Do I REALLY need that much protein?!

gwenster89 Posts: 48 Member
edited January 2021 in Health and Weight Loss
Hey everyone! Happy new year. I've been getting back on my food/lifting grind (and damn it feels good!) and I've been having a blast nerding out about macros and intermittent fasting and all the things I'm going to sort of mostly not do. However, one thing I've seen a lot is that we should be eating 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound that we weigh. Is that true?! I've found that a lot of these numbers are catered to normative bodies (TDEE is another one), but once someone has a higher amount of body fat than what those calculations were created from, the results are no longer accurate. So, if I'm 200 lbs, should I really be eating 160 to 200 g of protein? That just seems like a lot. My naturopath said 80 is good, which is a very different number.

Just curious what your thoughts are! Thanks in advance!


  • BarbaraHelen2013
    BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,991 Member
    I’m absolutely no expert but the formula you’ve quoted should be per kilo, not per pound as you’ve stated.

    That pretty much halves the requirement you’ve calculated give or take a gram or two.
  • AndreaTamira
    AndreaTamira Posts: 272 Member
    You should be just fine getting about 0.36 gram per pound of body weight (as in, avoid deficencies, be healthy). Higher protein intake can be good for weight loss, though, and is definitely useful if you want to built up muscles.
  • RashadLavelle
    RashadLavelle Posts: 46 Member
    Kilograms, so I'm at 185 lbs and if I convert that to kilograms, then that's 83.91 kilograms of my bodyweight. So my calculations for the recommended protein intake is 67 grams of protein per day. /// 0.8 grams of protein x 83.91 of my weight in kg = 67 grams of protein that I need.
  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,276 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Angela937 wrote: »
    Y'all thats way to much math!

    Let MFP do the math!

    MFP's default of 20% of calories from protein is also perfectly adequate.

    (Bumping it up to 25-30% gets you in some of the ranges mentioned above.)


    The USDA suggest protein should be 10-35% of calories. If you're lifting want to be on the higher % which for most people in the normal or a bity overweight (per BMI) will get you into the .8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight range.
  • tbilly20
    tbilly20 Posts: 154 Member
    Eating enough protein can be tough, and (as mentioned above) expensive. The suggestion of increasing your % to 30 is excellent.

    I started eating overnight oats for breakfast. This allows me to fortify my mixture with protein. Then I’ll have a protein mix prior to working out. I’ll eat a portion of protein with lunch. Then I have another protein as a snack before dinner and have an equal portion with my evening meal. I shoot for 30gr at each occasion. That usually puts me at about 150-175 grams.

    I focus my meals around whatever protein I am having. As a pescatarian, meats are more limited, but Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp and many other sea foods are fantastic sources! I spent years as a vegetarian, and I just could not eat enough protein, conveniently. I have young kids, and there is simply not enough time.
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 974 Member
    I eat 25% which is 130g for me. It can sometimes be a challenge but I notice better recovery and less doms after a heavy lifting sess if I’ve been hitting those targets. Eating under 100g doesn’t work as well for me personally. (For reference, I’m 46, 122 pounds and lift 4x a wee.)
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,894 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    My thoughts...

    A lot of responders aren't understanding that protein needs are situational and someone who is dieting and training gets a huge benefit from a far higher protein intake than someone maintaining and not training.
    Quoting nutritional minimums for the general population is missing the point - aim for closer to optimal for your personal circumstances.

    You are correct that your fat mass can skew the numbers, a lean 200lb person would require more than a overfat 200lbs person.
    My choice was 1g per pound of estimated lean mass as a minimum goal, a rough estimate is fine.

    This. And what I did was aim for about .8 g/lb of a healthy goal weight. (The formula I've seen a lot, and there are articles at to support them, is .65-.8 g per lb of a healthy body weight or about .8-1 g/lb of lean mass can be beneficial, especially if you are active and/or trying to lose weight. I went with the higher end, although I didn't care if I was occasionally under, since I am extra concerned with maintaining muscle in that people tend to lose muscle as we age even without a deficit and I was in my mid 40s when I started losing.)
  • gigius72
    gigius72 Posts: 183 Member
    edited January 2021
    There is not an actual number. The USDA numbers were issued decades ago, but not really based on any study. If you go to old style bodybuilders you will hear huge numbers. Some of new generation bodybuilders tend to have lower numbers. R. Cheeke has had a career in bodybuilding winning titles and he has never touched protein supplements. Two things are sure though:
    1 excessive protein is bad for your kidneys.
    2 if you want to be in a keto diet, be aware that our body turn protein to glucose (sugar) if glycogen storages are emptied.