Protein is needed for nearly every function in the human body, and is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. High-protein foods includ
Protein is needed for nearly every function in the human body, and is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. High-protein foods include meat, poultry, seafood, soy products, seitan, eggs, dairy foods, legumes, seeds and nuts. The amount of protein you require per kilogram of body weight depends on your age and activity level. To convert pounds of body weight to kilograms, divide by 2.2. For example, a 150-pound adult weighs 68 kilograms.
Consuming the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein may meet your needs especially if you’re sedentary; but RDAs should be treated as minimum protein requirements. The Institute of Medicine’s protein RDAs are calculated using 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This means an adult who weighs 68 kilograms needs at least 54 grams of protein each day. The RDA for pregnant and nursing women is 71 grams of protein per day. Active adults and elderly people likely require more protein than the RDA of 0.8 grams per kilogram.
The RDA for infants is 1.5 grams per kilogram, and protein RDAs for children are 0.85 to 1.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on the child’s age. Younger children need more protein per kilogram than older children. Some children have protein needs greater than the RDA, especially during times of rapid growth or increased physical activity. A study published in a 2011 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” suggests that school-aged children may need an average of 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram, which is higher than the RDA.
The protein RDA for elderly people is 0.8 grams per kilogram per day, which is the same as the RDA for younger adults. However, increasing protein needs above the RDA may help improve strength, function and muscle mass in elderly people, according to a 2008 review published in “Clinical Nutrition.” This review suggests that 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram is beneficial for elderly individuals. Another review published in a 2009 edition of the “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society” recommends older adults consume a minimum of 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram each day for optimal muscle and bone health.
Athletes generally need more protein than the RDA to help build, maintain and repair muscle mass in response to training. A review published in a 2011 edition of the “Journal of Sports Sciences” suggests that athletes may benefit from consuming 1.8 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, especially during times of intense training. A study published in a 2011 edition of the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” reports that consuming more than 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram does not provide additional benefits for athletes.