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Protein: how much do you need per day
Protein: how much do you need per day?

Protein: how much do you need per day?

  • Reading time: 9 min.

Are you a regular at the gym and trying to watch what you eat? Then you'll certainly be aware of the importance of protein. In fact, your body uses the amino acids from protein for many important physiological processes and it supports the faster recovery of muscles after a workout. But how many grams of protein per day do you need to meet your body's needs? In this XXL Nutrition blog we'll take a closer look at your daily protein requirements and how much protein you actually need!

What are proteins?

Before we look at how much protein you need every day, let's briefly dive into what exactly this nutrient is. Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with fat and carbohydrates. These macronutrients are the three main building blocks your body needs to be able to function properly. They provide energy and are involved in a variety of physiological processes within your body.

Proteins, carbohydrates and fats all provide energy. 1 gram of protein provides 4 kcal, the same amount provided by just 1 gram of carbohydrate. Fat on the other hand contains more energy, 9 kcal per gram. Along with energy, protein provides several amino acids, these being the tiny particles that a protein is made of. In total, there are 22 different amino acids that all play a role in the functioning of your body.

Do you want to know more about the different amino acids and what they do in the human body? In this blog you will read all about these building blocks of proteins.

How many grams of protein per day do you need?

Whether you're a bodybuilder, strength athlete or a real gym novice, you will have heard that protein is important for muscle growth. Terms such as "high protein" are everywhere, and many athletes think they need to consume huge amounts of protein to see results. But is this true? How many grams of protein per day do you need as part of a healthy diet?

On March 2, 2021, The Netherlands Health Council published its new protein standards. Within these standards they list the latest guidelines for daily protein requirements, depending on activity level and lifestyle.

But what exactly do these guidelines say in terms of protein intake? It is first stated that the average adult requires approximately 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This amount is the recommended daily protein intake for non-active adults. Are you more active? Then your daily protein needs increase rapidly. For example, an endurance athlete needs about 1.4 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Do you do strength training to help you build more muscle mass? Then you will need 1.6 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Calculating how much protein you need per day

As you can see, how many grams of protein you need per day varies significantly for each sport, and avid (strength) athletes are advised to eat more protein than non-athletes, as our bodies need more protein to repair muscles after a workout. However, your weight can also affect the amount of protein you need per day.

Tip: want to follow a high-protein diet? Then it is extra important to calculate how many grams of protein you need per day! Insert link to /protein diet

Want to calculate your daily protein needs? Your first need to establish your workout goal and multiply the corresponding number of grams of protein by your own body weight. Below is an example to help you with this.

Daily protein requirement (depending on activity level and training goal)

How many grams of protein you need per day also depends on type of sport you're doing and your workout goal. You use the following guidelines:

  • Non-athlete = 0.83 grams of protein per kg of body weight
  • Recreational athlete = 1–1.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight
  • Endurance athlete = 1.4–1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight
  • Power athlete = 1.6–2 grams of protein per kg of body weight

What does this mean for a body weight of 85 kilograms? If you are a non-athlete, you would need about 71 grams of protein per day. If you are an endurance athlete, you need to about 119 to 136 grams of protein every day, while as a strength athlete you need 136 to 170 grams of protein. Thankfully it is very easy to get this amount of protein from your daily diet by combing a range of different foods as cottage cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, fish, whole grain bread, oats/porrigde, nuts and beans and legumes. Need more high-protein foods? Check out our list of high-protein food products here.

How much protein per day is needed to build muscles?

Do you want to build up a lot of muscle mass? Then don't let too much “broscience” about consuming as much protein as possible drive you insane. Make it easy on yourself and stick to a guideline of 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is how much protein you need for building muscle.

If you consume 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight every day, you will give your muscles enough building blocks to recover after a hard workout. The tiny lesions caused to muscle fibres during exercise will be repaired and your body will make your muscles a little thicker and stronger in order to prevent new muscle damage. Of course, building muscle mass involves more than just eating enough protein. Your total calorie intake, your training programme (including enough sleep/rest) and genetic predispositions will also have an influence on this.

A much higher level of protein intake is not so beneficial and doesn't really provide any additional value towards building muscle mass. Your body only uses the amount of protein it needs. Eating more protein can lead to a calorie surplus, which also causes fat mass to be stored (as protein also provides energy). Excess protein has no other harmful effect on the kidneys of healthy people. However, consuming lots of (expensive) sources of protein when they aren't necessary can be a waste.

Is there a difference between the protein needs of men and women?

Now that you know the daily guidelines for how much protein you should be getting as an athlete, you can apply this to your diet. We are often asked if protein requirements are different for men and women. The answer to this is no, as demonstrated by this study. For both men and women, the same protein intake guidelines as described earlier apply.

In the past, it was thought that women needed less protein due to the way their bodies distribute fat and muscle mass. Women naturally have more fat mass and less muscle mass, meaning they would need about 15% less protein. However, the aforementioned study showed that the protein requirements for both men and women are the same.

In practice, this would still mean that women need less protein per day than men, but this is more due to the fact that, on average, women weigh less than men.

Protein requirements for vegans

Vegans, however, do have a higher daily protein requirement, needing to consume about 20 to 30 percent more protein per day than athletes who eat animal-based proteins. This is due to the amino acid profile of plant proteins, which often contain fewer essential amino acids than animal proteins. Furthermore, our bodies can sometimes find it difficult to digest and absorb proteins from plant-based food produts.

Do you follow a vegan diet and want to find out how much protein you need per day? Calculate your daily protein needs using the same method described earlier in this blog and then add 20-30 percent on top of that figure. It is also recommended that you eat a variety of plant-based protein sources to ensure you always get enough essential amino acids.

Whey Protein as part of meeting your protein needs

Although it is perfectly possible to get enough protein from “normal” food, athletes often choose to use protein shakes. Whey Protein is actually a great and easy way to consume extra protein, and protein shakes are particularly useful on days when you have little time to eat enough protein-rich meals.

At XXL Nutrition we have a large selection of whey protein shakes, with a choice of bestsellers such as Whey Delicious, Whey Isolate and Whey Hydro to help you easily consume high-quality protein. Just give it a shake and you'll be drinking down a hefty dose of protein in no time. With the help of our protein shakes, you can easily reach your daily protein goal.

So how much protein do you need per day?

In this blog, we have looked at how many grams of protein per day is needed by different types of athletes. You can use this information to calculate your daily protein needs. Use your body weight and activity level to determine how much protein you need for your goals.

For strength athletes and bodybuilders, the recommended protein intake is 1.6-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

You can get these proteins from animal- and plant-based sources. However, a protein shake before or after exercise is also an easy way to get all the protein you need. XXL Nutrition is the right place for all your protein shakes of the highest quality!



Marvin Grouw
This blog is written by:
Marvin Grouw
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