Do Boys Need More Protein Than Girls?

Proper nutrition for boys and girls varies due to the differences in body structure, size and physical needs. The problem that often arises is determining the major differences between growing children and thus creating a diet plan that works best for nutritional necessities. While many know that girls need more nutrients like iron and calcium, confusion often arises when it comes to the appropriate amount of protein.

Young Children:

When children are between the toddler years and seven years old, the protein requirements are roughly the same for boys and girls. During the first few years of life, children have similar nutritional needs because their growth rate is similar. At this age, boys do not have the testosterone levels that come with older age groups and thus their muscular growth is similar to a girl of the same age.

Young children who are not yet at the stage of puberty will need plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein for healthy growth. This applies to boys and girls, so parents should strive to ensure their children are getting a variety of foods for proper nutrition.

Early Puberty:

Boys and girls usually start having rapid growth and physical development starting around age eight or nine. This is when boys and girls will start having different nutritional needs. In particular, boys will need more protein to keep up with the rapid development of muscular and skeletal structures while girls will usually need more calcium and iron to balance out menstrual cycles.

Around age eight, parents should ensure boys are getting a little more protein in their diet. This does not necessarily mean adding more meat, which might have higher fat contents. Instead, parents should consider adding beans, eggs, brown rice and nuts to the diet. Girls will need slightly lower amounts of protein because they do not have the same muscle growth that boys experience during puberty.

Late Teen Years:

During the late teen years, boys will still need more protein than girls for proper nutritional value. When children are around 14 years old, they will need more calories to support changes to physical activity, growth and physical development. This means that boys will need more protein than their younger years and girls will usually need more iron.


Protein levels during adulthood vary between individuals, but most men will need slightly more protein than women. On average, women will need around 46 grams of protein while men will need roughly 56 grams instead.

While these general numbers are a good average, other factors play a role in the amount of protein needed by the body. Physically active adults who often exercise or athletes will need more protein due to the activity level. Women who are pregnant or nursing will also need higher protein levels to properly supply nutrients to the baby and produce milk.

While a wide range of factors are involved in the appropriate amount of protein for proper nutrition, boys usually needs slightly higher levels to support muscle growth. Girls will need less protein due to the lower muscle mass.

Michael Ortiz

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