How much protein do you really need every day?
Proteins, also known as proteins, are the panacea for one and the other sees it as a big trend led by the overload of marketing. These days you are inundated with protein bars, shakes, and other information about protein 1 . These products and information often emphasize increasing protein intake. But is this information correct, where did it come from and should you do something with it?
'Every person needs a certain amount of protein on a daily basis in order to function,' according to the Nutrition Center. Proteins are the building blocks of your body and form the basis for hormones and neurotransmitters. A protein deficiency can therefore lead to the breakdown of muscle mass, reduced muscle strength and reduced resistance 2 .
Now you may think 'the more protein, the better', but that is too short-sighted. There is also an upper limit to what your body needs and can process effectively. Each gram of protein provides energy to the body, about 4 kilocalories per gram. Excess protein is stored as fat in the body 2 . There goes your killer body…
The Nutrition Center therefore recommends an upper limit of 25% of the energy intake. This means that they recommend no more than 25% of the total energy intake in proteins.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have a protein deficiency. As with any diet, it is important to eat a varied diet. Everyone has their own body composition and therefore everyone has a different protein requirement. The minimum protein requirement for all functions in your body to work properly is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day 2 . In addition, there are other guidelines for special groups, because those groups need more protein. For example, someone with a vegetarian diet needs 20% extra protein and a vegan even 30%. Vegetarians and vegans are more limited in protein sources that contain the essential amino acids. Animal products contain all essential amino acids and because vegetarians and vegans consume less or none of these, they have an extra increased protein requirement and they have to make sure that their proteins are obtained from different sources 2 . Fanatic athletes also need more proteins, because they damage their muscles more through exercise and the proteins ensure muscle recovery. The elderly and people recovering from an illness also have an increased protein requirement 3 .
Calculate your protein requirement as follows 2 :
Minimum protein requirement = weight in kg x 0.8 grams of protein
Protein requirement of a vegetarian = (weight in kg x 0.8 grams of protein) = … x 1.2
Protein requirement of a vegan = (weight in kg x 0.8 grams of protein) = … x 1.3
Protein requirement of a recovering sick and/or elderly person = weight in kg x 1.0 – 1.2 grams of protein
Protein requirement of an endurance athlete = weight in kg x 1.2 – 1.4 grams of protein
Protein requirement of a strength athlete = weight in kg x 1.7 – 1.8 grams of protein
So are all protein shakes, bars and other products necessary or a fashion trend? We think a little bit of both. If you eat a varied diet and make sure you have enough protein in your main meals, then they are certainly not necessary, but if you are a vegan or vegetarian, do a lot of sports or are recovering from an illness, they are very useful and often a protein bar is a wiser (and also more satiating) choice than a sugar and fat-rich chocolate bar.
- The protein transition: not a hype but a trend. (2019, Sept. 20). Aeres.
- Nutrition Center. (nd-b). Proteins .
- Ishibashi N, Plank LD, Sando K, Hill GL. Optimal protein requirements during the first 2 weeks after the onset of critical illness. Critical care medicine. 1998 Sep 1;26(9):1529-35.
- Gehring, J., Gaudichon, C., & Even, P.C. (2020). Food intake control and body weight regulation by dietary protein . Cahiers de Nutrition et de Dietique, 55(6), e1–e8.
Proteins . (2019, Dec. 9).