How much protein you should eat in a day — and what happens when you have too much

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Protein is critical for building and maintaining muscle and keeping you feeling full after eating. So it’s no surprise that protein powder is one of the best-selling supplements in the US.

In reality, most Americans already get plenty of protein from their diets — beans, eggs, fish, nuts, meat, and tofu are all rich in the stuff. Most of us actually get too much of it.

To figure out how much protein you need daily, Business Insider talked to Lisa Sasson, an associate professor of nutrition at New York University. Sasson said there’s a simple equation you can use to find out roughly how much you should be eating every day.

All you have to do is convert your weight into kilograms (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2) and multiply that number by 0.8. If you don’t want to do the maths, you can also use this handy tool from the US Department of Agriculture. (Simply fill in the fields in the grey box, select “protein” under the macronutrients category, and click “submit.”)

Based on the formula, a 150-pound man would need about 55 grams of protein each day.

A pretty typical day would likely put most of us over that amount. A breakfast of two eggs and toast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, and a dinner of cheese enchiladas and refried beans would provide roughly 70 grams of protein.

Going over your standard intake every once in a while is perfectly ok, but when it happens consistently, it may have negative consequences that range from weight gain to digestive issues.

A recent long-term study of more than 7,000 adults published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate the most protein were significantly more likely to become overweight compared to the people who ate the least.

So if you’re considering a protein supplement, take a look at your daily diet first to make sure you’re not overdoing it.