Do you eat the right amount of protein? Smart eaters build healthy meals around lean protein. And exercisers often supplement their meals with protein bars or protein powders. But how do you know if you’re eating enough? And what happens if you eat too much? Use this guide to find out how much protein to eat each day, how much protein to consume for exercise and if high protein diets are recommended for weight loss.
How much protein should I eat a day?
The easiest way to evaluate your protein intake is to check your total calorie intake and compare the numbers. Roughly 10% – 35% of your total calories should come from protein. That leaves plenty of room for consumption of healthy fats and energy-boosting carbohydrates. Some studies have shown that people who are trying to lose weight might benefit from eating a diet that is higher in protein. But not necessarily higher than the recommended upper limit of 35 percent.
So what if you don’t know how many calories you consume each day? You can also figure out how much protein to eat per day by using your body weight. An average person needs about 1/2 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you consume .4 to .5 grams per pound (.8 to 1.0 gram/kilogram) you should be eating enough.
How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?
Exercisers usually believe that they need more protein to build muscle and fuel workouts. Experts generally recommend that athletes consume .5 to .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Bodybuilders need slightly more protein (within that range) and endurance athletes need slightly less.
Keep in mind, however, that simply eating more protein won’t help you bulk up or boost sports performance. Protein can only help you build a better body if you’re also doing muscle-boosting workouts on a regular basis.
And remember that more protein is not necessarily better. If you consume too much protein, you might displace other important nutrients that your body needs to build healthy cells and stay energized.
For instance, if your carb intake dips too low, you may notice a decrease in athletic performance. And if you don’t eat enough fat, your skin, hair and nails may suffer. And when you eat too many calories each day, the excess fuel is stored as fat – even if the calories came from healthy protein sources.
How much protein should you eat
If you’re not sure what kind of protein to eat, or if you’re trying to lose weight with a high protein diet, use these guides to make sure you’re eating the right amount of protein and that you’re getting the nutrient from the best sources.
- How Much Protein Is Best for Weight Loss?
- How to Choose Good Lean Protein
- The Best Protein Bars for Lean Eating
- Should I Use a Protein Supplement?