Protein is found throughout the body—in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. At least 10,000 different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way. Protein is made from twenty-plus basic building blocks called amino acids, which our bodies make in two different ways: either from scratch, or by modifying others.

Nine amino acids, known as the essential amino acids, must come from food because they aren’t produced in our bodies.

There’s a bit of misconception around protein in that many people think they only need it to build muscle. The truth is you need it daily whether you’re a bodybuilder training for Mr. Olympia, an athlete recovering from an injury, or getting older and trying to stay strong and mobile. The effects of protein deficiency range in severity from growth failure and loss of muscle mass, to decreased immunity and weakening of the heart and respiratory system. Our bodies need protein every single day to stay strong or get stronger, and be healthy. 

Since you know how important protein is, you might want to ask: "How much do I need"?

We want to clarify that we aren’t nutritionists or dieticians, but we did some research to give you some guidelines. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight. 

For example:

  • For a 140-pound person, that means about 50 grams of protein each day.
  • For a 200-pound person, that means about 70 grams of protein each day.

However, as we age, many experts agree that there may be a need to increase our protein intake. At around 50 years of age, we need to increase the protein in our diets to one gram per kilogram of our body weight to maintain muscle mass. People that exercise regularly also need to eat more protein than the recommended daily intake. To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. For example, an individual who weighs 75 kilogram might increase their protein intake to 75 grams (300 calories) to 128 grams (512 calories) in order to gain muscle mass. 

And don’t forget the aches and pains! If you’ve got a nagging injury or an acute sprain that you’re trying to recover from, your body needs the building blocks of to do the job properly. 

Now you’ve learned what protein is and a general idea of how much of it you need, but you’re missing the last piece of the puzzle: where do you get it?

Protein can be found in relatively high concentrations in the following foods:

  • Meats, poultry, and fish
  • Legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Milk and milk products (cheese and yogurt)
  • Grains, some vegetables, and some fruits (provide only small amounts of protein relative to other sources)

Keep in mind that animal-based protein sources tend to have better absorption rates. However, even vegetarians can achieve adequate protein intake when a variety of plant sources are included, ensuring intake of all essential amino acids.

Here are some practical protein equivalents in common foods:

  • One cup of milk has eight grams of protein
  • One cup of soy milk has about seven grams of protein
  • One egg has six grams of protein
  • A three ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein
  • One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein
  • An eight ounce container of yogurt has about11 grams of protein

Based on all of this, hopefully you now understand more about the importance of protein. The benefits of eating more protein than the recommendation are not limited to sports performance or improving your body’s physique, but can also delay the onset of age related muscle loss and help preserve muscle mass and strength in those getting older. Eating more protein will help you to maintain independence and improve quality of life. If you have any questions, please ask so we can point you in the right direction in regard to your diet and health habits.


Our goal at PPC is to get you stronger so you can participate in your favorite activities, and learning about protein is part of that process.

Peak Performance Care

in Sonora CA

13949 Mono Way

PO Box 4143

Sonora, CA 95370


(209) 532 1288

Fax: (209) 230 9529

Monday/Wednesday: 8am-5:30pm

Tuesday/Thursday: 6am-5pm

Friday: 6am-2pm

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