How Much Protein Should I Eat?

Protein is usually associated with gaining muscle strength, but it’s not always about the extra bulk. The nutrient is essential for your health in more ways than one.
That being said, you might be thinking, how much protein should you eat? Well, the amount you need to consume isn’t standard for every person. In other words, every person has their needed intake based on their weight.
The intake can be calculated if you multiply your weight in lbs. by 0.012 oz. For instance, if you weigh around 140 lbs, then your protein intake should amount to approximately 1.69 oz per day.
Stick around to learn more about your needed daily protein intake and why it’s so vital to your body health.

Why Is Protein Important?

Before getting into the specifics of your daily protein intake, you might want to know what protein does for your body.
The chain of amino acids that make up protein is found in all your body’s cells. Their presence provides your body with cell repair and growth, especially in children, young adults, and pregnant women.
Although our bodies function to grow and remain nourished, some molecules are required to allow for protein synthesis, or amino acid formation.
Once the beads of amino acids are strung together, they need to be able to provide communication with other surrounding cells.
Protein is also needed to nourish your body’s hormones since hormones like insulin and glucagon are largely made of protein molecules.
The nutrients provided by protein-rich foods are also vital in giving you protection from unwanted bacteria. So, protein fortifies your immune system.
Apart from allowing communication and stronger immunity, protein acts as a delivery molecule as well, moving all the essential nutrients around your body to where they need to be.

Protein-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet

Now that you’ve figured out why protein is important, it’s time to know what foods are plentiful in proteins to add to your diet.
While there are several foods to choose from, you should keep in mind that the quality of the protein source also matters. You wouldn’t want your daily protein intake to be purely coming from chicken nuggets.
Instead, you could consider healthier grilled meat options such as lean chicken and beef. If you favor a pescatarian diet, you could go for a halibut, haddock, tuna, and some cod.
If you’re a vegetarian, you can opt for dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. You can also add eggs to your breakfast for a much-needed energy kick.
What if you’re vegan? While your options may seem limited, they’re actually still wide open. You can conjure up a lot of vegan protein-rich recipes made from beans, nuts, lentils, quinoa, peanut butter, and more.

What Does the Right Amount of Daily Protein Intake Look Like?

After calculating the amount of protein needed by multiplying your weight by 0.012 oz of protein, you should be left with an accurate estimate of your daily protein intake.
Let’s suppose your intake is 1.97 oz per day. You can have a tuna sandwich that would roughly amount to 0.98 oz of protein. You can also have a breakfast omelet that would accumulate to about 0.38 oz.
For snacking, you can munch on a few almonds and get about 0.1 oz of protein. Alternatively, you can have a cup of yogurt, which will amount to 0.35 oz. Then, you’ll be able to fulfill your necessary intake of protein.
For other meals, you can have around 5 oz of chicken and gain 1.34 oz of protein. If you don’t want to eat animal products, then a legume-dense diet will help keep your protein levels in check.
3.5 oz of pinto beans can provide you with 0.74 oz worth of protein. You can easily add up the rest of your intake from nuts and lentils. Not only will a protein-rich, plant-based diet maintain your healthy mineral levels, but it’ll keep you full for a longer time.
Dairy lovers might be wondering how much protein can be in cheese. Interestingly, parmesan cheese has the highest protein intake compared to other cheeses.
Just 3.57 oz of it can round up to 1.34 oz of protein. It would be a delightful addition to your pasta meals.

How Much Protein Is Too Much?

With all things in life, there are limits, even if they’re good for you. Too much protein is one of those things, but exactly how much is too much?
As a rule of thumb, if you surpass 0.07 oz per pound of weight, you’d be having a surplus of protein in your system.

What Happens If You Eat Too Much Protein?

People are on different journeys when it comes to their bodies. Some can be building up muscle and working out daily. Others might be leading a more sedentary life that doesn’t require as much energy.
That can determine the effects of protein surplus in your diet. If you’re not doing much exercise, you might see signs of too much protein such as gaining weight, constipation, and diarrhea.
In more serious cases, you could develop kidney issues, and increase your risk of getting heart disease or cancer.

Signs of Protein Deficiency

Some days you might not be able to reach your daily protein intake, and that’s okay. However, if it gets out of hand, then you might need to watch out for these signs of protein deficiency.
Since protein does provide an energy source, a lack of it will likely make you feel tired. Other, more prominent signs could appear on your thinning hair, brittle nails, and dry skin.
If you’re seriously depriving your body of its needed proteins, then you might risk your bone health and liver function as well.
Even though protein deficiency is more likely caused by a lack of a proper nutritional diet, it could also be due to some disorders that largely hinder nutrient absorption. These can range from as mild as lactose intolerance to as extreme as celiac disease.

Conclusion

With the right calculations, you’ll get an accurate estimate of how much protein you need to consume per day. That said, your lifestyle might also affect how much protein you’ll have to eat.
That’s why consulting a nutritionist or healthcare specialist will give you the best advice to cater to your protein needs. Fortunately, protein-packed food options are versatile for all kinds of diet choices, even for vegans.