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How Much Protein Should I Eat to Gain Muscle?


Protein intake per our body requirements relies on various factors, including age, activity level, muscle mass, physique goals, and overall health. According to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), a person should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound, i.e., 0.8 grams per kilogram, in accordance with their body weight. If you aim to gain lean muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories daily from muscle-building food.

With the help of this article, you can assess the amount of protein one should eat to gain muscles. It will also alert you to the risks and symptoms you can face due to inadequate or excessive protein consumption. But first, let’s tell you what proteins are exactly.

What is Protein?

Proteins are one of the three macromolecules the body requires for adequate function. They are commonly known as the building blocks of the body. They play an important role in the production of muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and numerous molecules. Protein is present in all living organisms, including essential biological compounds such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. Animal foods are usually high in protein.

Why is Protein Important?

Protein is an important part of our healthy diet. A few amino acids that make up different types of proteins are produced by our body, while we have to obtain other essential amino acids through our diet. It helps build and repair our body’s muscles, bones, tissues, and organs. Not getting enough protein in your diet may lead to health issues, including Rhabdomyolysis (tissue breakdown) and muscle atrophy (muscle loss).


How Much Protein Should I Consume?

Generally, 10%-35% of our daily energy comes from proteins. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that an average individual consume 0.8-1.3 grams of proteins per kilogram daily. Alternatively, you may consume 0.36-0.6 grams per pound of body weight daily. For example, a person that weighs 75kg (165 pounds) should consume an average of 60 grams of protein per day, equalling 240 calories.

To increase our muscle mass concomitantly with physical activity, weight lifting, or training, individuals should intake 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. As for pounds, it should be 0.5-0.8 grams per pound of body weight. So, an individual weighing 75 kilograms should increase their protein intake from 75 grams (300 calories) to 128 grams (512 calories) to gain muscle mass.

At the same time, our body requires a higher amount of protein as we get older. At 50, we must increase our protein intake to one gram per kilogram of our body weight to maintain muscle mass.

Benefits of Protein Intake

Protein has numerous health benefits. Consuming the right amount of protein can even help you gain muscles. We have enlisted the benefits of proteins below:

Gaining Muscle and Strength

A higher protein intake and exercise can help people to build their muscles and strength. When a person intakes high amounts of protein while losing body fat, it can prevent muscle loss, which mostly occurs during weight loss. Studies show 1 gram of protein per pound (2.2 grams per kg) of body weight is suitable for gaining muscles. Other studies indicated that 0.7-1 gram per pound (1.6-2.2 grams per kg) of lean mass are sufficient.

Weight Loss

Protein is important for weight loss as we must consume fewer calories to burn and lose weight. It contributes to weight loss by reducing appetite and boosting our metabolic rate. It leads to a reduction in calorie intake. Protein consumption is better than fat or carbs in your total calories to keep your appetite full and prevent weight gain.

A study on obese males showed that an intake of 25% calories from protein increases the feeling of fullness and reduces the desire for midnight snacks. Eating a high-protein diet can help us maintain our weight loss diet. 30% of calories from protein intake is optimal for weight loss.


Our body requires more protein during pregnancy to grow and develop fetus tissues. Specialists recommended that pregnant women consume an extra 0.55 grams per pound (1.1 grams per kg) of protein during pregnancy. During breastfeeding, the mother should intake 0.59 grams per pound (1.3 grams per kg) per day and 25 grams of protein. Fishes with high omega-3 fatty acids and low mercury salmon, sardines, and anchovies are a great source of protein during pregnancy and lactation.

Foods Enriched in Protein to Build Muscle

High-protein food is very important for gaining muscles. Here are the best food enriched in high protein and low saturated fats.

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Chicken Breast
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Tuna
  • Lean Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Soybeans
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Beans
  • Protein Powders
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts
  • Milk
  • Almonds
  • Brown Rice

Signs and Symptoms of Inadequate Protein Intake

Most foods contain protein, resulting in protein deficiency in developed countries. An inadequate protein intake can lead to long-term complications, including weakened immunity type, malnutrition, hair thinning, and muscle loss. Protein deficiency may also cause some other health problems, such as:

  • Fatty liver diseases and conditions
  • Skin, hair, and nails problems
  • Greater risk of bone fractures
  • Stunted growth in children
  • Greater appetite and calorie intake

Signs and Symptoms of Excessive Protein Intake

If an individual consumes too much protein over 2 grams per kilogram of body weight a day, it will result in severe health conditions, including the signs and symptoms of the following:

  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Undesirable weight gain
  • Azotemia (acute renal failure)

Moreover, people eating excessive protein for their weight and activity level may experience the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Constipation


Proteins are the body’s building blocks, contributing to the structure, function, and regulation of organs and tissues. Consuming a high-protein diet helps in gaining muscle and strength. An average person should intake 0.8-1.3 grams of protein per kilogram per day; for pounds, each person should intake 0.36-0.6 grams per pound of body weight in a day. However, as we age, we should increase the protein intake to 1 gram per kg of our body weight to maintain muscle mass. Some protein-rich food includes egg, milk, fish, meat, peanuts, and beans. Inadequate protein intake may lead to edema, hair, skin, and nail problems. At the same time, excessive intake may result in kidney dysfunction, insomnia, dehydration, etc.

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