Are you eating enough protein?

Posted by Marnie Nitschke on

Part 2: Protein. Following on from last week's blog where Marnie discussed what protein is, this week she dives a bit deeper so you can assess if you are eating enough. Let's explore....

Well that really depends on a lot of factors!  As a general rule, official protein recommendations are based on body weight.  Base requirements for healthy children and adults are estimated to be between 0.8 – 1g protein per kg body weight, depending on factors like age, gender, pregnancy and breastfeeding status.

To give you an idea of what this equates to:

For a 75kg male, 60-75g protein/day

For a 65kg female: 50-65g protein/day

And what does that look like in food terms?  The following day of eating provides 75g protein.  As you can see, it’s pretty easy to meet your base protein requirements when you’re eating regular meals with a variety of foods. 



Protein (g)


2 Weetbix with ¾ cup milk



¼ cup nuts with ½ cup Greek Yoghurt



1 egg sandwich on whole grain bread



30g cheese with crackers



100g Chicken breast with salad / veggies


Total grams protein:



Many We Feed You meals are considered a good source of protein and can help towards achieving your protein intake. For example some good lunch options which are also rich in vegetables include: Thai Green Coconut Curry has 15g or Pumpkin and Lentil Dahl with Brown Rice 16.5g. Many of the meat based meals are well over 30g per serve. 

Are there benefits to having a higher dietary protein intake than the standard suggestions above?

In short – yes – there can be.

Up until fairly recently, very high protein diets have been discouraged due to concerns about overloading the kidneys and increased calcium excretion in urine causing bone loss.  Recent extensive research reviews have failed to find any convincing evidence of this in humans, concluding that higher protein intakes of up to 2-2.5g/kg appear have no adverse effects, and may be helpful in some circumstances.

The current Australian dietary recommendations do not give us strict guidelines for protein grams per day, and recognise that dietary patterns with anywhere from 15-25% of daily energy intake coming from protein could suit different individuals.

Some reasons you may want to aim for higher protein intakes (1.2-2g protein per kg), include:

  • If you’re trying to build muscle mass with weight training
  • If you’re an athlete with high recovery needs after events
  • If you’re elderly and trying to hang onto muscle and bone mass
  • If you’re recovering from surgery or have high healing requirements from wounds
  • If you’re trying to curb hunger levels and manage blood sugar levels

Next week in Part 3 on protein, we explore who might benefit from a high protein diet and why eating higher protein can be helpful (without the gym bro rhetoric).

Read here >


Before embarking on any dietary change, always consult your doctor or dietitian, to ensure it is right for you, and your individual health factors.


Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.

Stuart M. Phillips, Stéphanie Chevalier, and Heather J. Leidy. Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 41(5): 565-572.

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