Protein is an essential macronutrient needed for blood health and tissue repair, and provides energy and helps to build muscle. Different health organizations and nutritionists have varying takes on how much protein the body actually needs, but some standard guidelines exist that can help you determine your ideal daily protein intake. Consult with your physician for protein recommendations specific to your needs.
MayoClinic.com suggests consuming between 50 and 175 g of protein each day, depending on your activity level. ExRx.net, a website dedicated to physical fitness, recommends that women consume 40 g per day, while men should strive for about 55 to 70 g. The FDA does not set daily protein requirements because protein needs depend on so many individual factors, and adequate protein intake is generally not a concern for anyone over 4 years of age.
Grams By Body Weight
A widely used formula for calculating your specific protein needs is to consume 0.8 g of protein for every 1 kg of body weight. A 68 kg person would need to consume about 54 to 55 g of protein each day. Most people have no trouble consuming enough protein in their diet, as the average adult gets about 100 g each day. To figure out your protein needs based on this guide, multiply your weight in pounds by .454 to get your weight in kilograms, then multiply the result by 0.8.
Percentage of Total Calories
Protein should account for about 10 percent to 15 percent of your total calories, according to exercise physiologists Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle. If you consume an average of 2,000 calories each day, at least 200 to 300 calories should come from protein. Protein contains 4 calories per 1 g, so in this case you would need about 50 to 75 g each day. You can determine your exact caloric needs using an online calorie calculator, then determine your protein needs.
Increased Need With Exercise
Highly active individuals place greater stress on their muscles and increase the body's need for protein to stimulate new tissue growth. Healthy adults who exercise at least 30 minutes daily might need up to 1.5 to 2.0 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. A 68 kg athlete would therefore need about 102 to 136 g of protein each day.
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle (editors); 2008
- ExRx.net: Protein