If you are an adult male, then you should be eating about 56 grams of protein a day. For adult women, your daily intake should be about 46 grams a day. Teenage boys need around 52 grams each day while teenage girls need 46 grams of protein.
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The numbers presented above were developed by the USDA. There are some groups that feel that protein should be calculated by body weight while others believe the calculations should be based upon percentage of total calories consumed each day.
So, who is right when it comes to eating protein?
Unfortunately, there is no real good answer to this question right now. While it may seem that science knows a lot about protein, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the knowledge needed to formulate the perfect calculation to determine the right amount of protein.
While this doesn’t really do those of you who are trying to get your proper nutrition much good, any of the ideas mentioned above will be just fine for calculating your protein. In fact, the protein gram intake proposed by the USDA is based upon the average weight of an American adult male, adult female, and teenagers. It doesn’t leave room for big or small people.
It is for this reason that many people do choose to go by weight. If you want to give this formula a try, then you would need to multiply your weight times by .37. This is a formula devised by nutritionists trying to help their clients eat a well balanced diet.
If you compare this formula to the numbers developed by the USDA, you will see that they do fit right in with an average male of about 151 pounds. What’s more, the USDA makes an allowance of up to 30% more than the daily recommendation, if you want to increase your dose. This allowance fits right in with larger individuals.
While some people use their caloric intake to determine how much protein they should eat each day, the formula is flawed. It doesn’t leave room for dieting or over eating on any given day. There is no way to establish some consistency using the calorie approach.
Where should I be getting the protein that I eat?
You body likes food, it just the way it was designed. It absorbs the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients important to the body best from food. As such, your first choice for getting the protein that you need should be through food.
This doesn’t mean that this is the only viable source, however, it is certainly the first and best choice!
Another source of protein is through protein supplements. The most common type of protein supplement is protein powder. Because most protein powder is made from a food product, it is almost as beneficial as eating food is for the body.
A container of protein powder, which is typically about 5 pounds, contains about 30 servings. However, 2 to 3 servings a day are recommended, which means that, at most, you are getting 15 days out of your powder.
Protein powder is sometimes combined with other nutrients and is used as a meal replacement shake. This isn’t always the case and you shouldn’t assume that a product is also a meal replacement unless it says so on the label or in the product description.
Should I be eating more protein if I am doing intense workouts?
In general, if you are training hard, meaning hours a day, then you should increase your protein intake to replace some of the additional protein that your body will be using. However, the increase isn’t excessive.
Instead of multiplying .37 by your weight in pounds, you should multiply .7 by your weight in pounds. This should be the maximum amount of protein that you should eat. What this means for a 150 pound man is about 105 grams of protein a day. This is slightly higher than what is recommended by the FDA, but not by much.
Once you are done training, you need to reduce your protein back to normal levels. This is because recent studies show that that it is possible for too much protein to cause liver damage. The effects were based on long term use, so if you keep your protein levels at the recommended levels overall, then you should be just fine.
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