By Melissa Schuster MS RDN CDN IFNCP, owner of Schuster Nutrition, PLLC.

Tips from a Registered Dietitian How Much Protein Do I Really NeedProtein is a macronutrient that is needed for your body’s muscles, immune system, hormones, enzymes, and energy.

Protein can be found in a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, soy, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Our bodies break down protein into amino acids, which our body uses for energy and to build and repair tissues.

The amount of protein you need may vary based on many factors, such as your age, overall health, sex, and activity level. If you engage in regular physical activity, you may need more protein to support muscle recovery. Certain illnesses, injuries and surgeries can increase protein needs to help with immune support and healing. Older adults may also benefit from a higher protein intake to help prevent muscle loss.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults. However, many adults need more than this amount, and it is important to factor in the above considerations when determining your specific needs. If you are doing intense exercise, this number may increase to 1.2 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

It is important to choose high-quality protein sources. When choosing animal protein sources, aim for organic lean meat and poultry, 100% grass fed meats, organic and pasture-raised eggs, organic dairy, and/or wild fish. Be mindful that vegetarians and vegans who are consuming non-animal proteins (like beans, nuts and seeds) may be missing key essential amino acids, so it is important to ensure you’re eating a variety of amino acid sources and pairing complementary foods, like rice and beans.

To find your estimated protein needs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. Then multiply this number by 0.8 – 1.0 to get an estimate of how much protein you need. Increase this to multiplication to 1.2-2.0 if you are very active, are recovering from an injury or illness, are pregnant, or are an older adult.

Aim to spread your protein out throughout the day. Protein helps to balance blood sugar spikes from carbohydrates, so making sure to include protein when eating carbohydrates is helpful for maintaining energy and preventing crashes and cravings. A good rule of thumb is to include 20-30 grams of protein with each meal, and 5-15 grams of protein with snacks.

Determining your exact protein needs can be complex and depends on individual factors. If you want a customized nutrition plan, book a 6-Week 1:1 Concierge Nutrition Bootcamp with Melissa Schuster, MS RDN CDN IFNCP.  https://schusternutrition.com/bootcamp

 

DISCLAIMER: This information contained in this post is not, and should not be construed as, medical advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. Each individual’s situation, nutritional needs and medical situation are different, and the information contained in this post may not be appropriate for your personal situation. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before implementing any change to your lifestyle, food intake, exercise regimen or medical treatment.

 

© 2024 Schuster Nutrition, PLLC

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