How Much Protein do I need?

How Much Protein Do I Need


Note: this post was updated in September 2022.

How Much Protein do I need? That is the big question, as it seems like most everyone is concerned about vegans not getting enough protein. We need to get a big picture of what protein is and how much we need to function. Protein is one of the six essential nutrients necessary for energy and materials for life-building processes in the human body. Thus, the term essential nutrients.

Need for Protein

One of the first things that will happen when you first transition to a plant-based diet is that your friends and family (and even mere acquaintances) will suddenly locate their nutrition degree in the back of their closet. Remember, everyone is talking about protein and is an expert. But you might be shocked to realize that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not believe anyone is in danger of protein deficiency, including vegans.

Eating healthy can be expensive

According to a sports and nutrition company, My Protein study, living a healthy lifestyle can cost more than college tuition. The study surveyed 1,350 U.S. adults from 18 to 65 years old and found that the average American spends $155 each month on health and fitness. That’s $112,000 throughout a lifetime – $13,000 more than the average tuition costs for a public, four-year college education.

Most people eat too much Protein

Most people are eating far more protein than their body needs. The CDC recommends that people consume between 10 and 35% of their daily caloric needs in healthy forms of protein. It equates to approximately fifty-six grams of protein for an adult man, which means forty-six grams. Remember these are for whatever the CDC has determined is moderate, and the amount that is right for you may be different. Another way to look at the protein requirements is shown below. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the number of nutrients you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, it’s the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick — not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.

Too much Protein causes illness

Overeating protein is associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers, and truth be known, why are we focused on one source of macronutrients instead of the entire picture? No one asked where you got your fiber when you were chowing down on that steak. Fiber is something most people do not consume enough of, with the average American consuming about a third of their daily requirements. View The Protein Myth from one of the most respected sources of medical information available.

When you put that in perspective with the over-consumption of protein, most Americans eat twice the recommended maximum.

While eating enough calories and macronutrients is essential, protein is not one of the nutrients anyone needs to worry about if they’re not in an actual famine. Overeating protein for your needs will cause health issues you don’t want to have, such as obesity, kidney problems, heart problems, and even cancer. Other long-term illnesses resulting from too much protein are neurological issues, gout, and insulin resistance. When looking at science, it’s clear that protein is not something a person living in a culture with abundant food sources should be concerned about.

How much Protein is needed?

The official recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams for every pound of body weight. At 150 pounds, you’d need about fifty-four grams of protein per day to meet this target.

If you’re an athlete who is trying to build muscle, if you’re pregnant or lactating, or if you’re under exceptional emotional stress, the recommendation is to get at least 0.45 grams of protein daily per pound of body weight (which means, at 150 pounds, you’d need about 67.5 grams of protein daily).

New research finds that older adults tend not to absorb protein efficiently, so that seniors may need more.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that anyone over age 65 get between 0.44 and 0.52 grams of daily protein per pound of body weight. (This means a senior weighing 150 pounds might need between 66-and 78 grams of protein daily.)

To determine your RDA for protein, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. For example, a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds and is sedentary (doesn’t exercise) translates into fifty-three grams of protein daily. – via How Much Protein do we Need Every Day

Here’s a chart that can help you assess your protein needs. It was developed by New York Times bestselling author and Food Revolution Summit speaker Kris Carr:

Your Daily Protein Needs*

1. Find your “P” value.
Kids aged 4 to 13 = 0.43
Adolescents aged 14 to 18 = 0.39
Adults aged 19 to 64 (moderately active) = 0.36
Seniors ages 65+ and special needs = 0.44 to 0.522.

2. To calculate your needs, multiply your lean body weight (in pounds) by your “P” value to determine how many grams are recommended daily. (If you are significantly overweight, you may adjust the formula to base it on what you consider a healthy body weight.)

*Based on the available research, these suggestions are intended for general health, disease prevention, and longevity. But for specific contexts, such as power athletes and weightlifters, research shows that higher protein intakes may be advisable in some instances. We are each biochemically and metabolically unique, so listen to your body, use your own best judgment, and consult with your healthcare professional for guidance wherever applicable. – via Plant-Based Protein: Here’s What You Need to Know

Time to Act

Science confirms that a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods can help you live to the fullest and still get adequate protein. Many physicians advocate an entirely plant-based diet for many of their patients who have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Check out these great sources:

Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides),

Nutrition Facts: The Truth About Food and

The Forks Over Knives Plan.

The Forks over Knives plan is a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.

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I am whole food plant-based vegan living in Maitland, Florida. Suppose you love reading and engaging in conversations about health and fitness, mainly the plant-based lifestyle. You will love my blog called "Revolutionize your Health." The blog posts are all related to health conscience individuals, where I bring cutting-edge material important to all of us, especially for the plant-based community.

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