How Much Protein Should You Eat Every Day?


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Protein is one of the most important nutrients your body needs. In fact, the word comes from the ancient Greek protos, which means “first”. That same root word also gives us “proton” and “protocol”.

You should ask yourself, then: How much protein should I eat every day?

Unfortunately, like almost every other important question, there is no single, easy answer. Every body is different. How much protein you need depends on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Activity Level
  • Pregnancy Goals


It is also important to keep in mind that how much is also not the only question you should ask. You should also consider the important question of what kind of protein you should eat, or where you should source your protein from.

Not all protein sources are the same- just look at bacon vs tofu!


Recommended Daily Protein Intake

A good place to start thinking is with the US Government’s recommended daily allowance, or RDA.

These guidelines, written by expert medical professionals, provide a rough estimate for how much of each nutrient you need every day. For example, their average recommendation is .8g of protein per kg of body weight. Someone who weighed 100kg (about 220 pounds) would need 80 grams of protein per day, on this model.

While the RDA is a good starting point, it is heavily influenced by other factors. Let’s see how each of them will affect your protein intake.


Age and Protein Needs

Protein needs vary by age. In general, the older you are, the more protein you need.

The first big shift happens in puberty, when the body grows rapidly and needs a lot of protein to expand.

Then, as an adult, your body has more muscle mass to maintain than as a child. It needs more protein to do this.

Finally, in old age, your body tends to lose muscle mass in a process called sarcopenia. Eating protein and staying active are key to keeping fit.

But also as you age, the risk of heart problems goes up. And many animal-based sources of protein carry lots of heart unhealthy cholesterol. That’s why a varied basis of protein is the way to go.

According to the RDA, children need 34g of protein per day, but this goes up to 46g for adult women and 56g for adult men.



Male bodies tend to have more muscle mass than female bodies. They will need to consume more protein.

This is, of course, only on average. An active, female bodybuilder may have much more muscle mass than a sedentary male.

And there is one major exception to this rule- pregnancy and breastfeeding (see below).



Heavier people tend to have more tissue that needs to be repaired and maintained with protein. This is true whether they have high or low levels of body fat.

In fact, obese and overweight people are usually quite muscular, due to carrying around so much extra body weight. Their protein needs will be higher than someone with an average body weight.

On the other side of the spectrum, people who are underweight are often suffering from a protein deficiency. They may need to eat more in order to rebuild tissue.



Your body is always changing. How much protein you eat should reflect what you want your body to look like next.

Two common goals are building muscle and losing weight. For both of them, eating more protein can help.

Obviously, muscle is made out of protein, so eating more protein will help build it. But protein also affects your hormones. It reduces the amount of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers feelings of hunger, in your body. This can make it easier to eat less and lose weight.


Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnant people often say they are “eating for two”, and this is in some sense correct. A rapidly growing fetus needs all the nutrients it can get, so pregnancy does imply an increased need for protein. In fact, pregnancy is the single biggest factor in the RDA, pushing the daily protein recommendation up to 71 grams per day.

Breastfeeding also requires extra protein, although not by as much. Milk (of any animal) is high in protein, because babies grow fast and need to build tissue. But they can also start eating on their own outside the womb, so breastmilk doesn’t have to be their only source of protein.


Conclusion: Focus on Quality and Quantity

It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when answering a single question. Good nutrition is not just about how much, it is also about what kind. You need to consider quality as much as you consider quantity.

Whether or not you are an elite bodybuilder, where you get your protein matters. Try to avoid high-cholesterol sources of protein like red meat, and instead focus on fish and plant-based sources like tofu or nuts.

One simple way to nudge your protein intake up a bit is to eat pre-made protein bars. We make high-quality, plant-based protein bars in over a dozen different flavors. A single bar can contain as much as 11g of protein!


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