Earlier this week I went into what Protein actually is, and why it’s important in your diet. Today it’s time to take a closer look at how much protein you actually need to eat.
Protein shakes and bars can have a bit of an image of being associated with Body Builders consuming vast amounts of eggs and meat to bulk up, but increasingly it’s being realised that a high protein intake can be good for everyone from people looking to lose a bit of weight, amateur athletes, endurance runners, and well, pretty much anyone really. But how high is high? What is the minimum you need? And how much is too much?
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The minimum amount of protein recommended each day for an Adult is actually much lower than you might think. In the UK the recommendations are a minimum of 50g of Protein a day. By body weight a number of 0.8g of protein for every Kg of body weight is the current guideline, so at around 10 1/2 stone, a woman needs a minimum of 53g of protein per day. That number might seem low, but it’s the minimum you need to maintain tissue levels. If you’re an endurance or strength athlete, trying to lose weight or be more active then you’ll probably find a much higher intake beneficial.
The amount of protein you actually need each day depends on your activity level, body weight, and the type of exercise you do.
Higher intakes of protein not only help you build muscle and reduce fat, but also help you feel fuller and more satisfied after eating.
There are lots of different studies into protein in athletes, but most sources recommend an intake of around 1.5g per Kg of body weight for active Women, that’s 100g a day for 10 1/2 stone woman. More than 2g per Kg ( 134g per day for our 10 1/2 stone woman) comes up a lot in my reading as a number beyond which it’s unlikely to see any benefits from increased protein intake.
If you’re training for strength you might work towards the higher end of that scale, and if you’re an endurance athlete a little lower.
The most important thing to remember is that keeping your diet balanced and varied should still be your aim, whatever your fitness and weight loss goals!
Further Information and Sources: