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If you're a typical dieter, you've probably wondered, "how much protein should I eat to lose weight?" You want to know how much protein you need per day for effective weight loss.
The answer can be confusing because at the grocery store you see that protein is being added to many of your favorite diet foods. You might assume that eating more protein is better.
But that's not necessarily the case. Follow these guidelines to find out how much protein to lose weight and how much protein per day is best to reach fitness and athletic goals.
How Much Protein Per Day to Lose Weight
Before you stock up on protein supplements and diet-friendly high protein snack bars, make sure you know your recommended daily allowance for protein. Nutrition guidelines suggest that a healthy adult should consume 10-35 percent of their calories from protein. So is more protein better? Eating too much of any nutrient isn't a good thing, especially when you're trying to lose weight.
Some scientists believe that when dieters consume more foods with protein, they see greater weight loss results. But researchers maintained protein levels within the recommended guidelines. Three recent studies have found that dieters who consumed 25-30 percent of their calories from lean protein lost more body fat and substantially increased the number of calories that their bodies burned at rest.
If you exercise as part of your weight loss plan, you may want to include more protein in your diet. The protein needs of athletes are higher than those of typical dieters. Dieters who exercise can still use the 10-35 percent recommendation as a guideline and keep their protein intake at the higher end.
Or you can calculate your protein needs using a formula.
An average dieter needs 0.4 to 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That's 0.8 to 1.0 grams per kilogram. Experts recommend that heavy exercisers and athletes consume 0.5 - 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram) An athlete or heavy exerciser is generally someone who exercises more than 10-12 hours per week.
Should I Use a Protein Supplement?
Many protein supplements are expensive and some may contain sugars and other ingredients that you don't need. Why waste the money and consume the extra calories?
So, you probably don't need a protein supplement for weight loss.
If you include healthy protein foods during meals and snack, you can meet your daily protein needs. Many foods that are already in your kitchen can boost your intake. For example, do you know how much protein in an egg? Just a single large egg provides about 5 grams of protein. An egg white has about 4 grams of protein. If you combine a single egg with a few whites, you can make a diet-friendly scramble and consume 15 grams of protein or more - without too much added fat.
At dinner time or lunch you can include a piece of lean chicken. How much protein in a chicken breast depends on how much you eat, but a single 4-ounce serving generally provides 26 grams of protein.
And there are other reasons to skip the supplements and include protein foods in your diet. Foods with protein are also high in other vitamins and minerals that are essential to your diet. Lean meats, dairy, and seafood contain iron, calcium, niacin, and thiamin.