How Much Protein Per Meal is Necessary for Healthy Living?
We all know that protein is essential for the overall growth of the human body. The amount of protein your body needs relies on numerous factors and isn’t one-size-fits-all. But have you ever wondered how much protein is necessary for your body? And how do you calculate how much protein you need, how much is too much, and who needs more protein?
Here let’s discuss this in detail below
What is Protein?
Proteins are organic molecules that are present in living organisms. It is found in meat, milk, eggs, and beans. Protein is made up of a combination of different amino acids. It is a necessary part of the diet and is essential for normal cell structure and functions.
Why is it Important?
Humans can’t survive without all nine essential amino acids, and proteins are made up of chemical building blocks known as amino acids. Protein has many roles in the human body; it helps create, repair, and regulate the cells in the human body. Protein is also essential for building bones and body tissues. It also maintains and balances pH levels and fluid levels. Proteins are used to create muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, and it also produces enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and various molecules that serve many important functions.
Eating high-protein food has many benefits, such are noted below:
- Increases muscle mass and strength
- Strengthen your bones
- Reduces appetite, cravings, late-night snacking, and hunger level
- Improves metabolism and increases fat burning
- It helps in maintaining weight loss
- Reduces muscle loss
- It helps in building lean muscle
- Creates antibodies
Protein deficiency occurs when your food intake cannot meet your body’s requirements. Studies show that over one billion people worldwide suffer from protein deficiency. A few signs of protein deficiency are-
- Mood swings
- Feeling hungry
- Weakness and fatigue
- Hair, nail, and skin problems
- Slow healing process
- Sugar craving
- Loss of muscle mass
If you are witnessing any of the signs mentioned above, increase your protein intake. Or consult with a doctor about this issue.
On the other side, as it is important to avoid protein deficiency, it is also important to not overconsume protein. Over consumption of protein is not used efficiently by the body; it may impose a metabolic burden on kidneys, livers, and bones. It also increases the risk of coronary heart disease. A few risks of overeating protein-
- Weight gain
- Bad breath
- Kidney damage
- Heart disease
- Calcium loss
How Much Protein Does the Average Person Needs?
An average adult should consume 0.8 grams of proteins per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound. It implies that the average man should consume 56 grams of protein daily, and the average woman should eat about 46 grams daily.
Good Source of Proteins
A few good sources of proteins are:
- Meat and Seafood– Lean meats, poultry, fish, beef, lamb & goat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products are excellent protein sources. Roasting, poaching, baking, and grilling are a few lower-fat cooking methods.
- Plant-based protein– Spinach, kale, whole grains such as quinoa, wheat, corn, rice, soy, nuts, tofu, chickpeas, & lentils.
How Much Protein is Required for Certain Group of People?
As we have discussed, the requirement for protein is not the same for all; certain groups need more protein as compared to an average human being, such as:
Vegetarians or Vegan?
Most people think that only non-vegetarian foods contain protein, and if you eat only a plant-based diet, you are not consuming enough protein. But that’s not true. There are several vegetarian foods available that can provide amino acids to fulfill your body’s protein deficiency.
However, Vegetarian and vegan people need to pay more attention to fulfilling their body’s protein requirements. You can eat a diet with protein-rich legumes and soy protein to keep your muscles and body healthy. Some vegetarian protein sources are Greek yogurt, nuts, quinoa, & peanut butter.
If you are exercising and want to strengthen your muscle, you need to pay special attention to how much protein your body needs. You need to take 2 grams/kilogram of body weight each day to maintain your muscle mass. You will easily get 10 to 35 percent of protein from your daily intake; apart from this, you also need 15 to 25 grams of protein within an hour of post-workout to get the required results.
You can include milk, soybeans, salmon, beef, chicken, eggs, and nuts like peanuts to maintain your meal’s protein intake. Along with this, you can also consume whey protein supplements to fulfill your protein deficiency.
As we grow older, our body becomes less efficient in transforming the protein into new muscles resulting in muscle loss. It can also lead to weakness, frailty, and loss of mobility. Hence it is essential to increase your protein intake after crossing the age of 65. According to studies, 68 grams and 80 grams of protein are required for a 150-pound woman and a 180-pound man, respectively.
Pregnant & Breastfeeding
The need for protein increases, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers’ bodies need more calories and protein to make enough milk. Similarly, pregnant women need to eat a minimum of 1.1 grams/kilogram of body weight per day or around 70 grams of protein.
How to Calculate Protein Needs?
Now, you must be wondering how to calculate my protein needs? Don’t worry; it’s very easy. The commonly suggested range of protein for both men and women is roughly around 0.8 to 1.0 grams per pound of weight (in kilograms) or 0.36 to 0.45 grams per pound of body weight. In simple words, an average sedentary man should consume around 56 grams of protein per day. Similarly, an average woman should take about 46 grams of protein daily. To calculate how much protein is good for you, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 or use an online calculator.
Protein is an essential nutrient for whole-body growth. Every human’s body requirement is different, so it is necessary to calculate how much protein your body requires. We hope that the above-given pieces of information are beneficial for you. But if you are unsure or confused about how much protein to consume, you can consult a professional.
Can you live on a protein-only diet?
A protein-only diet encourages weight loss by curbing appetite and reducing the total calories a person consumes daily. Although these diets can be effective in the short term, doctors and healthcare professionals do not recommend this.
Does protein have any negative health effects?
Until now, there is no such evidence that consuming high or too much protein food harms bones, liver, or kidney health.
What are the negative effects of protein?
Consumption of too much protein increases the risk of weight gain, bad breath, constipation, heart diseases, and kidney damage.
What “gram of protein” really means
Many people get confused between protein and gram of protein. A gram of protein refers to the number of grams of the macronutrient protein, not the number of grams of protein-containing foods such as meat or eggs.