Protein Per Day: Dietary Allowance, Gender Difference, And More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Protein is one of the most important macronutrients required by the body to build muscles and develop them well.

While other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats are replaceable with each other, protein holds solid ground.

Metabolism, muscles, and weight management along with brain development rely on protein. Since it is so essential, one needs to know about daily protein requirements.

This article will help guide you to cater to your protein needs according to numerous aspects. 

The most basic approach to calculating protein requirement is by considering the weight. About 35 percent of daily required calories should come from protein. 

As per dietary reference intake, the healthy amount of protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. 

For example, a person weighing 50 kilograms should consume 40 grams of protein daily. However, these numbers are just enough to prevent the risk of deficiency.

The actual protein needs calculation is far more complex. It is different for each individual depending on additional factors like age, medical condition, gender, etc. 

Proteins Based On Gender

For an average-weighing adult female, 46 grams of protein is needed per day for maintaining a healthy function. For males, the average required value increases up to 56 grams of protein per day.

It is noteworthy that these are just average numbers. Long-term goals, aspects, and situations are also crucial to determine protein needs. 

Males have more stable needs of protein throughout until additional circumstances like bodybuilding or declining age comes attached. Females have more varying needs depending on various phases. 

  • Protein Requirment In Periods

    Protein is helpful in several ways for a healthy menstrual cycle. It may stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cravings and help fight fatigue due to blood loss.

    Its deficiency may even lead to the stopping of periods. This condition is termed amenorrhea. 

  • Proteins For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding are two phases that double the need for proteins for a female. It is because now the body has to provide nutrition for two i.e the mother and baby. 

    Remember that the protein required in this phase should come from organic foods rather than supplements, till your doctor advises you otherwise. 

  • Protein Requirement During Menopause

    Menopause is a phase that demands extra care and nutrition. Due to significant dropped levels of estrogen, the risk of muscle and bone loss shoots up.

    Thus, to keep up with the changes without suffering losses, a woman needs about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, a female weighing 60 kg needs 60 to 72 grams of protein. 

  • Protein For Post-Menopause Phase

    Post-menopause is an aspect that follows several crucial phases in a woman’s life. Since it naturally comes in the declining age along with reducing hormones, the needs shoot up.

    Thus, it is a must to consume 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight during post-menopause. 

Protein Requirments According To Age

  • Children

    This subcategory is further divided into four parts. The first one is infants. The second group is toddlers. They need about 13 grams of protein on average.

    The next one is preschoolers. They need about 19 grams of protein daily. School-going children of age 9- 13 require 34 grams of protein.

    Once they enter their teenage years, the requirement becomes gender-oriented. So, girls require 46  grams of protein and boys need 52.

  • Youngsters

    On average, adults need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But there are also slight variations depending on gender and medical conditions. 

  • Older Adults

    With aging, adults become more prone to problems like osteoporosis and muscle loss. Thus, the protein demands increase by changing aspects. This increase might be up to 50 percent with aging. 

    Older adults of age 65 or below need about 1.3 grams of protein a day. On the other hand, adults aged above 65 may need up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. It may help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and cell repair.

Protein Intake Based On Medical Condition

  • Liver Or Kidney Disease

    Chronic diseases related to kidney or liver disease may be triggered by high protein intake. It may further worsen. 

  • Kwashiorkar Disease

    Excessive malnutrition induced due to severe protein deficiency is called kwashiorkor disease. Initially, it may require 1-2 grams of protein per kg of body weight.

  • Cancer

    People with cancer need higher protein than normal for energy and cell repair purposes. The range of protein intake per kg of body weight for cancer patients is 1.2- 1.5 grams. 

  • Burn Patients

    The healing process requires protein. In case there is a lack of intake, the body breaks muscles for energy needs and healing. Thus one must consume 1.5 to 2 grams per kg of body weight. 

Daily Protein Requirement For Weight Loss

Although protein alone may not cause weight loss but may lend a helping hand if you are following a weight loss regime. 

It may suppress cravings and act as a better calorie source. Protein is much more filling than carbs and fats of equivalent amounts. That is why many follow a high-protein diet for weight loss

Protein boosts metabolism that helps burn calories. As you might know already, burning more calories and eating less of these induce weight loss. 

Protein offers additional advantages as it helps you create a calorie deficit without starving yourself. By following a high-protein diet, you may burn up to 100 calories more in comparison to a low-calorie diet. 

Weight loss may require extra protein than normal. To calculate it for yourself, multiply your total calorie intake by 0.075. For example, if you are on a 2000-calorie diet, you need 150 grams of protein per day.

Protein Requirement For Muscle Gaining

Have you ever wondered why trainers and bodybuilders hold protein dear to their hearts? It is because protein is not a secret or magic trick of bodybuilding but the scientific basis for it.

Our body uses protein to build and repair muscles. So if you are aiming at gaining muscle mass, bulk up on your proteins. You might need about 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for this goal.

Some use an alternative method to calculate protein needs by using lean muscle mass instead of total body weight.  Another benefit of a high-protein diet is that it may help you lose weight without losing muscle mass.

Thus, you can carry on with both goals simultaneously. Protein-rich foods are enough unless a professional advises you to use supplements. 

Consequences Of Overconsumption Of Protein

The first reason to avoid eating too much protein i.e about 3 grams or more is that goes waste. The body either converts it into energy or stores it. 

There could be several side effects of high-protein diet. People with liver and kidney disease may suffer from discomfort and even worsening symptoms. Other claims suggest extra protein may lower blood pressure to abnormal levels. 

Besides, it is best to avoid it because even if it will not cause any harm, it provides no benefits either.


Protein is vital and its need varies from person to person. Factors like age, gender, weight, and medical conditions affect the daily required value of protein.

Consuming foods like peanut butter, eggs, cottage cheese, and tofu is better than supplements. Dividing daily required protein evenly among meals and snacks makes achieving the target easier.

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