I am a 27 year old active male that really enjoys working out. However, I’ve heard so many different stories on how much protein I should be consuming, that I feel pretty confused. Can you please help shed some light on this?

A balanced diet for those who workout on a regular basis will include approximately the percentages below, with the mix depending on your goals:

60-70 percent carbohydrates
10-15 percent protein
20-30 percent fat

The government’s standard recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms). However, sports nutritionists and researchers have found that those who work out regularly may need from 1.0-2.0 grams per kilogram.

The upper end of this range includes young and novice body builders. In the middle are many endurance athletes, such as distance runners or cyclists. Most moderate exercisers would fall into the lower range.

Here’s an example of how much protein is in what we normally eat:

Lean Hamburger patty, 4 ounces – 30 grams
Chicken breast, 4 ounces – 40 grams
Glass of milk – 10 grams
Two slices of bread – 5 grams
Egg – 10 grams
Oatmeal, 1 cup – 7 grams

It’s important to know that the body cannot store extra protein. Like any extra calories, it is either stored as body fat or used for energy, if it’s needed for that.

Extremely large amounts of protein can actually be toxic to your body, overly stress your liver and kidneys, cause you to lose too much calcium, or can lead to dehydration.

Protein is a vital building block so make sure you get enough, but be careful not to overdo even a good thing.