One of the most common diet questions I get asked is, “How much protein do I really need?”
That’s super-encouraging because it means people recognize how essential protein is to good health! Protein is a powerful nutrient that fuels your body in so many ways, and clean, lean protein should be a part of every meal.
How Much Protein?
While your protein requirement isn’t static, I generally recommend eating 0.6 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your ideal body weight.
- 0.6g = the bare minimum
- 0.8g = ideal amount
- 1.0g = aim for this if you are building muscle or in recovery
If math wasn’t your favorite subject, I’ve got an easy way for you to calculate the amount you need! Simply enter your weight in the widget below and click the big orange button to find out how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis…
One note: the most reliable way to calculate your protein needs is to use your fat-free body mass. However, if you don't know your body fat percentage, the widget above gives you a great starting point.
It’s also important to remember that your protein requirements will vary based on your age, sex, activity level, and other factors. If you’re exercising regularly, under stress, or recovering from an injury or surgery, you’ll need to increase the amount of protein you’re eating daily.
Why Protein Is So Important
Protein is the ultimate multitasker!
Your protein intake is crucial for healthy immune function, helping to fight infection and inflammation.1,2 Protein is also an amazing ally when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.3,4
What’s more, the amino acids that make up protein are not only the building blocks for muscle, but also for hormones and neurotransmitters that guide everything from your appetite to your mood. It’s clear that protein has a significant impact on your health!
Ready to incorporate protein into your daily routine? It’s important to be aware that not all protein is created equal! Your protein should contain mainly healthy, lean fats, and how your protein is raised matters.
Studies show that protein from plants or animals exposed to hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides can be harmful to humans.5-7 But that’s not the only way your protein can be compromised.
Eating meat, dairy, and eggs from animals kept in unclean factory farm conditions and fed a diet of GMO corn and soy means that you’re taking part in those meals, too.
In fact, eating eggs from soy-fed chickens or beef raised on corn has caused food sensitivities to flare up in some of my clients, even when other sources of the top 7 highly reactive foods have been eliminated from their diet!
Plus, research proves that feeding animals corn, soy and other grains changes their fatty acid profile, which means their meat, milk, and eggs are more likely to cause inflammation.8-10 That’s why I always say, “You are what you eat ate!”
What to Look For
I recommend choosing clean protein sources that are labeled “organic.” When your protein isn’t from plants, be sure to look for:
- pasture-raised chicken and eggs
- wild-caught fish
- grass-fed beef and dairy
- pastured pork
The healthier the protein that you put in your body, the healthier you will be! (Check out this blog for a list of ideal protein choices: A Dozen Great Foods for Clean, Lean Protein.)
Whether you’re having Grilled Wild Salmon, Curried Lentils, or an All-In-One Protein Shake, getting enough clean, lean protein will help you burn fat, build muscle, and stay healthy for years to come.
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Loaded smoothies are a great way to amp up your protein intake (and sneak a couple extra servings of vegetables in your day). I have over 60 recipes for you to download FREE in my Loaded Smoothie Cookbook. Grab yours here.