Are you getting enough protein? There is a good chance that you are not! Here’s 11 ways that your body can hint that you just aren’t getting enough protein:
- Low thyroid function
- Poor detoxification
- Digestive difficulties
- Poor hair and nail growth
- Estrogen dominance
- Cravings (especially for proteins like red meat!)
- Blood sugar instability
- Poor sleep
- Weight gain
If this is you, here are some simple tips to discover how much protein you need, and how to balance your protein intake accordingly.
Roughly 15-20% of your daily calories should come from protein, that's roughly 75-100 grams daily based on a diet of about 2,000 calories/day. Of course, these needs can change with activity level, pregnancy, illness, and other circumstances (so always listen to your body). Although I'm not one to recommend counting grams or calories, sometimes it is helpful for a day or two to make sure you are eating enough.
How to determine how much you need: You should plan on getting around .6 to .75 grams of protein each day per pound of body weight. Here's a little equation if you need more help: body weight x .6 (or .75) = ballpark grams of protein per day. The more active you are, the more you need.
For example, if you weigh:
125 pounds: 75-94 grams/daily
150 pounds: 90-113 grams/daily
175 pounds: 105-131 grams/daily
200 pounds: 120-150 grams/daily
For example, if you need about:
1800 calories/day: 67.5-90 grams/daily
2000 calories/day: 75-100 grams/daily
2200 calories/day: 82.5-110 grams/daily
2400 calories+/day: 110+ grams/daily
Protein balance to reflect eating the "WHOLE" animal
Your body needs a certain balance of amino acids (building blocks of protein) to support your bodily functions, particularly your liver and detoxification. The very balance you need is achieved when you eat the "whole animal" and ALL of its parts. When you just eat "muscle meats" regularly, (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, etc.), you tend to create an amino acid imbalance in your body that favors inflammation and starves your liver! It is important to balance the amino acid profiles you put in your body.
- More inflammatory proteins: Muscle meats from pork, beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, etc.
- Anti-inflammatory proteins: Gelatin, bone broth, shell fish, fish, organ meats (all organs, not just liver as it's too high in vitamin A), eggs, dairy products
If you have been eating a Standard American diet, it would greatly benefit you to to try and eat for a more balanced protein consumption. The easiest way to achieve this is to restrict muscle meats while increasing anti-inflammatory proteins.
How much protein do you eat per day? Are you getting enough?
Ray Peat, PhD