There Are Only Two Reasons to Eat More Protein

There’s no denying that protein is important to maintain muscle mass, bone function, and overall health. But, does the average person really need to eat a high-protein diet?

That’s the question researchers from Perdue University sought to determine in a new study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. The team analyzed 18 studies and looked at whether exceeding the recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein impacted a person’s body mass compared to those who ate the suggested amount. It’s generally advised that all adults eat roughly 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, meaning a 180-pound guy would need about 65 grams of protein each day.

The team found that consuming protein in excess of the RDA didn’t impact composition in people who weren’t dieting or specifically weight training to bulk up their muscle mass.

According to Kacie Vavrek, R.D. at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, this study just reinforces what dietitians already practice.

“Dietitians understand that periods of low energy intake require more protein to prevent muscle loss, and periods of high stress or increased physical training would also require a higher protein intake to support muscle mass,” she tells Men’s Health.

Vavrek explains most sedentary people are fine sticking to the 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. But people trying to lose weight or those who are very physically active should work with a dietitian to find the amount that’s best for their bodies, she says. Active guys generally want to aim for 1.3-2.0grams of protein per kilogram of weight, but the exact amount varies based on goals, lifestyle and health status, she says.

“There is no one-size-fits-all diet or protein intake goal for any one person,” says Vavrek.

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