Wondering how much protein per day you should consume? You’re not alone. And the answer is not the same for everyone.
UNDERSTANDING RECOMMENDED DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE
Many people wonder how much protein per day is an adequate amount. The focus on daily protein intake is especially high in the fitness community, as it relates to muscle growth and muscle recovery. Turns out, your ideal daily protein intake depends on who you are and what you do.
RECOMMENDED DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE
How many grams of protein per day each individual needs varies based on their lifestyle, activity level, and fitness goals. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults obtain 10–35 percent of total calories from protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight (that’s 56 grams daily for the average sedentary man and 46 grams daily for the average sedentary woman). For active adults, protein needs are understandably higher; a commonly recommended, yet broad range is 0.8–1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.0–2.0 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight for athletes, depending on training volume and intensity.
This gives you a guideline to work from to determine how many grams of protein per day to aim for in your diet. You should also be aware that there may be reasons to caution against ingesting too much protein. Although widely disputed, extremely high protein intake is rumored to be associated with kidney problems, excess weight gain, and other health issues. In reality, these risks are more likely to be related to the source, rather than the volume, of your protein intake (for example, getting the majority of your dietary protein from fatty, highly-processed meat can be an obvious cause for concern). It’s possible that any nutrition plan, if taken to an extreme, may result in ill effects—ranging from lack of proper nutrient balance to potentially dangerous conditions. Daily protein intake is critical, however the right amount for you depends on numerous variables. Your best bet, as with any diet plan, is to consult with your doctor or a registered dietician to determine the amount of protein that will healthily support your body and your individual goals.
HOW TO GET YOUR DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE
Of course, once you know what to target as your daily protein intake, you also need to determine where to get your protein. Both whole foods and supplements can provide dietary protein, and there are arguments for including both in your nutrition plan.
WHOLE FOODS vs. SUPPLEMENTS
Not all proteins are equal in nutritional value. Let’s briefly review the role of protein in our bodies and why our protein sources matter.
Our bodies need amino acids, which are organic compounds found in proteins, to function properly—22 of them, to be exact. Of these, we make 13 (the non-essential amino acids) within our bodies; the other nine (the essential amino acids) must come from our food. Food protein sources that contain all nine essential amino acids in adequate quantities are considered “complete proteins.” Examples of complete proteins include lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, quinoa, and chia seeds. Incomplete proteins—or proteins that lack some of the nine essential amino acids—include legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and grains. Eaten in combination, incomplete proteins can work together to provide all the essential amino acids.
While most experts agree that the majority of our protein should come from a mix of real food sources, and that it is possible to obtain all of our protein requirement from food, many of us don’t consume enough high-quality protein per day. Supplementation with protein powders is an easy, convenient, and often quicker-to-digest alternative to solid protein sources. The benefits of protein shakes include offering a convenient solution for people who don’t have time to prepare complete protein meals, or who want to take their protein to go. Athletes often reach for protein shakes after workouts as a fast way to aid muscle recovery. And for people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, drinking protein shakes can help increase their intake of high-quality complete proteins.
“OK,” you’re thinking, “I may need to increase how much protein per day I consume. But how do I bump up my daily protein intake?”
It’s easy with a BlenderBottle® protein shaker. Like the name implies, our products are designed to mix protein powder and other ingredients into a perfectly blended shake. In fact, our company was started when the co-founder searched for a way to increase his daily protein intake, yet avoid traditionally lumpy protein shakes. Together with his wife and company co-founder, he invented the BlenderBall® wire whisk—found only in BlenderBottle® brand shakers—to whip around inside the bottle, mixing even the most stubborn ingredients into a smooth, enjoyable shake.
But don’t take our word for it. Try a BlenderBottle® brand shaker yourself and taste just how delicious a smooth, well-mixed protein shake can be. If you’re stuck on ideas for what to include in your shake, we have plenty of protein shake recipes you’re sure to enjoy. And if you’re curious to learn more about protein, why it matters, and the pros and cons of different protein powders, download our free e-book, The Ultimate Starter Guide to Protein.