing and body regeneration?
- How much protein do you need to burn fat?
- How much protein do you need to build muscle?
Benefits of ProteinProtein is not only important for building lean muscle tissue, but it’s also critical for organ function. In fact, a lot of your organs, cells and tissues require protein for proper regeneration. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of proper protein intake:
1. Boosts Muscle MassIncreasing your protein intake will boost muscle mass, while also supporting your tendon, ligaments and other body tissues. Whether you are focused on bodybuilding or developing a learner, toned appearance, adequate protein intake is critical. Research also suggests that eating good-quality meat or plant-based proteins also supports muscle recovery and promotes muscle synthesis.
2. Helps with Weight LossResearch shows that proper protein intake increases satiety and promotes the retention of lean muscle mass, while improving metabolic profile. High-protein dietary choices can help you avoid excessive snacking between meals and prevent increased total daily calorie intake, which can contribute to weight loss.
3. Boosts MoodThe amino acids in protein foods help with neurotransmitter function, support hormone balance and help to control mood, which has been shown in studies. This explains why it’s possible for people who lack key amino acids to experience mood-related issues like anxiety, depression and irritability.
4. Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar LevelsInsulin production depends on adequate protein intake, and unlike high-carbohydrate or high-sugar foods, protein does not result in fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Research suggests that dietary protein can also slow down the absorption of sugar during meals.
5. Supports Bone HealthStudies indicate the positive association between eating more foods with protein and better bone health. Adequate protein intake helps treat broken bones and improve bone weakness.
6. Supports Cardiovascular HealthResearch shows that protein intake is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, and a diet high in protein may help reduce high blood pressure.
7. Promotes Healthy Brain FunctionAmino acids are needed to make hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes that are critical for cognitive function. Studies indicate that the brain needs a steady supply of amino acids to maintain healthy energy levels, focus and concentration.
How To Hit 100 Grams Of Protein Without MeatMix and match to make sure you’re getting in at least 20-40 grams per meal, to add up to 100+ per day! To make this list, I tried to think about my busiest clients, who are either stuck at work a lot, driving kids around a lot, or both. What I like about the list below is that it requires minimal preparation and minimal refrigeration! I also tried to include brand recommendations where I think it’s helpful to be specific.
- Canned Salmon (Trader Joe’s “Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon – Boneless/Skinless” as example) – one 6-oz can – 39 g
- Canned Tuna (Trader Joe’s “Albacore Solid White Tuna” as example) – 26 g
- Lentils – one half cup (in raw form) – 24 g
- Smoked Salmon (Vita Classic “Atlantic Nova Salmon” as example) – 4-oz serving – 24 g
- Good Culture Cottage Cheese – one 5.3-oz container – 19 g
- Greek Yogurt (Fage “Total 0% Plain” as example) – one 6-oz container – 18 g
- Egg Whites – one half cup from a carton – 15 g
- Icelandic Yogurt (Siggi’s “Vanilla 0%” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 15 g
- Black Beans – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 14 g
- Greek Yogurt (Fage “TruBlend” as example) – one 5.3-oz container – 13 g
- Trader Joe’s “Yellow Tadka Dal” (Lentils) – whole pouch – 12 g
- Eggs – two hardboiled or scrambled – 12 g
- Chick Peas – one half of a can (drained and rinsed) – 12 g
- Hemp Seeds – three tablespoons – 10 g
- Peanut Butter – natural two tablespoons – 8 g
- Almonds – one quarter cup (whole) – 8 g
- Milk – one cup – 8 g
- Mozzarella Cheese – part-skim, one quarter cup shredded – 7 g
- String Cheese Stick – part-skim mozzarella – 7 g
- Quinoa – one quarter cup (in raw form) – 6 g
- Feta cheese – one ounce – 4 g
- Chia seeds – two tablespoons – 4 g
- A Siggi’s vanilla yogurt for breakfast with three tablespoons hemp seeds, with a piece of fruit with two tablespoons of peanut butter (at least 33 grams)
- A cold lentil and quinoa salad for lunch (at least 30 grams)
- Good Culture cottage cheese with a piece of fruit for snack (at least 19 grams)
- Shakshuka with two eggs for dinner, with one ounce feta and toast (at least 16 grams)
- Fage TruBlend Greek yogurt for dessert, with two tablespoons chia seeds (at least 17 grams)
Benefits of Eating More ProteinAccording to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1.2 to 1.6 grams is the ideal amount of protein for weight loss and many other health benefits. Increased protein consumption can help:
- Reduce waist circumference and overall weight loss
- Reduce triglyceride levels
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve cardiometabolic risk factors
- Manage a range of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndromes and sarcopenia
Excess Consumption of ProteinIt’s perfectly acceptable to increase the amount of protein you eat, but there are, of course, limits to the amount you should consume. According to the Harvard Medical School, eating 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or more could be bad for your health. Some of the negatives that can occur when consuming too much protein include:
- High cholesterol, often associated with the consumption of too much saturated fat, which is found in animal products and other foods like coconuts
- Gastrointestinal system issues, including diarrhea and constipation
- Kidney problems, including kidney stones and kidney disease
- Increased risk of age-related diseases, including heart disease and cancer
- Weight gain