If you are a woman approaching menopause or perimenopause, you have probably wondered, “How much protein do I need during menopause?” Certainly, proper nutrition during menopause can bring its own set of challenges but I hope to make it easy to digest for you, no pun intended.

What Is Protein?

Before jumping into how much protein you need during menopause, it’s probably best to start with the basics and answer, what is protein?
Protein is one of three macronutrients. Macro meaning we need large amounts of it during the day. It is composed of a variety of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our bodies.

Roles Protein Plays In The Body

  • To build and repair broken down tissue (say from exercise or illness) 
  • Support bone, skin health and immune health
  • Help build hormones and enzymes needed in everyday life
  • Blood sugar regulation as it helps slow down digestion of carbohydrates and decreases insulin spikes
  • May help decrease the risk for osteoporosis in combination with other key nutrients

How much protein do I need during menopause?

The recommended daily intake for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, studies show that menopausal women require a higher protein intake of 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight to sustain muscle strength and prevent sarcopenia, the decrease of muscle mass and increase of fat mass that is common during menopause.

How much protein for weight loss during menopause?

Have you noticed as you have gone through menopause that you have gained weight? Perhaps you’ve been experiencing the “menopause belly”? This can be a common symptom of menopause, read our article, “Here’s why you’re gaining belly fat during peri and menopause, and what to do about it” to learn more.  Spoiler alert, eating adequate protein is one strategy that can help combat this!
Protein aids satiety, which means your less hungry after a meal when eating adequate protein. However,
nutrition is individualised and working with a Dietitian will give you the best support and plan to address all symptoms you might be experiencing in menopause.

Spacing Your Protein Out

It is important to include a good amount of protein throughout the day, as opposed to eating a majority of your protein needs in one sitting. Aiming to include a protein source at each meal and snack throughout the day can be helpful to promote protein synthesis and meet your body’s unique needs during menopause.

What are the best sources of protein?

The most absorbed sources of protein come from animal products. Additionally, animal product sources are what is called “complete proteins”, which simply means they have all the essential amino acids our bodies need for everyday activities. Plant sources of protein still have some essential amino acids but are usually lacking at least one essential amino acid.  Therefore, it takes more planning to meet your needs and we absorb less of the protein in these sources so a higher protein level than the RDA  is recommended for those who chose to live a Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle. It is best to talk about this with a Dietitian!

High protein foods for menopause

Animal sources:

  • Cottage cheese, ½ cup, 13 grams of protein
  • Greek yogurt, ½ cup, 12 grams
  • 1 cup of milk, 8-13 grams depending on the brand
  • Chicken breast, 3.5 ounces cooked, 31 grams 
  • One egg, 6 grams
  • Protein powder, depending on the brand 20-25 grams per serving
  • Salmon, 4 ounces cooked, 23 grams
  • Tuna, 4 ounces, 20 grams
  • Turkey lunch meat,  4 ounces, 20 grams
  • 80% lean Ground Beef, 4 ounces cooked, 31 grams of protein

Plant sources of protein

  • 4 ounces tofu, 19 grams
  • ½ cup chickpeas, 8 grams 
  • 1 cup cooked lentils, 19 grams
  • 1 cup soy milk, 8 grams
  • ½ cup edamame, 9 grams
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 8 grams
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter, 
  • 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds, 5 grams 
  • 1 cup wild rice, 6.5 grams 
  • 1 cup of quinoa, 8 grams

Can You Eat Too Much Protein?

Yes! Research says there is such a thing as too much protein. In fact eating an excess amount of protein can have serious implications for us. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Dehydration
  • Increased risk of kidney stones
  • Digestive problems, such as constipation, bloating and/or diarrhea
  • An excess amount of calories, leading to weight gain

However, this in amounts far more than what a typical person will consume.

How much protein is too much?

Research suggests staying under 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for long-term health.

Are You Looking For Extra Support With Nutrition During Perimenopause?

Working alongside a Dietitian is the best way to know that your meeting not only your protein goals, but your changing nutrition needs during menopause.
Click here to learn more about my individualized 12 week program, “Princess Peri”!
Click here to get my 7 day FREE meal plan for perimenopause!