How Much Protein I Need Per Day: 15 Ages, Conditions Enfolded

Here is the exact amount of protein that you need at different ages, states, and situations! Dealing with health conditions or weight management? It will help you in meeting all your goals.
How much protein I need per day at 15 different ages and health conditions: A kid, girl, lady, muscle showing man, and old man thinking in cartoon illustration by Sneha Upadhyaya
Humans at different ages thinking, "How Much Protein I Need Per Day?"

Protein Requirement for 15 Different Age Groups and Conditions


While longing for attractive yet healthy physic, 'How much protein do I need per day?' is the most important question.

Its answer depends on the following aspects:

  • Your age: You are in a state of growth or a full-grown person
  • Gender: You are a male or female
  • Lifestyle: At what level your body is involved in your daily chores
  • Level of physical activity: What is your exhausting level as per your profession
  • Physical goals: What kind of body you are aiming for
  • Muscle requirement
  • Health conditions

The above are some points that you can't ignore while deciding the right amount of protein intake for your body, fitness, and good health.

Before knowing the exact or close amount of protein need, let's understand what is protein and what are the basic use, benefits, or functions of this abundantly found nutrient!

What is Protein?

Protein is much more than being just a nutrient. After water, it is the biggest contributor to body-building.

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Protein Structure

Protein is a bigger term, and its basic units are amino acids. The molecules of these amino acids combine in different combinations and patterns making a beads-like or strings-like structure that makes a chain-like formation.

There are two types of Amino acids that are found in our bodies. First, non-essential amino acids that our body produces, and second are essential amino acids that our body can’t produce and rely on external sources which are our foods.

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Protein Sources

The most popular sources of protein are milk, cheese, butter, bread, rice, soya bean, and groundnuts. Yet protein is abundantly found in eggs, meat, fish, beef, and other animal products.

Why Do You Need to Care about How Much Protein Your Body Needs?

If you are a non-vegetarian and fulfilling your protein demands through animal products, you are probably supplying well to your body.

If you are a pure vegetarian, you need to watch what you are eating to fulfill your body’s protein demands. The same kind of vegetable diet might take you to protein deficiency. Yes, your body will work, but in the long run, just ‘okay’ is not okay and you need to supply your body a sufficient amount of protein.

Here is Why You Need Protein?

Other than being the fundamental building block, it helps in many other functions like clotting, defense, formation, transport, growth, tissue repair, and replacement, etc.

When our body finds the deficiency of carbohydrates, it breaks into carbs and accomplishes the requirement of fuel giving energy to our body.

Importance of Protein at Different Age: Know Your Protein Need!

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Although the recommended quantity of protein need which is mentioned below is enough to save you from downright deficiency, yet the accuracy of the exact needed amount for ensuring your optimal health depends on many factors. These factors include your age, activity level, muscle mass, health state, digestive capacity, and overall weight vs your height.

Other than the above, your physique goal also matters. If you aim for some weight loss, muscle building, or weight gain, the “right” amount of needed protein per day will differ for you.

Here you are all those different states and situations that you might be in and as per that, the protein amount necessary for you!

How Much Protein Does a Little Child Need Per Day?

Babies: 0 to 06 Months

Amount of Protein Per Day: 9.1 grams

Infants: 7 to 12 Months

Amount of Protein Per Day: 11 grams

Children: 01 to 03 Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 13 grams

School-Age: How Much Protein Do Kids Need Per Day?

Kids: 04 to 08 Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 19 grams

Boys and Girls: 09 to 13 Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 34 grams

Protein Requirement at Teenage

Grown Boys and Girls

Girls: 14 to 18 Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 46 grams

Boys: 14 to 18 Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 52 grams

Protein Need at Young Age

If you are an active game player or a sports person, injuries and muscle tears are parts of your life. And where there are damages, repairing is one of the prime concerns. Here comes the need for a repair-master of our body, which is none other than 'protein'.

In the case of exercise too, this hero of repairing and replacement does wonders. In resistance to exercise, our body tissues face damages, and protein does its work there.

Do you know that even while moderate daily activities, the microscopic fibers of muscles get damaged?

Now in all the above three states, it depends on you that how, how many, and what type of heroes you are appointing to work for your body. The quantity and quality of protein are what should be watched in your diet. Your performance depends on the protein component introduced to your plate. This ensures how soon you recover your damages by repairing and replacement. And thus this also decides how quickly you will be able to resume the activity you are performing.

