How Much Protein Do I Need?

Such a common question from my patients. Let’s break it down — you are 5’8” and weigh 150 pounds (68kg) giving you a good BMI of 23. World Health Organization recommends .3 to .8 grams of protein per a kilogram. That is 20 to 54 grams of protein a day. That’s it. End of conversation.

“But I work out” — Hard exercise for 2+hours a day i.e. professional athlete, triathlete (neither are very kind to your body) requires 1 gram per kilogram so now we are 68 grams a day. Ideally in 20 gram doses so you can absorb it.

“I want to get lean” — Gluconeogenesis. Your body turns excess protein into glucose then fat. Excess protein also stresses the liver and kidneys. Excess protein will essentially give you a beer belly.

“I don’t want to get deficient” — I’ve worked in Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cambodia for 8 years and never saw a protein deficiency.

Let’s talk about baseline exercise levels: 10K steps a day, an hour of cardio and body weight exercise with flexibility. (crawling, crossfit, ashtanga yoga or whatever the latest trend is). That is the minimum. That is not athlete level. That is human level. Do more if you enjoy it especially sports, dancing and martial arts. If possible outdoors in whatever nature is available. That is the .3 to .8 grams per kilogram level. Be honest with yourself. If you can not do that use a fitness tracker.

Does 150 pounds seem unreasonable? Do you want to talk about weight? No? Ok. Put down the weird protein drink that has been extracted with hexane and take a walk.