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How Much Protein Do You Need?

Protein, along with carbohydrates and fats are the three macronutrients you cannot live without.  Protein is the building block for every part of your body, and helps build and maintain muscles, which are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. The amount of protein required for each person’s diet depends on the activities you engage in during the day.

A typical way to tell how much protein you need to take in each day is to multiply your body weight by 0.37 then convert to grams, so a 200 pound person would need to have 74 grams of protein per day.  Athletes who are involved in heavy physical activity, such as heavy weight lifting or endurance exercise such as long runs, should increase their protein intake to between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per day for each kilogram of body weight.

Pregnant women also want to increase protein intake.  As the building blocks for everything in our bodies, it’s important to see how necessary protein is while a baby is developing.  Pregnant women should increase protein intake by about 10 grams per day over the recommended amount in order to help their baby’s brain, eyes and cardiovascular system work perfectly upon their arrival.

Too much protein can harm your body by stopping up kidneys and putting you at risk for dehydration.  If your caloric intake is made up of more than 30% protein, it causes a buildup of toxic ketones.  This can cause your kidneys to over work trying to clean those ketones out of your system.  As the kidneys work, they produce a byproduct called ammonia, which the liver converts to urea.  In addition to this extra strain on the kidneys and liver, too much protein can cause dehydration, especially if you are exercising frequently.

Over indulgence in protein is something to be on the lookout for if you are using a Paleo diet, being careful to keep the ratio of protein to other macro nutrients (carbohydrates and fat) appropriate.  Cross fit and Paleo go well together, but it’s important to make sure you get all the nutrition you need.  People who run lots of miles every week usually need around 3,000 calories per day, so having the grains restricted by a Paleo diet just won’t work.  Before you decide to have a Paleo diet, examine your activity level and make sure you know how much is too much.

For help planning or changing your diet, contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com.