Adults: Daily Protein Requirements for Adults

Protein for Men and Women

Women: 19 to 70+ Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 46 grams

Men: 19 to 70+ Years

Amount of Protein Per Day: 56 grams
Amount of Protein Per Day: 0.8 grams per pound of body weight

Adults Performing Little Physical Activities

Protein Quantity: 0.36 grams per pound bodyweight (every day)

Needed Protein Quantity for Pregnant and Breast-Feeding Women

Protein for Mothers and Would-be Mothers

Amount of Protein Per Day: 71 grams

How Much Protein Do Elder People Need?

Protein for Elders: Old Vs New Theory

Amount of Protein Per Day: As per the old theory

0.36 grams per pound of body weight per day
0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day

Amount of Protein Per Day: As per the new theory

0.68 grams per pound of body weight, per day
1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, per day

Protein Requirement for Elderly (Old) People

0.45 to 0.6 grams per pound of body weight, per day

Importance of Protein at Old Age

People at this age most commonly face the problems of osteoporosis and muscle mass reduction, which is also known as sarcopenia. Protein helps in the prevention of both of the issues in elderly people.

Protein repairs damaged tissues or worn-out cells. In humans, after the age of 18 to 22, the organs develop to their full growth. After full development, the body cells or tissues need protein to mainly compensate for the loss incidental. The toxicity in our body is responsible for the occurrence of waste, deterioration of tissues, and degeneration of cells. If we follow a healthy lifestyle and consume a diet that supplies minimal toxins, we can significantly decline the rate of tissue waste, and so the needed amount of protein.

Protein Need During Injuries?

What about People Who Have Got Injuries?

Protein is known to repair your tissues, so yes! It is beneficial in injury recoveries as well. You can go ahead with introducing a significant amount of extra protein in your diet while having an injury.

A Vital Nutrient for Athletes!

Protein Amount Needed for Athletes

0.5 to 0.65 grams per pound of body weight, per day
1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight, per day

Endurance Athletes

Amount of Protein Per Day: 0.55 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound

Athletes on/after Training, Building Muscle Mass

Amount of Protein Per Day: 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight

Athletes Performing Excessive Strength Training

Protein Quantity: 0.91 grams per pound bodyweight (every day)

This is the highest capacity of processing up the protein, for the human body.

To heal up the damaged tissues of a human body, the recommended amount of protein is sufficient, where it is noticeable that one should not exceed that suggested amount.

Protein for Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Protein Use in Weight Management

This amazing nutrient plays a vital role in both weight loss and weight gain, so you can’t at all afford to avoid protein in your diet.

Protein Use in Weight Loss

In the state of hunger or even craving, protein gives you much more satisfaction than fat or carbohydrates. You feel satiated after consuming protein-rich food, feeling full. It also helps you in getting rid of late-night snacking and feeling the lesser obsession with eating or food thoughts.

Protein boosts the rate of metabolism and reduces appetite. For this boost, about 25 to 30% of protein calories work best. This protein consumption reduces your appetite decreasing the rate of calorie intake.

So this way, it helps you to lose weight, preventing you from gaining extra pounds.

The Bottom Line

Add protein to your diet in an appropriate amount, that is, about 30% of calories can be an optimal diet plan for weight loss or weight management.

For example, if you are following the 2000 calorie per day rule, about 150 grams of protein per day can help you a lot.

Warnings: Can High Protein Give Adverse Effects on Health?

Don’t overdo it. Don’t start relying on just protein for fuel or energy. People who want to lose weight or build muscles or want a perfect body, they often mistake while following a "low carb high protein" diet. Too much use of protein is going to take you nowhere.

Lack of carbohydrates means our body needs to depend on the stored protein of our body. And protein breaking into carbohydrates and then into energy is a too strenuous job which gives extra burden to your liver and kidney. So don’t forget to go to the "right" amount.

High protein is recommended to avoid if you already have kidney-related problems, but it is not so that if you have a healthy body and you are taking high protein then you will end up with kidney damage. The studies and research say that this theory is a myth that higher proteins affect your body adversely, but this is also right only when you are taking other nutrients in a balanced amount and performing physical activities in coordination with your diet plan.

