How much protein powder per day?

How much protein powder per day do you really need?

  • If you exercise frequently and intensively, you need at least 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.
  • For medium-intensity training, 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram is recommended.
  • If you train rarely or never, the daily requirement is around 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.

In this article we at VegoFuel go through the daily protein requirement.

How much protein powder per day should you eat?

Opinions differ on how much protein powder is actually needed daily. Several researchers believe that previous recommended intakes have been too low. Others argue that now more than ever there is an unwarranted hysteria about the need for protein.

Today, however, many believe that an adult who does not exercise should consume at least 1 g of protein per kilo of body weight. If you are strength training or otherwise physically active, you need to eat at least 1.3g per kilo per day, but preferably more.

Tips – It’s easy to get enough protein with a vegan protein powder

The World Health Organisation on how much protein to eat per day

The World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted studies on protein requirements based on the nitrogen balance in the body (1). According to these studies, the minimum amount of protein recommended by the WHO per day is 0.83 g per kg of body weight.

However, this is in the low range. The WHO itself states that it covers the basic needs of 97.5% of the world’s population, i.e. not everyone.

There is therefore no margin for additional protein requirements and no consideration of the possible benefits of eating more protein. If you fall below this limit, you will lose muscle mass.

If you are strength training, physically active or playing sports, this minimum level is far too low.

Recent studies point to a higher daily protein requirement

According to a study by Guoyao Wu (2), which examined protein requirements at different exercise intensities, we should consume the following amount of protein per day:

  • No exercise: 1.0 g protein/kg
  • Medium-intensity exercise: 1.3 g protein/kg
  • Intensive exercise: 1.6 g protein/kg

These results are more in line with another study (3). Although it reused data from the WHO and landed that the average daily requirement is between 0.91 and 0.99 g/kg per day.

The same researchers also developed a new method to assess the amount of protein needed per day. The estimate was instead between 0.93 and 1.2 g/day.

Protein requirement method here on VegoFuel

We at VegoFuel have taken the above research into account.

When we calculate how much vegetarian food we need to eat to get enough protein each day, we start from these figures:

The 1 – 1.3 – 1.6 g/kg scale for minimal, average and intense physical activity respectively serves as a simple but good guideline for how much protein you need per day.

What influences protein powder requirements?

How much protein powder you need depends on several factors:

Exercise

If you are strength training or otherwise physically active, your protein needs may be double – or more – than someone who is not exercising.

Muscles

The fitter you get and the bigger your muscles, the more protein you need. Remember, if you don’t get enough protein, your muscles will break down even when you rest!

Age

As you start to reach retirement age, your daily protein requirement increases. 1.2 – 1.6 g per kg body weight per day is recommended.

Calories

You shouldn’t decide how much protein to eat based on the amount of calories. But if you are in a calorie deficit, your body needs a higher protein intake. In that case, increase your intake by 0.5 g per kg.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your body needs more protein because you need to “share” some of the protein with your baby.

How much protein to build muscle?

If you want to build muscle, your training is definitely classified as intense. According to current research, the minimum recommended intake for weightlifting and bodybuilding is around 1.4 – 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.

According to Jäger et al. (4), an intake of 1.4 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram per day is sufficient for most strength trainers and muscle builders.

If you train really hard, you should stay in the upper end of that range or even increase your protein intake up to 2.2 g/kg per day.

Keep in mind that you should spread your protein intake throughout the day for optimal absorption by your muscles. Many strength trainers choose to take a shake with protein powder before bedtime to avoid further muscle breakdown during the night.

You need more protein if you’re sleeping

Another thing to keep in mind is that protein needs increase if you reduce your calorie intake and run a calorie deficit. This is the case, for example, if you are fasting. During such periods, you can increase your protein intake by 0.5 g per day.

Older people need more protein

As you get older, your body needs more protein than before. Protein helps the body to counteract muscle breakdown, which has positive effects on health and can contribute to better functionality.

Previous studies recommend that older people should eat at least 1.0 – 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Some recent research suggests that an intake of 1.2 – 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight may be recommended for seniors.

A Canadian study (5) showed that the reduction in muscle mass in the limbs was less for men and women aged 70-79 years who ate 1.2 grams of protein/kg compared to those who ate 0.8 grams/kg.

The same study showed that women aged 65-79 years who increased their protein intake relative to total calorie intake by 20% were 32% less likely to suffer from frailty in the next 3 years.

The Food and Drug Administration also recommends (6) that older people increase their protein intake. However, the Food and Drug Administration does not specify exactly how much, but gives the tip to include protein in every meal, including snacks, especially if you have a poor appetite.

Tips – Read our article on vegan protein powder. A protein supplement is a perfect way for older people to increase their protein intake without increasing their cholesterol intake.

Protein per day to lose weight

If you want to lose weight, you will need to reduce your calorie intake. When there is a deficit of calories, the body starts to use fat reserves instead.

Unfortunately, the body’s breakdown of the proteins in your muscles also increases. Therefore, if you are dieting or losing weight, your protein needs will increase.

By eating extra protein when you are trying to lose weight, you will counteract muscle breakdown. Add about 0.5 g of extra protein per kilo of body weight compared to what you normally eat and you will cover the increased protein requirement.

How much protein powder per day is dangerous?

As well as being unnecessary, eating too much protein can also be dangerous. According to Bakkman L. (7), eating more than 3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight can be dangerous. According to the author, it can have negative effects on blood lipids, kidneys and bones.

According to the aforementioned Guoyao Wu, it is safe to eat up to 2 grams of protein per kg for healthy adults. If you are in very good shape, the upper tolerable limit is 3.5 grams per kilogram, according to the study. However, the same study shows that a regular intake of more than 2 grams per kg can cause problems with the kidneys, blood vessels and digestion.

Choose good sources of protein

Almost all food contains protein, but to get enough protein in your diet each day you need to prioritise what you eat. This is especially important if you’re vegan or vegetarian as it’s easy to forget to eat enough protein-rich food.

Beans, lentils, soybeans, peas, chickpeas and chia seeds are examples of good vegetarian protein sources. Nuts and seeds of various kinds are also high in protein.

Tips – Please read our article on protein sources too!

Want to make sure you’re getting enough protein?

With a vegan protein powder, you can easily get the daily recommended amount of protein. That’s true whether you’re strength training, exercising or just a regular vegan or vegetarian!

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