How Much Protein Do I Need?
Protein has been a popular and trending topic in the news and research for some time. Some sources tell us that we eat too much protein, while other sources tell us that we are not getting enough.
The truth is somewhere in the middle: protein is very important, yet we do not need excessive amounts. Guidelines say that 10% – 35% of our calories should come from protein. Americans get about 16% of calories from protein. This means that, on average, Americans do get enough protein, but our intake is not too high. In fact, some new research suggests that optimum protein intake may be around 20% of calories.
You can also calculate how many grams of protein you need based on your body weight. Use the chart below to figure out how much protein you need.
Protein Recommendations for Healthy Adults (in grams)*:
|90 lb||33||49 – 61||190 lb||69||103 – 129|
|100 lb||36||54 – 68||200 lb||73||109 – 137|
|110 lb||40||60 – 75||210 lb||76||114 – 143|
|120 lb||44||66 – 83||220 lb||80||120 – 150|
|130 lb||48||71 – 89||230 lb||84||126 – 158|
|140 lb||51||77 – 96||240 lb||87||131 – 164|
|150 lb||55||82 – 102||250 lb||91||137 – 171|
|160 lb||58||88 – 110||260 lb||94||142 – 177|
|170 lb||62||92 – 116||270 lb||98||148 – 185|
|180 lb||66||98 – 123||280 lb||102||– 190|
Protein Sources and Serving Size
It’s best to get your protein from foods rather than protein powders and bars! Beans, nuts, eggs, fish, whole grains, poultry, meat, dairy and even some vegetables are all important sources of protein. Choose a wide variety of protein foods, because each one has different benefits and contains different proteins and amino acids. Use this guide to see how many grams of protein are in various foods. Protein amounts may vary slightly based on type and/or brands.
Did You Know?
- Protein needs are higher for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Adults over the age of 65 may need at least 1-gram protein/kg of body weight instead of the recommended minimum intake of 0.8 grams.
- Vegetarians and vegans should eat a wide variety of protein sources and may need more than the recommended amount of protein, because the recommended amount of protein is based on a diet that includes animal proteins.
- Athlete’s needs vary based on activity. There is no added benefit to consuming excessive protein–even most athletes do not need more than 35% of calories from protein (or 3 g/kg body weight).