How Much Protein Do You Really Need to Eat?

It can be confusing to decipher how much protein you should eat in a day, as different people and organizations recommend varying amounts of the muscle-building nutrient. However, most people fall into relatively simple categories when it comes to how much protein they should eat — as long as you’re not a bodybuilder or professional athlete, who will definitely require more.

Protein Recommendations For Adults
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is set at 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day. If you don’t have a calculator handy, that equates to about 54 grams for someone weighing 150 pounds.

However, if you are active throughout the day, whether through exercise, sports, or working on your feet, you may need to boost your protein intake up to 1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. (That would increase our fictional 150-pound-person’s protein to 68 grams per day.)

Protein for Weight Loss
Some research has indicated that eating more protein can help with weight loss. Protein is one of the more satiating macronutrients, taking longer to digest than carbohydrates. This allows protein-rich meals to keep you full without having a lot of calories. One study found that increasing daily protein intake to 1.8 to 2 grams per kilogram (about 0.8 to 0.9 grams per pound) of body weight may help with weight loss while preserving muscle mass.

How to Get Enough Protein
Most people do get enough protein, even if they aren’t gorging on steak and eggs every day. While meat, poultry, and seafood do contain the most protein per ounce, many other foods also have protein, including beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, and, of course, protein powder.

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