Protein Recommendations

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Protein has been a popular and trending topic in the news and research for some time. Some sources tell us that we eat too much protein, while other sources tell us that we are not getting enough.

The truth is somewhere in the middle: protein is very important, yet we do not need excessive amounts. Guidelines say that 10% - 35% of our calories should come from protein. Americans get about 16% of calories from protein. This means that, on average, Americans do get enough protein, but our intake is not too high. In fact, some new research suggests that optimum protein intake may be around 20% of calories.The truth is somewhere in the middle: protein is very important, yet we do not need excessive amounts. Guidelines say that 10% - 35% of our calories should come from protein. Americans get about 16% of calories from protein. This means that, on average, Americans do get enough protein, but our intake is not too high. In fact, some new research suggests that optimum protein intake may be around 20% of calories.

You can also calculate how many grams of protein you need based on your body weight. Use the chart below to figure out how much protein you need.

Protein Recommendations for Healthy Adults (in grams)*:

Weight Minimum
intake
More
optimal
intake
Weight Minimum
intake
More
optimal
intake
90 lb 33 49 - 61 190 lb 69 103 - 129
100 lb 36 54 - 68 200 lb 73 109 - 137
110 lb 40 60 - 75 210 lb 76 114 - 143
120 lb 44 66 - 83 220 lb 80 120 - 150
130 lb 48 71 - 89 230 lb 84 126 - 158
140 lb 51 77 - 96 240 lb 87 131 - 164
150 lb 55 82 - 102 250 lb 91 137 - 171
160 lb 58 88 - 110 260 lb 94 142 - 177
170 lb 62 92 - 116 270 lb 98 148 - 185
180 lb 66 98 - 123 280 lb 102 152 - 190
Maximum Intake: Do not exceed 35% of daily calories from protein (3 g/kg body weight). (This equals 175 grams for an average 2000 calorie diet.)
* Minimum intake = RDA of 0.8 g/kg body weight (about .36 g/lb).
Optimal intake calculated as 1.2 - 1.5 g/kg body weight (about .54- .68 g/lb).

Protein Sources and Serving Size

It's best to get your protein from foods rather than protein powders and bars! Beans, nuts, eggs, fish, whole grains, poultry, meat, dairy and even some vegetables are all important sources of protein. Choose a wide variety of protein foods, because each one has different benefits and contains different protein amino acids. Use this guide to see how many grams of protein are in various foods. Protein amounts may vary slightly based on type and/or brands.

beans meat quinoa
almonds Peas Cottage Cheese
Edamame Tofu Fish
Yogurt Milk Cheese
eggs Peanut Butter Oatmeal