Am I getting enough protein?
by Caroline Kaufman MS, RDN
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The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. To calculate your needs, divide your weight by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms and then multiply it by 0.8. Don't worry, I used a calculator when I first did this, too.
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If you want to gain muscle and strength, you’ll need additional protein. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that power athletes (strength or speed) get 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram a day and endurance athletes consume 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram.
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While the quantity of protein is important, quality and timing count too. High-quality proteins, including lean meats, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy provide healthful nutrients without excess calories from saturated fat and sodium.
Your body can only use 30 grams of protein for muscle growth at a time, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, so eat smaller amounts at meals throughout the day instead of loading up at dinner. While we tend to think ‘more is better,’ eating too much protein can end up sabotaging your goals by adding unnecessary extra calories to your diet (I’m looking at you giant protein shake). Aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal—that’s equivalent to four ounces of lean meat, ¾ can of tuna, four large eggs, one cup of 2% cottage cheese, or ½ a block of tofu.