How Much Protein Do We Need?

Read our related article "How Do Vegans Get Their Protein?"

Facts About Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient without which we could not survive. For most of us, our daily protein requirements are easily achieved by a healthy, balanced diet. Protein is composed of amino acids. This building block of life also takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, helping you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories.

Daily Protein Requirements

The amount of protein varies from person to person, but here is some general guidance:

  • For most of us, a typical daily dose of around 0.8-1 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight is sufficient for normal body functions.
  • For strength athletes (i.e., weightlifters, football, crossfit), it is recommended to increase the daily intake to 1.2-1.7 g per kg of body weight (though many bodybuilding protein powders will recommend you take more than this).
  • For endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, swimmers, 1.2-1.4 g of protein per kg of body weight per day is advised.
  • Protein supply is particularly crucial after exercise since the muscles need it to recover and grow. This is why a portion of protein (15-25 g from a meal, or a scoop of protein powder) is recommended within 30 minutes of completing exercise. 

Protein Content In Food

For a list of foods such as chickpeas, navy beans, peanut butter, milk, etc. and their protein content, read this related article.

Over Consumption

There is evidence to support the claim that, in the long-term, consuming too much protein (recommended daily amounts are 55.5 g for the average man and 45 g for the average woman) can lead to health issues such as an increased risk of osteoporosis and a worsening of an existing kidney problem.

So instead of dousing yourself in protein powder wanting to build muscle, consider instead a healthy meal with peas, brown rice, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, and other plant-based sources of protein.