When it comes to protein aim to consume an adequate-moderate amount each day. Though not a hard and fast rule, in general, taller people, men and those who are more active will need to eat more protein, than women and those who are less active.
Contrary to popular, and misguided, opinion, a low carb way of eating doesn’t mean eating mainly protein. Low carb is actually a HIGH FAT, MODERATE PROTEIN way of eating. There are very good reasons for this which we’ll discuss below.
To find out how much protein you are eating each day, begin logging your foods using an online food log such as FitDay which will automatically calculate the fat, carb and protein composition of every food you eat. The results are interesting and often surprising.
TIP: When entering your foods into a food log, weigh them first so that you don’t over or under estimate how much of a certain food you are eating. There is a big difference in the number of protein grams between a 4oz (125g) and an 8oz (240g) steak, and be sure to specify whether that is raw or cooked weight.
Babies need about 10 grams a day.
School-age kids need 19-34 grams a day.
Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
Adult women need about 46 grams a day (71 grams, if pregnant or breastfeeding)
The above values are minimum amounts. Your protein requirements may differ depending on who you are and your current life circumstances.
- Women who struggle to maintain their iron levels and have a tendency toward anemia, a common problem for women in midlife when menstrual periods go awry, may need to eat more protein than these recommended amounts and they may also need to supplement with iron.
- If you’re recovering from injury, illness or major surgery your protein needs will also temporarily increase.
- Serious body builders may have much higher protein requirements.
Remember: The US guidelines above are for the average person.
So, how much protein do you need to eat when eating a low carb high fat diet?
What you need to know is that when eaten to excess, just like carbs, protein will be converted to body fat fat via a process called gluconeogenesis. Unless you’re an athlete, breast feeding or recovering from injury we generally recommend that you aim to make protein about 20% of your daily calories (25% is the very upper limit we recommend for weight loss).
The take home message is that if weight loss is your goal, as well as lowering your carb intake, you need to be careful not to over-eat protein.
If you’re a sedentary woman over 40, insulin resistant, pre-diabetic or diabetic and find that you are having particular difficulty losing weight, in addition to limiting your daily carbs, you should take care not to consume excessive amounts of protein.
Remember, a low carb diet is a high fat – not a high protein diet.
As a general rule, your macronutrient ratios (‘macros’) on a LCHF diet should fall somewhere in the following ranges: 65-85% fat, 17-20% protein and ideally 3-10% carbs. All our meal plans are calculated to fit this macro-nutrient profile. If you log your foods into an online food log or diary such as FitDay, it will automatically calculate your macro percentages from the daily food you’ve eaten and then you can tweak your diet as necessary to eat more or less protein until you’re eating the right amount to meet your goals.
Many people ask us how many grams of protein they should eat each day. The number of protein grams you need to eat will depend on many of the factors we’ve talked about: your age, height, number of calories consumed, activity level, health goals (weight loss or body building), health status and personal life stage. It is very different for everyone.
If you are interested, we offer a personalized calorie and macro calculation service where we calculate how many grams of each macronutrient and how many calories you need to eat based on 8 questions which take into account the above factors. Once you know how many calories and grams of carbs, fat and protein are ideal for you to eat each day in order to lose weight then its very easy to choose recipes from our cookbooks that fit into your daily meal plan.
Join us for more great articles and weight loss tips on our LCHF Nation FaceBook page!
Our cookbooks contain over 170 recipes for easy to make delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts and snacks. Every single recipe is 100% LCHF and Gluten-Free, contains full nutrition information and is designed to help you lose weight. These are the exact recipes we ate while we were losing weight and continue to eat to this day to maintain our weight.