3 Myths Around Female Nutrition and Protein Needs

Men and women require different amounts of protein depend on your physical size (height and weight), exercise level and overall health goals. There’s protein in just about every food out there, so the good news is that if you eat a well-balanced diet, you likely have no trouble reaching your daily protein needs.

How to calculate your personal protein needs:

  1. Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2.
  2. Multiply your weight in kilograms by a figure that relates to your activity level.
    – For a baseline active lifestyle, multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8.
    – For moderately active (think 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise three to five days a week), multiply weight in kilograms by 1.0.
    – For high-intensity, daily exercise, multiply weight in kilograms by 1.3 to 1.5 (the more you strength train, the higher the number, which can increase up to 2.0).

The number you calculate is the grams of protein you need per day. Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of how to find your protein needs, let’s dispel some of myths around female nutrition and protein needs:

Myth: Women who eat too much protein will bulk up.

Truth: Women aren’t built like men. Eating more protein will not make you bulk up.

Men produce higher levels of testosterone than women, and it’s testosterone that’s responsible for large muscle mass and promoting a lower body-fat percentage. Since women have lower testosterone levels in the body, but higher estrogen levels, they won’t bulk up in the same way as men.

To build muscle, you will need to eat more calories than you burn metabolically and through exercise. Because protein is a building block of muscle tissue, a diet rich in lean protein will help women build muscle, but not at the same rate as men. In addition to protein, to gain mass and support muscle growth reach for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.