Recent developments in understanding protein needs - How much and what kind should we eat?

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 May;41(5):577-80. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0549. Epub 2016 Apr 25.


A novel method has been developed to determine protein requirements, which is called indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO). This technique has been validated by comparison with the "gold standard" nitrogen balance. Using IAAO we have shown that minimum protein requirements have been underestimated by 30%-50%. The National Academy of Sciences has for macro-nutrients proposed "Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges", which for protein is 10% to 35% of total energy. In practice, we suggest 1.5-2.2 g/(kg·day) of a variety of high-quality proteins.

Keywords: amino acid requirements; apports protéiques optimaux; besoins en acides aminés; besoins protéiques; croissance; energy; growth; lean body mass; masse maigre; optimal protein intakes; protein; protein quality; protein recommendations; protein requirements; protéines; qualité des protéines; recommandations pour les protéines; énergie.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis*
  • Egg Proteins, Dietary
  • Energy Intake
  • Food Quality
  • Humans
  • Meals
  • Milk Proteins
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • Red Meat


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Egg Proteins, Dietary
  • Milk Proteins
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary