To calculate your protein need based on your weight, you can use one of the following formulas:
• Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. This is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for adults. This is the minimum amount to prevent deficiency, not the optimal amount for health.
• Multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8. This is another way to express the RDA for protein for adults.
• Multiply your weight in kilograms by 1.2 to 2.0. This is the suggested range of protein intake for athletes or people who are very active. This may be higher than the RDA for protein for adults.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you can calculate your protein need as follows:
• 150 x 0.36 = 54 grams of protein per day (RDA)
• 68 x 0.8 = 54.4 grams of protein per day (RDA)
• 68 x 1.2 = 81.6 grams of protein per day (minimum for athletes)
• 68 x 2.0 = 136 grams of protein per day (maximum for athletes)
You can also use online calculators or apps to estimate your protein needs based on your personal information.
Why do I need protein?
Protein is essential for your health and well-being, because:
• It helps build and repair tissues, such as muscles, bones, skin and hair. Protein provides the essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own and that are needed for tissue synthesis and maintenance.
• It supports immune function and helps fight infections. Protein helps produce antibodies, cytokines and other immune cells that protect your body from pathogens and inflammation.
• It produces enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate various body processes. Protein is involved in the synthesis of many molecules that control digestion, metabolism, blood sugar, mood, sleep and more.
• It provides a source of energy when carbohydrates and fats are not available. Protein can be converted into glucose or ketones when your body needs fuel but does not have enough carbs or fats to burn.
• It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Protein helps regulate the movement of water and minerals across cell membranes and prevents dehydration and edema.
• It helps curb appetite and increase satiety, which may aid in weight management. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs or fats and stimulates the release of hormones that reduce hunger and increase fullness.
What are some benefits of eating enough protein?
Eating enough protein can have many benefits for your health and performance, such as:
• It can help you build muscle mass and strength. Protein provides the amino acids that are needed for muscle protein synthesis , which is the process of creating new muscle fibers . Eating enough protein , especially after exercise , can help stimulate this process and increase muscle growth .
• It can help you preserve muscle mass and prevent sarcopenia . Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass , strength , and function . It can increase the risk of falls , fractures , disability , and mortality . Eating enough protein , especially combined with resistance training , can help prevent or slow down sarcopenia by maintaining muscle mass .
• It can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight . Protein can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolic rate , reducing your appetite , preserving your muscle mass , and improving your body composition . Protein can also help you maintain a healthy weight by preventing weight regain after weight loss .
• It can help you improve your bone health . Protein can help you improve your bone health by supporting bone formation , increasing calcium absorption , reducing bone loss , and lowering the risk of osteoporosis . Protein can also help prevent fractures by maintaining muscle mass and strength .
• It can help you lower your blood pressure . Protein can help you lower your blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels , improving your kidney function , reducing sodium retention , and modulating hormonal responses . High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease , stroke , kidney disease , and dementia .
• It can help you improve your blood sugar control . Protein can help you improve your blood sugar control by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates , stimulating insulin secretion , enhancing insulin sensitivity , and preserving muscle mass . Good blood sugar control can prevent or manage diabetes , metabolic syndrome , and other related conditions .
What are some sources of plant-based protein?
Plant-based protein refers to protein that comes from plants rather than animals. Plant-based protein can be a good choice for people who want to reduce their intake of animal products for ethical, environmental or health reasons. Some examples of plant-based protein are:
• Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk. Soy is one of the few plant proteins that contains all nine essential amino acids and is also rich in phytoestrogens, antioxidants and fiber.
• Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans and kidney beans. Beans and legumes are high in protein and fiber and also provide complex carbs, iron, folate and other nutrients.
• Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. Nuts and seeds are high in protein and healthy fats and also contain minerals, antioxidants
• Whole grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, oats
and brown rice. Whole grains are not only sources
of complex carbs but also contain some protein
and fiber as well as vitamins B
• Nutritional yeast, which is a deactivated form
of yeast that has a cheesy flavor
and can be sprinkled on salads,
Nutritional yeast is high in protein
and also provides vitamin B12
which is often lacking in vegan diets.
• Seitan, which is a meat-like product made from wheat gluten
Seitan is high in protein but low in carbs
and can be used to make vegan versions