We sat down with Courtney McMahan, RD at Nutrition World to talk about protein! Her philosophy - FOOD FIRST, then supplements. We should always strive to get our nutrients from real, whole foods, rather than powders and supplements. Nature is best, but if you need to supplement, make sure to look at the ingredients in what you're consuming (look for added sugars, and chemicals). Often times, protein powders are chalked full of added refined sugars and chemicals that are damaging and even toxic to your body. If you are consuming a milk based whey protein, this could cause digestive distress as well if too much is taken.
Protein on a chemical level is made of amino acids and is essential in the formation of muscle, bones, and hormones. How much she recommends depends on your weight, movement, and health goals - 0.8-1g per kilogram of body weight if you are fairly sedentary, and 1.7-2.4g per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain, and even a little more if you are trying to lose weight.
If you are trying to build muscle, or are on a weight loss diet where you are trying to lose fat yet maintain muscle, you need to get enough protein or your body will begin pulling from muscle to use amino acids for other functions in your body.
Depending on your goals, protein from real, whole foods is typically plenty enough. As always, seek a dieticians guidance on your specific needs!