Protein Power, How Much We Need?

Protein provides about four calories per gram, similar to carbohydrate, and is an essential component of virtually thousands of substances in your body. Cells, tissues, hormones, and enzymes all rely on protein for their building blocks. Protein also plays a key role in fluid balance and immune function. The newest recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences suggest that protein can provide from 10% to 35% of your total calorie intake. This relatively wide range illustrates differences in individual protein needs. You can estimate your own needs in one of several ways:
  • Method 1—As a percentage of your total calorie needs
  • Method 2—Based on healthy body weight in kilograms (per Recommended Dietary Allowance)
  • Method 3—Based on body weight in pounds and activity level
For simplicity’s sake, use Method 3 in the table below to get a rough estimate of your protein needs.

Protein is present in many foods. Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are common animal sources of protein. However, beans, lentils, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds also provide protein, are low in cholesterol and saturated fats, and are rich in other important nutrients.

notice : A registered dietitian (RD) can help you determine your protein needs more accurately based on your health history, goals, and personal preferences.

See below table for Estimating your daily protein needs.

Sedentary (little daily activity through exercise or occupation)    

       0.4 to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight                              

 Moderately Active (exercise 3 to 5 days per week at a moderate  

 intensity)      0.5 to 0.7 grams per pound of body weight               

 Very Active (exercise 6 to 7 days per week at a challenging         

 intensity OR physically demanding occupation)                            0.7 to 1.0                                                                                   

 grams per pound of body weight                                                      
Example :
(Continuing with Sandra from earlier):    
Sandra is probably on the low end of moderately active, so    
multiply her body weight in pounds by 0.5 to 0.6 grams protein to estimate her daily needs.
175 lbs X 0.5 to 0.6 grams protein = 88 to 105 grams protein per day.