University of Illinois Extension

How Much Protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks of our bodies, Proteins are found in every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. The protein we eat is broken down into amino acids that are constantly used to build and replace the proteins in our bodies.

Most adults in the United States consume more than enough protein to meet their body's needs. In general, adult women (age 19 and over) need 46 grams or protein each day and adult men (age 19 and over) need 56 grams of protein each day.

Examples of foodsAmount of protein
1 cup milk8 grams protein
3 ounces of meatabout 21 grams of protein
1 cup dry beansabout 16 grams protein
8 ounces yogurtabout 11 grams protein

Individuals who follow a vegetarian diet can meet their protein needs through non-animal source such protein, such as beans and legumes, soy products, and grains.

The website ChooseMyPlate.gov is a resource that individuals can use to personalize their daily food intake and determine how much protein they need every day. This website also has meal planning resources for vegetarians.