This is an age-old question that has stumped nutritionists, scientists, dieters, and health conscious individuals for decades. Vegetarians and vegans constantly put up with inquiries as to whether they’re getting enough proteins, and it turns out that regular meat-eaters may be getting too much protein. Read on to find out more about the basic recommendation for protein intake, and some additional factors to consider when planning your meals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that on any given day, roughly 35% of your calorie intake should come from protein. The specific Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein varies depending on sex and age group. For females over the age of 19, the CDC says that 46 grams of protein per day are needed for healthy function. For males in the same age range, that requirement is 56 grams per day.
These guidelines are certainly useful, but there are additional factors to consider…
Weight and Activity
The CDC guidelines are based on the idea that people should take in about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, for a sedentary person. So, while 46 and 56 grams of protein may be the average amount of protein that an individual needs in a day, it’s wise to calculate your own personal RDA of protein depending on your specific weight.
And, if you’re particularly athletic, you may need to up your protein intake to between 1.6 and 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, in order to properly build muscle, compensate for sweat loss, and rebuild your body after a tough workout. Beyond that, your needs may also differ based on the type of exercise you do. Athletes who stick to aerobic exercise should go for 1.4-1.6 g/kg, and athletes who prefer anaerobic exercises like weight lifting and sprinting should go for a slightly higher amount of 1.4-1.8 g/kg.