If you're trying to build muscle or lose weight, it's important to ensure you're getting the right amount of protein in your diet. Too little protein can mean your muscles don't have the building blocks they need to grow. And too much protein can mean you're potentially not getting the other nutrients your body needs or that you're taking in too many calories or even that your body might not be able to process it at one time.
o figure out how much protein powder per day is best for you, consider your goals, your activity level, and your diet.
10-35% of your daily calories should come from protein, whether from whole foods or a mix of whole foods and protein powders or supplements.
What are your health and fitness goals?
Your health and fitness goals are one of the most important factors to consider when figuring out how much protein powder you need each day.
You should be getting most of your protein intake from whole foods, and then supplementing as necessary with protein shakes that can help ensure you're getting all the essential amino acids your body need.
If you're trying to build muscle, aim for 0.5-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So a person who weighs 200 pounds and is focusing on muscle growth should have between 100-200 grams of protein daily.
A Little About Macros: What Are They?
Macros, or macronutrients, are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your body needs all three of these to function properly, and they each play a different role.
Consuming enough protein is essential for building muscle and repairing tissue; a process called muscle protein synthesis. Carbohydrates are your body's primary source of energy. Fat is essential for many processes, including hormone production and the absorption of certain vitamins.
Calculating and tracking your intake of macronutrients is a helpful way to make sure you're getting enough of each nutrient. It can also help you lose weight or gain muscle by ensuring you're eating a balanced diet that includes enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
The amount of macros you need depends on age, sex, activity level, and goals.
We recommend this nutrient calculator created by the USDA to help you determine your ideal macro levels. Once you know your macros, you can start tracking them to make sure you're getting enough of each nutrient.
If You're Looking to Gain Muscle
If you're trying to build muscle, you need more protein than someone who isn't working out. That's because muscle growth requires extra protein to repair and rebuild your muscles after exercise.
The additional protein you need depends on how much muscle you're trying to gain. If you're trying to build muscle, aim for 0.5-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This is where protein shakes can come in handy. It can be hard to maintain adequate protein intake for optimal muscle growth, so adding a daily shake or smoothie made with protein powder after a workout can help you get that extra boost you need.
Protein shakes can be a great meal replacement option for those focused on weight loss
If You're Looking to Lose or Maintain Your Weight
If you're trying to maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds, you don't need as much extra protein as you would if you were working to gain muscle mass. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 0.36 grams per pound (0.792 grams per kilogram) if you're not working out or 0.55-0.73 grams per pound (1.21-1.606 grams per kilogram) if you have an active lifestyle.
Protein shakes can be a great meal replacement option for those focused on weight loss. And if protein shakes aren't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to use protein powder to create healthy meals throughout the day. We love these Chai Spiced Baked Oats for a delicious, healthy breakfast.
It's important to remember that these are just general guidelines. The best way to determine how much protein you need is to speak with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Special Circumstances for Protein Intake
There are a few special circumstances that might affect how much protein you need.
- If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you'll need more protein to support your growing baby. Try pre-making some of these protein bliss balls ahead of time and using them for a quick snack during those middle-of-the-night feeds!
- If you're an athlete or have a very active job, you might need more protein to help your muscles recover from training or a hard day's work. On a hot day, try starting your morning with this Blueberry Orange Breakfast Smoothie.
- The same goes for people who are recovering from an injury or illness. Your body needs extra protein to help repair and rebuild your muscles.
- If you're over 65, you might also need more protein to help preserve muscle mass as you age.
How much of your daily protein can come from a protein supplement?
Your daily protein can come from various sources, including whole foods, protein supplements, or powders.
How many of your daily calories should come from protein?
How much protein you need each day depends on several factors, but the recommended amount is 10-35% of your daily calories.
Protein powders and supplements can be a convenient way to get the extra protein you need, but it's important to remember that they should not be your only source of protein. Protein supplements should be used to do just that - supplement a healthy diet, not replace it.
Natural Sources of Protein
Whole foods are always the best option to get the nutrients your body needs to function properly. There are a variety of protein-rich foods you can eat, including:
- Dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
How to Supplement With Protein Powders
When supplementing your daily protein intake with a protein powder, there are a few things you should keep in mind, especially if you're trying to lose weight or build muscle.
You want your protein powder to be:
- Low in carbohydrates
- Low in fat
- High in protein
It is important to look at the serving size when you are comparing products. Some might have more protein per scoop, but they may also have more calories. Many protein shakes that are pre-made and sold in grocery stores have lots of added sugars, so be on the lookout for those, too.
You should also make sure you are not going too far over or under your daily calorie and macro needs. Excess calories from protein (or any other nutrient) can be stored as fat, even from a protein powder.
Can you have more than one protein shake per day?
Yes, you can have more than one protein shake per day. There are many people who consume two or more protein powder shakes as part of their daily routine.
Drinking protein shakes is a convenient way to increase your protein intake, especially if you're struggling to get enough from whole foods. Be sure to choose a protein powder that fits your goals and dietary needs.
If you prefer, you can even add a protein powder to your morning smoothie or other meals throughout the day. This can help you reach your daily protein goals while still eating whole, nutritious foods.
What to Look for in a Protein Powder
There are two main types of protein sources: animal-based and plant-based.
Animal-based protein powders, such as casein or whey protein, are derived from milk. They are usually high in protein and contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. These are great for people trying to build muscle or improve their athletic performance. However, whey protein powders can be rough on people who have milk or dairy sensitivities.
Plant-based protein powders, such as pea, soy or rice protein, are derived from plants. They are the ideal option for people who are looking for a dairy-free or vegan protein powder. Plant-based protein is also usually lower in calories and fat than animal-based.
In the past, plant-based protein was not as popular because it did not contain all the essential nutrients that animal-based proteins had. These days, protein powders like the Tropeaka Lean Protein contain a protein tri-blend consisting of pea, brown rice, and pumpkin seed protein that contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs. They are perfect for building lean muscle mass, as well as muscle recovery, because of their high levels of protein and amino acids. They also contain enzymes to help aid in digestion.
How many grams is enough in a serving size?
Protein powders typically come in serving sizes of 20-30 grams, so one or two scoops per day should be enough to reach your protein needs.
Some protein powders (and many protein shakes that are pre-made) contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other unhealthy ingredients. These can offset the health benefits and should be avoided if possible. The best protein supplement is made with high-quality ingredients and does not contain any fillers or artificial additives.
Can there be too much of a good thing?
Unfortunately, when it comes to protein, you can have too much of a good thing.
An overabundance of protein can lead to weight gain because excess calories will be stored as fat. Consuming too much protein can also lead to more serious health concerns like digestive issues, kidney stones, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
It is important to talk to your doctor about what your daily protein intake should be and to choose a protein powder that fits your goals and dietary needs.
Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in building muscle mass, reducing hunger, and preserving health
The Bottom Line
Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in building muscle mass, reducing hunger, and preserving health.
Protein powders are a convenient way to increase your protein intake, and it's important to choose one that fits your goals and dietary needs.
If you have dietary restrictions or want to keep your calorie count low but still need the benefits of building muscle and recovery after a long workout, there are many plant-based protein powders available. These can still provide you with all the essential nutrients your body needs, and they are often lower in fat too!