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How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

October 29, 2019


– Protein is a really
important part of your diet, but figuring out how much
to eat can be confusing. In this video, I’m looking at how much
you should eat per day, what lifestyle factors
influence those recommendations, and if there are any safety concerns. (bell chiming) Proteins are the main building
blocks of the human body. They’re used to make
muscles, tendons, organs, skin, enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules
that serve important functions. Now, proteins are made
out of smaller molecules called amino acids, which are linked together
like beads on a string. Now, some can be produced by the body, while we must get the
others from the diet. Now, as for how much to eat, there’s vastly different opinions on how much protein we need. Most official organizations
actually recommend a fairly modest protein intake. If you’re at a healthy weight, you don’t lift weights and
you don’t exercise much, then aiming for 0.36
to 0.6 grams per pound, or 0.8 to 1.3 grams per kilogram, is a reasonable estimate. This amounts to 56-91 grams
per day for the average male, and 46-75 grams per day
for the average female. However, like I said, this is
a very modest recommendation, and there’s actually a lot of benefits to eating more protein. So let’s have a look at some factors that do require an
increased protein intake. If you want to lose weight. As we know, in order to lose weight, we need to take in fewer
calories than we burn. Eating protein can help with that by boosting your metabolic
rate, or the calories out, and reducing your appetite,
which is calories in. This is well-supported by science. The biggest influence would certainly be with reducing calories in, as protein has the
ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous
reduction in calorie intake. Protein is just much more
satiating then both fat and carbs. In this study, protein at 30% of calories caused people to automatically
drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day,
which is a huge amount. According to most studies, a protein intake around 30% of calories may be optimal for weight loss. This amounts to 150 grams per day for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet. You can calculate this by multiplying your calorie intake by 0.075. So for example, if you are
on a 1,800 calorie diet, then you should aim for 1,800 times 0.075, which is 135 grams. Increased protein is also required if you want to gain muscle and strength. Muscle is largely made of protein, and as with most tissues in the body, muscles are dynamic and they’re constantly being
broken down and rebuilt. To gain muscle, the body must be synthesizing
more muscle protein than it’s breaking down. In other words, there needs to be a net
positive protein balance in the body, often
called nitrogen balance, because protein is high in nitrogen. For this reason, people
who want a lot of muscle will need to eat a
greater amount of protein and lift heavy things, of course. It is well documented that
a higher protein intake helps build muscle and strength. Also, people who want to hold onto muscle that they’ve already built may need to increase their protein intake when losing body fat, because a high protein
intake can help prevent the muscle loss that
usually occurs when dieting. And when it comes to muscle mass, the studies are usually not looking at percentage of calories. Instead, we use daily grams of protein per unit of body weight, either in pounds or kilos. A common recommendation for gaining muscle is 0.7 to one gram of protein
per pound of body weight, or 2.2 grams of protein per kilo. For example, a 150 pound person should aim for 105 to 150 grams per day. If you’re carrying a lot of body fat, then it’s a good idea to
use either your lean mass or your goal weight, instead
of total body weight, because it’s mostly your lean mass that determines the amount
of protein you need. So if you’re aiming to lose weight and get to 150 pounds, use that number instead
of your actual weight. There’s also some other situations where your protein requirements
will be higher than normal. For example, if you’re an elderly person at risk of osteoporosis or falls, or if you’re an athlete, or if you have a very active job. What grams of protein really means. I just want to highlight that when I say, “Grams of protein,” I mean grams of the macronutrient protein, not how many grams of high
protein food you should have, like meat or eggs. For example, a large egg
weighs about 45 grams, but it only contains six grams of protein, so if you wanted to get
20 grams of protein, you’d have to eat three eggs. Does protein have any
negative health effects? Lastly, I want to make it clear that a high protein diet is safe. It’s been said that
increased protein intake can cause osteoporosis or kidney damage, but none of this is supported by science. Looking through the literature, there are no studies showing
harmful effects of protein in the average person
with healthy kidneys. In this thorough review,
the authors concluded there is “no significant
evidence for a detrimental effect “of high protein intakes
on kidney function “in healthy persons after centuries “of a high protein Western diet.” A review published in 2011 concluded that there is no evidence that increased protein
harms the bones, either. If anything, evidence points
to a higher protein intake improving bone health,
not the other way around. The same was found in a more recent review with higher protein intake
linked to better bone health, although the authors note
that increased protein may only be beneficial alongside
an adequate calcium intake. So there you have it. To summarize, I recommend
0.6 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, depending on what your
lifestyle looks like. Given that there is no evidence of harm, and significant evidence of benefit, I recommend people err on
the side of more protein rather than less. Thanks for watching. Make sure to give this video a thumbs up if you found it informative, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Authority Nutrition YouTube Channel by clicking the red Subscribe button below the video. (soft music)

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