How Much Protein is Too Much

Some people have been asking me how much protein they need to consume for an adequate level to maintain muscle mass.

An Idea Health and Fitness article was recently written.

It is recommended by the Institute of Medicine to get 10%-35% of your total calories from protein. What amount do you need? The range is .8-1.2kgrams for average American Adults.

If you are a healthy sedentary adult the recommendation is .8grams per kilogram of body weight. If you are an endurance athlete that number goes to 1.2-1.7g/kg and 1.4-1.8 if you are a strength athlete. 2g/kg is the maximum level of usable protein.

Since America goes by lbs. Here is a conversion rate.

1Kg=2.33lbs

Take your weight in lbs and divide by 2.33  If you weight 150lbs thats about 68 kgrams.

Here is an easy online website to use or just google search lbs to kg.

LBS To KG

If this person is healthy but sedentary = 54 – 68 grams of protein daily

Endurance athlete = 68 – 82g

Strength athlete = 82 – 112g

Make sure you are getting enough but not too much!

If you eat too much it can cause nausea, weakness, diarrhea, or can be too hard on your kidneys and may cause kidney stones and dehydration. (Tipton 2011) Excessive protein may leech calcium and increase the risk of osteoporosis. (Bonjour 2011)

Luckily the USDA has a basic food chart, although it doesn’t list a lot it gives you an idea, of how much protein is in an ounce of samples. Here are some samples.

Are you getting enough or eating too much?

Samples Of Potent Proteins

Protein Source Serving Size Grams of Protein
milk 1 cup 8
beef, chicken 3 ounces 21
egg 1 egg 6
dry beans 1 cup 16
soy 1 ounce 25
seeds (e.g., flax, sunflower, pumpkin) 1 ounce 2–9
nuts 1 ounce 6–8
yogurt (regular, Greek) 6–8 ounces 7–11, 14–18
protein powders and drinks variable 10–60
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