How Much Protein Do You Need? Here's How To Tell
Here are five factors that influence how much protein to add to your daily diet.
1. Your activity level is high.
Not only do protein-rich foods build lean muscle and make you feel satiated longer, they also give your metabolism a boost, as protein takes more energy for your body to break down and digest than carbohydrates.Whether you exercise or not, all adult males should aim to consume at least 56 grams of protein a day, while adult women should get 46 grams.
2. You lift weights.
Different workouts stress muscles in different ways, creating unique nutrition needs depending on your fitness routine. “As a result, you’ll want to consume an extra 20 to 25 grams of high quality protein on days you weight lift to encourage the muscle repair and growth.”
3. You prefer cardio.
Endurance activities like walking, swimming or jogging don’t put as much strain on muscles, so adding another 10 to 15 grams of protein should suffice
4. You’re over 50.
Double your protein. Turns out older adults need twice the amount of protein as younger adults to efficiently build and maintain muscle, a study in the Journal of Physiology suggests.If you’re over 50, aim for at least 40 grams of high quality protein after strength training — instead of 20 — and at least 20 grams after endurance training versus 10 to 15.
“Generally speaking, animal proteins are considered a complete protein — meaning they contain all essential amino acids necessary to make new proteins — whereas vegetable proteins may be lacking some,” says Spano. That means you may need to consume more vegetable protein to achieve your total protein goal. “Where you’d consume 20 to 25 grams of whey protein, you’d want to double it — maybe go up to 30 or 40 grams — with vegetable proteins like rice, pea or soy, which are still exceptional protein options,” says Spano.