How much protein do you need?

What is protein?

Protein is a nutrient that comes from foods such as meat, fish, seafood, chicken, beans, tofu, nuts, and dairy products. It provides the building blocks (amino acids) that your body needs to repair tissues, grow, and function properly.

Protein also provides a feeling of satiety. It is important to have enough to help you to feel full after eating and not hungry again half an hour later!


How much do we need?

  • It’s recommended that between 15—25 per cent of our energy (kilojoule/calorie) intake is from protein.

  • For an average adult whose requirements are 8700kJ day that’s between 78—130g of protein.

  •  Aiming for 20-25g of protein at each meal and 5-10g at a snack is a good guide.


Animal vs. plant based protein

Animal-based proteins, such as those found in meat, eggs, and dairy, often contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need and are generally high in nutrients like iron and vitamin B12. Plant-based proteins, like those found in beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, can be lower in certain amino acids, but they often contain more fibre and antioxidants. They also tend to be lower in saturated fat compared to animal-based sources.

Both types of proteins can be part of a healthy diet. If you are only eating plant-based protein sources, it is important to eat a variety of these to ensure you get all the essential amino acids. If you eat animal-based protein then remember to include some plant-based sources too to ensure you're getting a variety of nutrients your body needs to function at its best.


What is protein powder?

Protein powders are powdered down and concentrated proteins from food sources for example:

  • Whey proteins are derived from milk

  • Plant-based protein powders are derived from various types of grains, peas or seeds

They are often flavoured and can be added to milk, water, yoghurt, cereals etc. for convenience.

Most provide 20-30g protein per serve.

Good quality protein powders should contain 700 – 3000 mg of Leucine (a branched chain amino acid) per serve. This information should be on the nutrition label or their website.


Do I need protein powder?

Most people don’t need to use protein powders, you can get all the protein you need through real food. They are however very convenient, so if you are busy and sometimes struggle to get adequate protein each day, you might sometimes find them helpful.

If you do a lot of exercise, you are likely to need more protein that someone who is more sedentary, so again, in this situation, they might be useful at times.

The optimal protein intake for exercising/athletic people is 1.4–2.0 g protein per Kg of body weight. So that’s 105 - 150g of protein per day for a 75Kg person.


Download our FREE resource How much protein is in that? for more information.



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Published By

Claire Turnbull



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