Did you know that apart from water, protein is the most abundant substance in your body? Protein is vitally important to the healthy growth and functioning of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs. It is also helpful for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight because it:
- Boosts metabolism
- Increases satiety to keep you feeling full longer
- Reduces levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Curbs cravings
- Maintains muscle mass so you burn more calories
Calculating Your Daily Protein Requirement
I receive a lot of questions from Brain Warriors about how much protein to eat each day. I always say it depends on your weight, activity level, and age, but most people need between 45-100 grams of dietary protein per day. To calculate your needs, grab a calculator and follow these steps:
- The average daily intake of a health individual should be approximately 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight (not your actual weight). A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. So start by figuring out your weight in kilograms: simply divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
- Now, multiply your weight in kilograms by the amount of protein per kilogram. For myself, I use the higher number of 1.0 grams per kilogram because of my high activity level. If you’re very active, you can eat more protein. If you’re less active, 0.8 grams per kilogram is sufficient. (However, if you aren’t very active, I encourage you to increase your daily movement!) This is your daily protein goal.
- Next, divide this number by the number of meals and snacks you eat throughout the day to determine how much protein you should eat with each meal. And keep in mind that you may not want to divide the number evenly as you may eat less with small snacks than you do at regular mealtime
The Protein-Per Meal Question
How much protein should you consume with each meal? In most of my recipes on my website, I aim to provide about 20-25 grams of protein. In general, this covers most people’s needs. However, depending on your individual situation, you may need more or less protein. Feel free to adjust the amount of protein in any recipe to fit your needs. Remember, the Brain Warrior’s Way is not one-size-fits-all. You are the master of your own brain and body health.
The easiest way to determine how much protein to have at a meal or snack is to use the palm of your hand (minus your fingers) as a guide. If you “shake hands” with protein, you’ll get just what you need.
When More Protein Isn’t Better
Too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good for you. This is true of protein, where consuming more than you need can be harmful. Our bodies aren’t designed to effectively process large quantities of protein. Consuming too much protein causes increases oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, contributes to cellular aging, inefficient DNA repair, and disease. Another problem from eating excessive protein is that it makes it nearly impossible for you to get enough of the energy-giving, disease-fighting nutrients that come from whole, living plant foods.