Nutrients are essential and play wonder if introduced to your food and diet plan, but beware! The measured quantity is the key to get the optimum results. Otherwise, things can be disastrous too.

Protein Requirement: Does Too Much Protein Consumption Helps More?

The benefits of protein in developing muscles, protecting from diseases, the growth of hair motivates to consume protein. But beware! Excessive intake of protein can prove to be harmful too. It might increase your body fat. Overconsumption can also give overstrain to your liver and kidney. So take adequate protein in your diet, but do not over-take. Stick to fulfill the daily body requirement of protein! This is the best approach to follow.

Protein Use in Muscle Gain and in Building Muscle Strength

Our body is made of muscles; muscles are made of many tissues that contain larger protein. These tissues constantly break and again rebuild.

To build muscles, our body needs to build more tissues than they are breaking. So we need to take more protein than what our body is consuming in the tissue formation, repair, and replacement process.

As protein contains nitrogen abundantly, we can say we need to make net protein balance or net nitrogen balance.

The above mechanism is the reason that people advise to intake protein in the greater amount as higher protein eating helps in building muscles and gaining strength.

Proteins are recommended for those also who have already built body muscles but want to lose some body fat, holding muscles. High protein saves you from losing muscles when dieting Is on.

How Much Protein Do Muscle Mass Watchers Need?

Those, who want to maintain muscle mass, are not suggested protein intake amounts in percentages of calories, but they are advised to take protein in grams per body weight unit. Where this amount is for per day or on a daily basis, the bodyweight is in kilograms or pounds.

1 gram per pound of bodyweight
2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight

Although if we want to know the exact quantity of protein intake, research suggests contradictory amounts:

More than 0.8 grams per pound doesn’t help.
Slightly greater than 1 gram per pound gives the best results.

Yet most support quantity is as below:

0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight
1.5 to 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight

Protein Diet and Muscle Soreness

If you are suffering from muscle soreness after a heavy workout or weight-lifting schedule, don't forget to introduce adequate protein to your diet as protein helps in repairing and replacing the body tissues. It saves you from experiencing a prolonged recovery process. But remember! Over-eating of protein will not speed up the healing process, so it is in vain to consume too much protein to get better results soon. Our body needs its time to heal, which can't be done at a fast pace. So be patient!

Protein Supplements: Vegetarians Vs Non-Vegetarians

Protein Need Per Day

In the case of protein, the recommended dietary allowance differs from age to age and as per the level of daily physical activities. However, 2 to 3 servings of protein sources in the diet are beneficial for healthy tissues.

Considering the above fact, either we can rely on animal proteins or can go for combining more than one type of plant protein in our diet.

Protein Sources for Vegetarians: Protein Rich Food and Fruits

Here, one thing needs to be clear that animal protein doesn't mean lean meat or eggs only. Vegetarian people can get it with milk or milk products too.

Let's know some combinations for veggies, which can fulfill the body's requirement of protein!

Protein Source: Whole grains
Combining food: Legumes

Protein Source: Rice
Combining food: Beans

Protein Source: Toasts of whole wheat
Combining food: Peanut butter

These all are high-quality protein-rich sources that supply plant-based proteins.

The idea of Protein Quantity

Below are some measurements for giving you an idea about how much protein a serving contains!

Protein Source: Milk
Quantity: One cup
Amount of Protein: 8 grams

Protein Source: Dry Beans
Quantity: One cup
Amount of Protein: 16 grams

Protein Source: Meat
Quantity: 3-ounce portion
Amount of Protein: 20 grams

Important to Know: Basic Terminology of Protein Requirement Amount

For indicating the amount, ‘grams of protein’ or ‘’pounds of protein’ are two terms that are used commonly. Here it means ‘grams of macronutrient protein’ and not ‘grams of food like vegetable, soya or eggs’. So, do not get confused with this.

For example- An egg weighing 46 grams contains only 6 grams of protein. So by taking 46 grams of egg, you are not going to take 46 grams of protein, but just 6 grams of protein.

So here you will know how much 'real protein' amount, not food amount. This kind of terminology is used because different food, fruits, and vegetables consist of different amounts of nutrients. One can't say "take 1 apple" for some results because that apple can be smaller or bigger which changes its nutrition valueHow to Read Food Labels: 15 Explanatory PointersHow to Read Food Labels: 15 Explanatory Pointers.

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