Should You Increase Your Protein Intake?

With the abundance of protein shakes, bars, powders and other protein products filling the shelves at grocery stores, it’s clear that there is an increased focus on assuring we’re all getting enough protein.

It is true that protein is extremely important with its primary function to build and repair tissues, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Protein is also important for energy, to curb appetite, support weight loss, and for the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. 

It is recommended that 10-35% of your total daily calories should come from protein. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 indicates that most of us are meeting or exceeding our protein requirements, however, many professionals are suggesting that we may want to steer towards the high end of the recommended protein intakes. 

Let’s do the math

If your daily caloric requirement is 2000 calories, 10-35% of that would equate to 200-700 calories or 50-175 grams of protein. That’s a big range!

How much protein you specifically need depends on several factors:




Physical activity

Here’s some formulas to help you determine your individual protein needs:

The average adult: .8 x ideal body weight (kg)  = ____ gm/protein/day 

Adults 40 plus years: 1.2 x ideal body weight (kg) = ____gm/protein/day

Avid Exerciser: 1.5 x ideal body weight (kg) = __gm/protein/day

Body Builder: 1.7 x ideal body weight (kg) =  _____gm/protein/day

Endurance Athlete: 2 x ideal body weight (kg) = ______gm/protein/day

Note: To calculate your weight in kg, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2

Excessive protein intake is considered more than 2 grams per kilogram of your ideal body weight each day. Be sure to consume your suggested intake, but do not go over as it can cause various health complications. 

Good Sources of Protein

To avoid debating the pros and cons of a vegan versus non-vegan diet, just understand there are pros and cons to each type of diet. It is a personal choice and once you make it, just understand that protein is critical regardless of whether you are eating animal products or not. A vegan will just obtain their protein from a different source than a non-vegan.  

To determine the amount of protein in food, use the following as a guide:

8 grams of protein, 1 cup of milk.

7 grams of protein, 1 ounce of cheese.

20 grams of protein, 1 cup of Greek yogurt.

25 grams of protein, 1 cup of cottage cheese.

22 grams of protein, 3 ounces of meat (chicken, fish, pork, beef).

7 grams of protein, one egg.

5 grams of protein, 1 cup of whole grains.

8 grams of protein, 3 ounces of tofu.

18 grams of protein, 1 cup of boiled lentils.

8 grams of protein, 1.5 ounces of pumpkin seeds.

9 grams of protein, 1.5 ounces of nuts.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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