How much protein do you need, really?

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Lately it seems like everyone’s trying to load up on protein – and for good reason! Protein helps you stay full and eat less. It builds muscle, keeping you lean and boosting your metabolism (double win!) Plus it takes six times more energy to digest than carbs or fat, so you don’t pack on as many calories. What’s not to love?


So I was pretty shocked when I came across some recent statistics[1] about how much protein we’re actually eating. Rather than being protein deficient, many of us are practically swimming in it. The average woman downs somewhere between 70 and 77 grams a day, while a typical guy inhales 102 to 111 grams. To put that into perspective, that’s 15 to 45% more than most of us need according to current guidelines. And although many people think those recommendations are on the low side, it’s still fair to say that we’re hardly protein deficient.


When it comes to protein, the problem isn’t how much we eat, it’s how we eat it. Most of us start the day with protein-empty, carb-heavy bagel or muffin. Later at lunch, you might nibble on a little in your salad or sandwich. Then –boom – dinner is a big hunk of meat, chicken or fish. The trouble is, our bodies can’t store protein. So most of that dinnertime protein gets broken down and excreted. But there is a better way. By feeding your body a steady stream of protein at every meal you’ll be able to tap into its super powers all day long.


The magic formula: Roughly 20 to 30 grams at every meal. Here’s a snapshot of what that would look like.



Easy, right? Just keep in mind that for maximum results you’ll want to combine this with a few sessions of muscle building exercise, like weight training, a few times a week. Does it work? Yes! Since I’ve put this research into action I’ve seen real results, so give it a try. When you do, I’d love to hear how it goes!


[1] USDA. “What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2014, individuals 2 years and over (excluding breast-fed children) day 1.”

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