top of page

How Many Grams of Protein Do Your Really Need? New Findings 2024

Protein, the most popular macronutrient of them all. Just typing the word makes me think of muscle. Not only is protein essential for us, but it helps promote anabolism, satiety, and strength. Aside from the popular “how much do you bench?”, protein intake is probably the second most common fitness question.

It’s widely known that protein plays a large role in maximizing muscle protein synthesis and overall muscular development. High protein diets and weight lifting simply go hand in hand together. We all know that we should be eating a lot of protein, but how much do we actually need? How much is too much, and most importantly how much is necessary?

Just keep reading and you’ll find out everything that you need to know about protein today!


General RDA for Protein

The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is only 0.8g/kg or better said 0.36g per pound of bodyweight. These RDA marks only provide the minimum amount of protein to maintain healthy body functioning for sedentary people. The RDA marks are basically the lowest amount of protein intake needed for people who are non-active and are not looking to maximize their looks and athletic performance.

However, if you’re a health and fitness enthusiast you will need more protein and your bottom number will go up substantially.



Protein Intake per Meal

One of the common myths surrounding protein is its supposed intake for each meal. Typically it’s said that the body cannot use more than 20-30g of protein in one sitting. If this were the case, humans would have died off a long time ago.

The human body is a lot more efficient than we give it credit for. You can absorb and use however much protein you consume basically, it will just take longer to digest. Recent studies have shed light on this topic. One study compared two weeks of an Intermittent Fasting protocol which involved 20-hour fasting cycles with a more conventional meal pattern. The fasting group consumed over 100g of protein in their 4-hour feeding window, and they found no difference in preservation of lean mass between the groups (1).

I’m not trying to say fasting is what you should do all the time, just want to point out that there really is no limit to how much protein you can consume in one sitting. Overall protein intake at the end of the day is the most crucial factor!

The same goes for meal frequency as well. If you can only consume 20-30 grams of protein in one sitting, it would be nearly impossible to hit your daily protein requirements in only 3 or 4 meals thus requiring 6-8 “small” meals a day.

To sum up, eating larger protein packed meals is optimal and effective. There is no need for a bunch of small protein snacks and meals throughout the day, 3 or 4 meals are just fine.



The 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weight Standard

The majority of us have definitely heard about the popular and recommended “1g of protein per pound of body weight” at least once. However, the truth is a bit different in reality.

A lot of research is available on this topic, however I can only conclude that it generally supports a slightly lower protein intake than 1g/lb. For instance, one detailed research states that there is no advantage to consuming more than 0.8g/lb (1.8g/kg) of protein per day to preserve or build muscle. This is probably quite a bit less than what you are consuming (2).

Be that as it may, going a bit higher and being on the safe side can’t really hurt. Actually, Eric Helms did a systematic review of protein needs for calorie restricted individuals. He looked at how protein impacted resistance trained athletes and analyzed their intake. He found that protein needs for energy-restricted athletes are higher, likely around 2.3-3.1g/kg of FFM. So, between 1.05-1.40g of protein per pound of Fat Free Mass, not body weight (just to be clear) (3). 

Certain circumstances simply require a bit more protein, cutting or leaning out to be precise. The maintenance or muscle building phase doesn’t require such high protein intakes.



How to Determine Your Ideal Protein Intake

You’ll have to consider certain factors before you calculate your ideal protein intake.

1. Calorie Intake – A calorie deficit will always push your protein number up.

2. Lean Body Mass – Your ideal protein needs should be based on your lean body mass ideally, and not so much on just body weight. But, since most people don’t really know their accurate body fat numbers, you can simply use a bit less protein if you have a generally higher body fat percentage, and a bit more if you have less. Obviously you can’t recommend a protein intake based solely on body weight with someone who weighs 350lbs at 35% BF.

3. Training Experience – As your training experience goes up, your protein needs actually go down. Be that as it may, since most people who have been training for a long time frequently train harder in order to make new progress, this point is negligible.

4. Activity Level - An active person that works out often will require more protein. Training is set up to create a high level of stimulus, so you need to intake more protein in order recover and grow. So, as you increase your activity levels, also increase your protein.


Implementing a Perfect Protein Strategy

-         Spread your total protein intake fairly evenly over 3-4 meals throughout the day. Don’t stress if you consume a bit more protein in one meal and a bit less in the other, hitting your total daily protein goal is what matters most.

-         If you’re a recreational lifter who does not compete or have a body fat above 15% for males and 23% for females, consuming 0.7g-1g of protein per pound of body weight would be optimal. The higher your body fat is the lower amount of protein you’ll need.

-         If you’re really a hard training individual, who is lean (sub 15% male, 23% female), in a calorie deficit, I recommend a higher protein intake of 1-1.1g of protein per pound of body weight.

-         The more severe the calorie deficit is, the more protein you’ll need. On the flip side being in a surplus of calories decreases the need for more protein. Keep this in mind.



The reality is that most of us get more than enough protein in our diet. In spite of that I see people obsess about protein intake almost every day.

It’s really not that complicated, pairing a healthy balanced diet with the outlined protein principles in today’s blog you will surely hit the right mark. Just don’t overcomplicate things and stick to the proven principles you learned today!





bottom of page