How Much Protein Powder Should I Take?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Protein powder is a nutritional supplement that is often used by bodybuilders and other fitness buffs; it is said to help bodybuilders and exercisers build muscle mass and strength. However, there’s more to protein than just growing larger and stronger. It also helps to build body tissues, heal wounds, make hormones, and ensure healthy nail and hair growth; it is even important in the development of antibodies. When people have difficulty getting enough protein from food, they often turn to protein powder instead. At this point, they have to decide how much they should consume each day.

The average adult woman may require 1.6 ounces of protein daily.
The average adult woman may require 1.6 ounces of protein daily.

Generally speaking, most people should be able to get enough protein from their diets, without adding protein supplements. The average adult woman may need about 46 grams (1.6 ounces) daily while the average man may need about 56 grams (1.9 ounces) per day. Most people have no trouble reaching these levels through normal eating. However, this powder may be helpful for those who exercise a lot, follow vegetarian diets, or just want to supplement for better health.

People who are hoping to build muscles should consume 1 to 1.5 ounces of protein powder for each pound of lean mass he or she has.
People who are hoping to build muscles should consume 1 to 1.5 ounces of protein powder for each pound of lean mass he or she has.

It is difficult to determine how much of this supplement a person should consume each day. Since people are not all alike, dose amounts may depend on everything from gender, weight, and overall health status to level of activity, health and exercise goals, and eating habits. The manufacturers may recommend daily amounts, but medical doctors and nutritionists may be able to pinpoint the best amount for a person starting supplementation. This type of professional is likely to provide a dosage requirement that suits the individual rather than a suggestion that fits the general population.

Protein powder.
Protein powder.

For those who work out and are hoping to build muscle, some experts recommend consuming about 1 (.03 ounces) to 1.5 grams (.05 ounces) of protein powder for each pound of lean mass a person has. For example, if a man weighed 180 pounds (81.64 kilograms) and had 10 percent body fat, he would multiply 180 by 10 percent, getting 18 pounds (8.16 kilograms). Subtracting the 18 pounds (8.16 kilograms)from his total weight, he would realize he had 162 pounds (73.48) of lean body mass and should consume between 162 (5.71 ounces) and 243 grams (8.57 ounces) of protein powder and protein-rich food on a daily basis.

Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein powder.
Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein powder.

It’s worth noting that nutritionists and fitness experts may disagree about the use of protein to build muscle. Nutritionists often recommend exercising and eating moderate amounts of protein as part of a healthy diet. In contrast, fitness experts may recommend loading up on protein. In the face of such conflicting information, speaking with a trusted physician may help.

Bodybuilders and exercisers may use protein powder to help build muscle mass and strength.
Bodybuilders and exercisers may use protein powder to help build muscle mass and strength.
The amino acids in whey protein -- whether found in foods or drink supplements -- are essential to muscle health.
The amino acids in whey protein -- whether found in foods or drink supplements -- are essential to muscle health.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I am trying to get more protein in my diet, and found some organic whey protein powder at the health food store. I was surprised at how well this tasted.

If I don't want any extra calories, I will mix the protein powder with water. This tastes OK once you get used to it, but I will usually mix it with juice for a better taste. I have found that I do seem to have more energy when I take protein powder on a regular basis.


I have used both soy and whey protein powder supplements. I have also had chocolate and vanilla flavored powders, but my favorite is a vanilla whey protein.

One of the easiest ways for me to get extra protein in my diet is with a protein powder shake. I will usually put a tablespoon in whenever I make a shake in my blender.

They are so easy to make and very good for you. I just put in some fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries and bananas, add a scoop of protein powder some yogurt and crushed ice and it makes a great shake that will keep me full all morning.


I use a protein powder supplement because I don't eat much meat. I don't consider myself a vegetarian, but just don't like a lot of meat. Since I don't get as much protein as I need from the food I eat, I like to supplement with a protein powder.

I buy my protein powder from a natural nutritional supplement company and try to use a couple tablespoons a day. I like to sprinkle it on my cereal in the morning. It really blends in well if I make a hot cereal like oatmeal, but I will also use it on dry cereal.


@ElbowTickle - This was exactly the dilemma I faced when I first got into using protein powder in my diet -- how to cut out all of that sugar? Since I am diabetic, keeping the sugar and carbohydrates out of my recipes is a good thing, since I do not have to take insulin shots for foods that are purely protein and/or fats.

I did some searching online and found that you can buy natural protein powder in bulk without any added flavors or sweeteners for much, much cheaper than you would pay for a container of the sugary stuff. The only downside was that this bulk stuff didn't taste that great. I did more hunting around.

The brand I ended up liking best is called Isopure Zero Carb. It's priced similar to regular sugary protein powder, but has zero sugar and zero carbs. And it tastes good!


I've been trying to lose weight and buff up a little more, so I've been browsing around for the amount of protein I should take and I was shocked to find what people think about protein.

According to one website, a man that is 200 pounds and spends most of his day sitting should have 73 grams of protein a day. For what? His bodies don't even use that much protein in a day. I'm surprised he don't weigh more.

I know a lot of people use protein powder to replace meat in their diets, but I prefer to get all of my protein from fresh meat. That way, I get the healthy amino acids in it too.


@ElbowTickle - Yes you can make your own -- and if you do it right, it's cheaper than more protein powders. Hemp protein powder is one of the ingredients you will want to consider. Ground flax and PB2 protein (basically powdered peanut butter) are some others.

The popular mix I see is two cups of hemp powder, one cup of PB2 and a cup of flax protein. You just sift it all together until it's smooth. It will take a lot of mixing and you should do it one powder at a time.

I take a half cup of this mix in my morning smoothies. If you can find it, sugar-free whey protein powder would be a great addition to the mix. Hope this helps.


@wander - I agree with you that most men don't get enough protein. Unfortunately, the average American diet mostly consists of carbohydrates and white table sugar. I don't think women even get enough. Most people can't afford to have meat with every meal.

I did the protein powder drink diet for a while, but the protein powder I was using had tons of sugar in it. It seemed counter productive for my weight loss and muscle gaining plan, since sugar spikes your insulin.

Does anyone know where I can buy the best protein powder without the sugar? Is there any way to make my own?


Protein powder is one of the most important things you can add to your diet if you are trying to build muscle mass. I really believe that most men don't get enough protein to make an impact on their muscles when they first start training. Or the protein they do get is not of good quality.

The whey protein you buy is concentrated and has enough calories in it to really work as a meal replacement if you need it. Plus, if you make smoothies out of the whey protein by adding fruit it can really make a tasty breakfast that is pretty healthy too.

As far as how much protein powder you should take, a good idea is to talk with a personal trainer and see what they recommended. I think a lot of it has to do with how much muscle you want to gain.


Protein powder usually comes with recommended dosage guidelines on the bottle so you really don't have to worry about taking too much or too little if you just follow the directions. What I find problematic is that not enough containers contain information for both men and women.

For myself I usually have to hunt online to find a good guideline for women. Often we don't need as much protein as men do, and usually we also have vastly different goals when it comes to gaining muscle mass.

There are some brands of protein powder made specifically with women in mind but I find them more expensive and I figure they are just repackaged versions of the men's protein powder anyway, so why spend the extra money?

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