Always the ever-going debate, how much protein should we be eating is the questions of the century. And debate it how you want, protein is essential for bodily functions, like building healthy tissues, a healthy immune system, healthy hormone levels, and storing energy, as well as maintaining muscle mass to protect against injury.
The amount of protein your body needs varies according to what stage of life you are in, your age, your weight, your goals, your activity level and your predisposition for certain chronic diseases. I typically prescribe for my nutrition clients to eat 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (not pound of body weight, this is different), and then depending on the factors I mentioned above, adjust from there. For example, a pregnant woman, a postmenopausal woman (who is steadily losing muscle mass because of her age) and and very active woman are going to need more protein than the semi-sedentary 35 year old who exercises a couple times a week.
Furthermore, the male body builder is going to need a heck of a lot more protein than the average person because he is trying to gain muscle mass and hold on to it as he trains. Those who are at risk for things like osteoporosis, fractures, and inflammatory diseases should stick to the higher end of the protein spectrum because they will need to build and hold on to muscle to protect their bones, tissues and their bodies from injury and wear-and-tear.
Many women shy away from eating “too much” protein because they think they will turn into The Hulk; this just isn’t true. Adequate protein can help maintain and build lean muscle to keep you sleek and tone while also keeping you strong and able. Remember it’s not just about aesthetics; we need protein to function and protect the body from injury!