How Many Grams Of Protein For Weight Loss

How Many Grams Of Protein Do You Need To Help You Lose Weight?   I’m absolutely shocked when it comes to the actual number of people that have this question.  It’s a fairly straightforward question though. The majority of high protein diets has you taking in 1g per pound of body weight, but when you’re losing weight, how much do you need?

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:
  1. How much protein do you need to support healing and body regeneration?
  2. How much protein do you need to burn fat?
  3. How much protein do you need to build muscle?
In general, if you just want to support overall health and longevity, consuming about 50 percent of your body weight in grams of protein per day is ideal. In this case, if you weigh 160 pounds, then getting about 80 grams daily from healthy protein sources is recommended. Therefore, if you’re eating three meals a day, you want to aim for about 25 grams from high-protein foods in each meal. Second, let’s say you’re trying to really burn body fat fast and looking for the right fat-burning foods. This increases your protein requirements. In fact, many people (especially women) who hope to lose body fat actually have a protein deficiency, which is why it’s recommended to consume about 0.7 grams to 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily to burn fat and lose weight. Essentially, you’re going to replace some of those extra carbohydrates in your diet with more sources of protein. In this case, if you weigh 160 pounds, then multiply that figure by 0.75. At this weight, you’ll want to consume close to 100 to maybe 120 grams total daily. So if you eat four meals a day, aim to consume 25 to 30 grams worth of high-proteins foods. Third, if you’re trying to build muscle, take your weight and multiply it by one to determine how many grams you need from high-protein foods daily. So if you weigh 160 pounds and want to pack on some muscle, then you should be trying to get 160 grams of protein daily. Over four meals, that’d be 40 grams of protein intake for each. In a nutshell, to figure out how much protein you need in a day depends on your health and fitness goals, so use these general guidelines to help you find the right protein intake for you.

Benefits of Protein

Protein 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 Mass

Increasing 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 Loss

Research 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 Mood

The 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 Levels

Insulin 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 Health

Studies 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 Health

Research 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 Function

Amino 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 Meat

Mix 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
When you look at it this way, it’s easy to hit your protein goals even if you don’t eat meat other than fish. But even if you skip the fish, you could have:
  • 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)
With a little planning, it’s easy! And if you eat fish, the options are even easier. Most of my clients aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but on the other hand, most of them always don’t want to feel like they’re constantly eating meat. I feel the same way. For omnivores, being intentional and creative about non-meat protein intake can help to diversify your diet and increase the amount of fiber you take in, as well.

Benefits of Eating More Protein

According 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
For certain people, consuming more protein is essential. For instance, athletes are more active than the average person and typically require increased amounts of calories. Depending on the sport, they may also actively be trying to become leaner or build muscle mass. The protein consumption of athletes can vary substantially given the type of sport, whether or not the athlete is trying to lose weight or build muscle and a variety of other factors. According to an interview with Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., in Today’s Dietitian, the protein consumption of athletes can range between ​1.2 and 1.7 grams per kilogram​ of body weight depending on the sport. Endurance athletes typically consume less protein, in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Strength and power athletes, on the other hand, can consume up to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Excess Consumption of Protein

It’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
Consuming large amounts of protein over a short period of time likely won’t affect you in these ways. However, long-term consumption of a high-protein diet may negatively affect your health. If you choose to consume a substantial amount of protein each day, it’s important to make sure that you still ​eat a balanced diet.​ In this case, that would mean choosing different types of protein, like fatty fish, eggs and plant-based proteins, as well as animal products. Consuming a variety of proteins will help increase the amount of nutrients in your diet, reduce the amount of saturated fat you’re consuming and be better for your overall health.

Consuming Too Little Protein

Consuming too little protein is just as bad as consuming too much over long periods of time. People who consume too little protein may simply be adhering to vegan, vegetarian or other diets that feature many plant-based foods. Regardless of the diet you choose to follow, a balanced diet should typically have about 50 to 60 percent carbohydrates, 12 to 20 percent protein and 30 percent fat. Using these ratios as a guideline, you can adjust your protein consumption to whatever is best for you. You should be aware that a protein intake of less than 5 percent, can cause ​loss of muscle mass​ and is considered to be too little to sustain good health. Even low-fat, low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets involve consuming a minimum of this much protein. If you want to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of protein each day, you can use the United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator. This tool will not only show you how much protein to eat, but the amounts of all the nutrients you should consume to maintain good overall health. These days, many different apps are also available to help you determine the amount of protein that’s suitable for you, regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or just stay healthy.

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