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How much protein do you need?

"Am I getting enough protein?" is a question I get frequently from clients. Sometimes it's about fitness and building muscle, but, much of the time, it's related to concerns about weight, as well.


I was excited to get a chance to address that question at Forbes Health this week because there are straightforward answers that are especially important for those of us in mid-life and beyond.



"Research shows that protein is a vital part of maintaining a healthy body weight, but, by itself, protein isn’t a miracle cure that will help you lose weight."


Protein helps people maintain a lower body weight in three primary ways:


  1. It helps you feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time.

  2. Your body requires many more calories to digest and utilize protein than it requires for fat or carbohydrates.

  3. Protein helps support lean muscle mass and, therefore, metabolism.


But!


In order for our bodies to turn protein into muscle, we have to physically move and challenge our muscles—ideally with body weight or resistance exercises.  


Also important... research shows that older people need more protein than younger adults. Those over the age of 55 can process up to 28 grams of protein per sitting, while young adults can synthesis about 18 grams. So spreading your protein intake out over multiple snacks and mealtimes can help you put those amino acids to good use.


If you're curious to know how much protein you need in a day, consider how active you are:


  • For the minimum daily recommendation, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.35.

  • If you’re moderately active, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.55.

  • If you’re exercising regularly and working on gaining muscle mass, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.77.


Note! I put those calculations in pounds to make it as easy as possible.


Check out the whole Hey, Health Coach column to learn more about:


👉 different sources of protein, including plant-based options

👉 how much protein is too much and why it isn't great for the body

👉 the difference between high-protein and ketogenic diets.


Most Americans get plenty of protein, but I have worked with quite a few people in their fifties and sixties who could use a bit more. With a little awareness, it's not hard for most people to get enough protein from whatever sources they prefer. 💪❤️


I hope this helps!


Sarah


 

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