How much protein do we need?

Healthy protein is an essential component of our daily diets. Here's how to figure out how much protein you need and where to get it.

Recommended daily allowance of protein
Another method of calculation
An alternative calculation is to go by your current body weight. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is to consume 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. On average, based on the RDA, the average male who weighs 154 pounds should consume approximately 56 grams of protein per day, while the average female who weighs 110 pounds should consume approximately 40 grams of protein per day.

The RDA increases by 30 grams per day during pregnancy and 20 grams per day during lactation. During growth, different amounts are needed. For example, 2.2 grams of protein are needed per kilogram of body weight each day in the first six months of life, and 2.0 grams per kilogram for the next six months.

Many nutritional experts feel the RDA for protein is far too low and is only suitable for sedentary adults. For those who are active, insulin sensitive, overweight or seeking weight loss or are in their teenage years, the amount of protein should be higher. If this is the case, you will likely need to increase your protein intake from the RDA's recommendation of 0.8 g/kg to 1.2-1.8 g/kg. The calculation would be:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg
2. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm

If you are pregnant, recovering from an illness, stuck in a metabolic rut, under stress or work out intensely, I recommend using a number between 1 and 1.8. The calculation would be:

Example: 150 lb female who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights

150 lbs/2.2 = 68kg
68kg x 1.5 = 102 gm protein/day

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