Protein is essential for optimizing performance, recovery, muscle growth, fat loss, and overall health. It’s needed to maintain proper fluid balance, build and repair tissues, transport nutrients, synthesize hormones, and many other essential functions.
In short, you must consume enough protein each day. That’s why it’s called an essential macronutrient, meaning you need it to survive.
But many individuals aren’t sure how many grams of protein they should eat each day.
If you fall into this category, follow this guide for the optimal daily protein intake for weight loss & muscle building.
Let’s start by answering the fundamental question…
How Much Protein to Eat in a Day
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight.
This amounts to:
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
Suffice it to say that this amount of protein is vastly inadequate for the active individual looking to build muscle or lose fat while retaining as much lean mass as possible.
The International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and others recommend protein intake at levels higher than the RDA for physically active individuals, generally on the order of 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight — that’s over double the amount recommended by the DRI!
Keep in mind, though, that the DRI and RDA’s protein intake values are the bare minimum intakes of protein needed to sustain life and maintain muscle for sedentary individuals. These amounts are not enough for active individuals to maintain, let alone build muscle.