If you are an athlete or simply a very active individual, protein shakes can be a good way to make sure that your diet includes enough protein to heal and strengthen your muscles. Less physically active people can still use protein shakes to help with weight loss by using them as a low-calorie alternative to full meals.
If you are a fairly sedentary adult, calculate your daily protein requirements by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 0.4. For example, if you weight 120 lbs., you should consume about 48 g of protein per day. If you weight 170 lbs., you should consume about 68 g of protein per day. If you weigh 200 lbs., consume about 80 g of protein per day.
If you are a fairly active adult -- getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise at least several times per week -- your protein requirements will be somewhat higher. To calculate your daily protein requirements, multiply your body weight by up to 0.6. That means a 120 lbs. person will need up to 72 g of protein daily, a 170 lbs. person will need up to 102 g of protein daily, and a 200-lb. person will need up to 120 g of protein daily.
Protein requirements for athletes will vary to some degree depending on the type of sport they play. Athletes, in most cases, should multiply their weight by about 0.6 to 0.9 to determine their daily protein requirements. Endurance athletes like distance runners will likely need amounts on the lower end of that range. Although they do put a significant strain on their muscles, they put more strain on their lungs and cardiovascular system, which requires less protein to recover. Larger, heavier muscles would simply slow these athletes down.
Resistance athletes can compete in virtually any sport that requires explosive power and strength -- football players, wrestlers, hockey players, boxers and so on. These athletes will likely need to consume protein requirements on the higher end of the 0.6 to 0.9 times their body weight range. This is because the strain of creating powerful muscles requires more protein to heal and build them. Of course, you can get most of the protein your body needs from your food -- you only need to put enough protein into your shakes to make up the difference between your daily protein intake and your daily protein requirements.
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- MSNBC: Protein 101--How Much Do You Need?
- National Institutes of Health: Dietary Guidelines Should Reflect New Understandings About Adult Protein Needs; Donald K. Layman; March 2009
- Faqs.org: Protein
- Rice University Protein Requirements for Athletes
- Fresh Blueberry Kefir image by Jaimie Duplass from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.