How Much Protein Should Do We Need?

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

Updated: Apr 02, 2024Veronika Larisova

If you've been told you need to eat more protein then usually the hardest thing to figure out is how much protein that is, and what that looks like on your plate! This article is here to help.


What's the recommended daily intake of protein?

The amount of protein we need depends on body mass, lean body mass, net energy balance, and physical activity. The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight per day. It’s been established as the minimum amount necessary to meet essential amino acid requirements, establish nitrogen balance, and prevent muscle mass loss.

However, this guideline is often misinterpreted as the advised optimal intake. Over the last twenty years, it has become increasingly evident that diets higher in protein may offer significant benefits for general health, including muscle health. 

As we mentioned in our blog post ‘Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Protein and Exercise’, the range of 1.4–2.0 g protein/kg body weight/day (g/kg/d) is more appropriate for active/exercising individuals. This value aligns with the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range published by the Institute of Medicine for protein.

Even higher protein intakes (2.3–3.1 g/kg/d) are needed to maintain muscle mass when you eat less while physically active (i.e. intermittent fasting, dieting or while in negative energy balance due to increased training demands) or when you are ill or aging.

 

How much protein do I need?

So, to translate that, here are some simple tables to help:

Weight Minimum Daily Protein
50kg 40g of protein 
60kg 48g of protein 
70kg 56g of protein
80kg 64g of protein
90kg 72g of protein
100kg 80g of protein
110kg 88g of protein
120kg 90g of protein

 

Weight Daily Protein for Active People
50kg 70g to 100g of protein
60kg 84g to 120g of protein 
70kg 98g to 140g of protein
80kg 112g to 160g of protein
90kg 126g to 180g of protein
100kg 140g to 200g of protein
110kg 154g to 220g of protein
120kg 168g to 240g of protein

 

Weight Daily Protein when Exercising and Fasting
50kg 115g to 155g of protein
60kg 138g to 186g of protein 
70kg 161g to 217g of protein
80kg 184g to 248g of protein
90kg 207g to 279g of protein
100kg 230g to 310g of protein
110kg 253g to 341g of protein
120kg 276g to 372g of protein

 

How should I consume protein throughout the day?

The general recommendation is to spread your protein across all meals. You must ensure that you cover all nine essential amino acids, which the body cannot synthesise on its own and must be obtained through diet.

These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Animal protein sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs have a complete essential amino acid profile.

Most plant proteins (except for soy and quinoa) don't contain all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, beef has the highest leucine content, which has the greatest anabolic (muscle-building response).


What's the best source of protein?

Red meat is the best source of protein. Covering your protein needs by eating red meat has many advantages, including:

  • A complete amino acid profile
  • Contains the greatest amount of leucine
  • A high bioavailability (meaning the body can easily digest, absorb, and utilise these proteins, which is especially important for muscle synthesis and repair).
  • Nutrient density (especially iron, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and other B vitamins). 
  • The iron in beef is heme iron which is much more bioavailable. Research suggests that protein synthesis is impaired in iron-deficient states. 


It’s important to ensure you are eating red meat the right way. Read our guide here.

Meat in omelette


How do I figure out how much protein is in my meals?

The easiest way is to look at the amount of protein in 100g which gives you a percentage that you can apply. Here are some common foods, including some of our Chief products:

Food Protein Per 100g
Chief Biltong 45g of protein (14g per bag)*
Chief Beef Bar 45g of protein (18g per bar)*
Chicken breast 32.8g of protein
Lean beef 26.4g of protein
Pork Loin 22.2g of protein
Skinless raw salmon 19.3g of protein
Cashews 17g of protein (about 5g per handful)
Eggs 13g of protein (about 6g per large egg)


* Note that our biltong and beef bars are dried beef, which means we remove over 50% of the weight when we remove the water (which has no nutrients) and only keep the nutrients in the beef. This makes them a highly nutrient dense snack, packed full of protein.

An Example

If you're 60kg + active + looking for maximum benefits from protein you want to be aiming for 120g of protein per day. If you split this into 3 meals, you want to be aiming for 40g of protein per meal. That might be a 150g of steak, or 120g of chicken breast. If you're finding it hard to get enough protein per meal, read on!


Does collagen count as protein?

Yes! Collagen protein also counts towards your daily protein intake, although it does not contain all nine essential amino acids. Collagen is a type of protein abundant in the body, playing a crucial role in the structure and integrity of skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues.

When you consume collagen through foods or supplements, your body breaks it down into amino acids, which can then be used for various bodily functions, including repairing tissues, making hormones and enzymes, and providing energy.


We produce less collagen and utilise it more as we age, so consuming extra collagen is recommended for joints, bones, and skin. To boost your collagen intake via diet, you would have to eat animal skin and cartilage and drink bucketloads of bone broth.

Grabbing a Chief Collagen Protein Bar for a snack or adding Chief Collagen Protein Powder to your coffee or smoothie is much easier.


Hacks to increase your protein

If you're finding it hard to fit in enough protein per meal, it's easy to supplement! For example, if you're rushing from the gym to work, or on the road all day and don't have time to stop for a proper meal, here are our go-to hacks:

Meal Ideas
Breakfast
  • Add a bag of Chief Biltong (14g of protein) or Beef Bar (18g protein) to your scrambled eggs
  • Add a serve of unflavoured Chief Collagen Protein Powder (14g protein) to your coffee
  • Crumbled a Chief Collagen Protein Bar (around 14g to 18g of protein, depending on flavour) on top of your yoghurt, or just have it as you leave the house. Side note: the collagen bars are easy to digest so are great pre exercise too.
  • If you're short on time or all else fails, grab a Chief Beef Bar on your way out the door for as much protein as 3 large eggs (18g)! Add a Collagen Bar for a good serve of protein for most adults.
Lunch
  • Buy a salad in your local café and throw in one chopped-up Chief Beef Bar (18g protein)
  • Or, buy a ham sandwich (14g of protein, just avoid the pre packaged stuff that's full of junk) and finish off your meal with a Chief Beef Bar to get to a total of 32g of protein for the meal.
  • Have a Chief Collagen Protein Bar (around 14g to 18g of protein, depending on flavour) for dessert.
Snack
Dinner
  • Throw a bag of Chief Biltong in a store-bought soup (14g protein)
After Dinner

The result? You just added at least 70g of protein with ZERO EFFORT and NO NASTY ADDITIVES. 

HOT TIP FOR PARENTS: If you're wanting to get more protein in your kids' diets then our Dark Chocolate Protein Powder is a winner to replace sugary options like Milo. It's a sure fire crowd pleaser on top of Weet-bix or Porridge. 


WANT MORE IDEAS?
 Grab the Chief Recipes e-book.


Why is protein so important? 

Protein is a critical nutrient that provides the building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Our body uses protein to build and repair tissues and make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals. When we don’t eat enough protein, our body breaks down muscle tissue to provide amino acids for critical physiological functions.


Ensuring we consume an adequate protein for our body helps to:
  • Support immune function
  • Assist lean muscle growth, maintenance and repair
  • Support our digestive system
  • Facilitate weight loss and increase satiety
  • Maintain healthy skin and hair
  • Stabilise our blood sugar levels
  • Assist in hormone production


When our body is experiencing protein deficiency, it will express this via:
  • Poor immune function
  • Mood swings
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Muscle wastage
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Failure to thrive in children
  • Poor sleep
  • Skin problems
  • Hormonal issues (such as low testosterone)
  • Digestive issues due to impaired enzyme function


 

Veronika Larisova
Co-Founder, Registered Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist 

 



References

More articles

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published