Protein is one of the most important nutrients required by the body. It forms a component of every living cell and performs a number of functions in the body. It is an important constituent of hormones and enzymes. There are a number of protein rich foods as well as protein supplements. In order to ensure optimum development, you need to know how much protein to include in your diet. This will vary depending on your age, gender, weight and activity level. About 10% to 30% of your daily calorie requirements must be satisfied by protein.

It is often difficult to determine exactly how much protein you should incorporate in your regular diet. Protein is a very important nutrient and acts as a building block of the human body. The amino acids perform a series of very important functions in the body. But most importantly, proteins help to repaid damaged tissues and promote the growth of new cells and tissues. Hence, it is vital to people like growing children, pregnant women and bodybuilders who are aiming to gain muscle mass.

Determining how much protein you need

Specific guidelines have been provided to describe the amount of protein required by people of different ages at different levels of activity. Here are a few steps by which you will be able to figure out your protein requirements by yourself.

  • About 10% to 15% of the total calories that you consume daily must come from protein. So, you can calculate the total amount of calories you are eating and then check whether you are getting 10% to 15% of these calories from protein. For an average person, 2000 calories are enough per day. So, such a person should get about 200 to 300 calories from protein. Since you get 4 calories from 1g of protein, you will need to consume about 50g of protein per day.
  • Your body weight is another good indicator of how much protein to According to one study in Canada, one should consume 0.86g of protein per kg per day if you are sedentary while athletes should have 2.40g of protein per kg per day.
  • You can take your own body weight in kilograms and then multiply it by 0.8 (for sedentary people) up to 1.8 (regular exercisers). The resultant figure should be your protein consumption per day.
  • Your age will also determine how much protein you will need.
  • Finally, lifestyle is another factor influencing the amount of protein that you need. For sedentary people, less protein is sufficient, but for those in strength or endurance training, a much greater amount of protein is necessary.

The protein diet plan based on age

Age is one of the important determinants of the optimum amount of protein that you need. Here are some important facts that you should know:

Age Amount of protein necessary
Infants aged 0 to 6 months 9g
Babies aged 6 to 12 months 11g
Children aged 1 to 3 years 13g
Children aged 4 to 8 years 19g
Children aged 9 to 13 years 34g
Boys aged 14 to 18 years 52g
Girls aged 14 to 18 years 46g
Men aged 18 to 70+ years 56g
Women aged 18 to 70+ years 46g

In a report submitted by the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center, it is recommended that an average adult with average level of activity need to consume about 0.66g of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Children are growing. Their muscles and tissues are still forming. Hence, they will require a greater amount of protein.

Other factors determining the amount of protein intake

Body weight and level of activity are two most important which affects the daily requirement of protein in every person. The USDA has developed a formula to help you calculate your own protein requirements based on age and activity level.

Weight in kilogram Protein Amount
Not very active
(weight in kgs X 0.8)
Active or pregnant
(Weight in kgs X 1.3)
Extremely active or in training
(weight in kgs X 1.8)
45.5 kgs 36.4g 59.2g 81.9g
59.1 kgs 47.3g 76.8g 106.4g
75 kgs 60g 97.5g 135g

You too can calculate your own protein requirement. Take your weight in kilogram and multiply it with the constant depending on your level of activity to know how much protein you require.

What if you consume too much protein?

Actually, in the normal course of diet, you are likely to consume more protein than what you need. Your body will simply excrete the excess protein. However, protein is often accompanied by saturated fats and extra calories. So, make sure that you are not eating too much calories. If you suffer from some disease of the kidneys, then it is advisable to adopt a low protein diet.

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