How Much Protein To Build Muscle Ask An Rd
The main building blocks of your body,protein is used to repair and maintain your body tissues including muscle.
If your goal is to build muscle, then its important that youre getting the right amount of protein, as well as the right amounts of the other macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats.
The general strategy for calculating the minimum amount of protein that you need is 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh. In a 165-pound adult, thats about 60 grams of protein per day.
But thats just the minimum recommended daily allowance .
You might be wondering if the minimum amount of protein recommended is enough to actually build more muscle. Below, well explore just how much protein you should consume per day to build muscle .
Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Older Adults
Sarcopenia is a muscle disorder. It is defined as an impairment of physical function combined with a loss of muscle mass. It is the primary age-related cause of frailty.
Frailty is associated with a higher risk of disabilities that affect your ability to perform daily activities, a higher risk of having to go to a nursing home, and a higher risk of experiencing falls, fractures, and hospitalizations.
The link between sarcopenia, frailty, and associated morbidities may explain why sarcopenia is associated with a greater risk of premature death and reduced quality of life. This isnt a rare issue, either: in the US, over 40% of men and nearly 60% of women over the age of 50 have sarcopenia, and more than 10% of people in their 20s.
Reference: Janssen et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002.
Fortunately, sarcopenia is neither inevitable nor irreversible some seniors have built more muscle in their old age than they ever had in their youth. The older you get, though, the greater your muscles anabolic resistance , and so the greater the protein intake and exercise volume youll need to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Notably, doubling protein intake from 0.8 to 1.6 g/kg has been shown to significantly increase lean body mass in elderly men. Similar observations have been made in elderly women who increase their protein intake from 0.9 to 1.4 g/kg. Even a small increase in protein intake from 1.0 to 1.3 g/kg has minor benefits towards lean mass and overall body composition.
How Much Protein Do I Need
The amount of protein that the human body requires daily is dependent on many conditions, including overall energy intake, growth of the individual, and physical activity level. It is often estimated based on body weight, as a percentage of total caloric intake , or based on age alone. 0.8g/kg of body weight is a commonly cited recommended dietary allowance . This value is the minimum recommended value to maintain basic nutritional requirements, but consuming more protein, up to a certain point, maybe beneficial, depending on the sources of the protein.
The recommended range of protein intake is between 0.8 g/kg and 1.8 g/kg of body weight, dependent on the many factors listed above. People who are highly active, or who wish to build more muscle should generally consume more protein. Some sources2 suggest consuming between 1.8 to 2 g/kg for those who are highly active. The amount of protein a person should consume, to date, is not an exact science, and each individual should consult a specialist, be it a dietitian, doctor, or personal trainer, to help determine their individual needs.
Recommended dietary allowance of protein, based on age
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Protein And Your Health
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients the other two are fat and carbohydrate. These are needed in large amounts to maintain health and vital functions.
The body uses protein to build, repair, and maintain most of your body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are also necessary for immune system function and help some additional physiological processes as well.
How Much You Need
How many carbs you need depends on a lot of factors, but the main one is how active you are. If you’re very active, you need quite a few carbs. If you’re moderately active or sedentary, you don’t need as many carbs.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, adults should get 45 to 65 percent of their daily calories from carbs. On a 1,200-calorie diet, that’s 540 to 780 calories or 135 to 195 grams. Nutrition statistics show U.S. adults typically get between 46 and 48 percent of their daily calories from carbs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you’ve decided to follow one of the many low-carbohydrate diets out there, remember that fiber doesn’t count toward your total carb intake. That means you don’t have to cut out vegetables. In fact, you should be eating a lot of vegetables.
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What If You Eat Too Much Protein On Keto
The common fear on Keto is that if you eat too much protein, then you wont lose weight.
But is this true??
The idea is that the excess protein gets turned into glucose which spikes your insulin, lowers your ketone levels, and kicks you out of ketosis.
But as youll discover below, this idea is highly debated.
So, just because you hear some people talk about how too much protein kicks you out of ketosis, doesnt mean its true.
Should You Include Protein Supplements In Your Diet
Most folks should need to include protein supplements as part of their keto diet you should easily be able to meet your daily protein needs by eating nutrient-dense whole foods, like those mentioned above.
Some recipes, especially those for shakes and smoothies, list protein powder in their ingredients: if youd like to try those out just be careful to pick a protein powder that doesnt contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, soy or processed milk powder.
Im personally a fan of the Equip Beef Protein . The chocolate flavor has just stevia and unsweetened cacao powder.
Bottom Line: You really dont need protein supplements. But if you choose to use them, make sure they dont have artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or soy/processed milk powder like Equip Beef Protein.
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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Lactating Women
As with pregnancy, there is little research investigating how lactation and breastfeeding affect protein requirements. Women produce a wide range of breast milk volumes, regardless of their energy status . The infants demands appear to be the primary regulator of milk production.
Based simply on adult protein requirements plus the protein output in breast milk, the RDA for lactating women was set at 1.3 g/kg. However, one study reported that half of the lactating women consuming 1.5 g/kg were in negative nitrogen balance, while another study suggested that 1.01.5 g/kg leads to a rapid downregulation of protein turnover suggestive of an adaptive response to insufficient intake.
Considering the lack of data on the effects of a protein intake greater than 1.5 g/kg in lactating women and that consuming 1.5 g/kg or less leads to adaptations suggestive of insufficient intake, lactating women should aim to consume at least 1.5 g/kg of protein daily.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Lose Fat
The only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit, meaning you eat fewer calories than you consume, Sauza says. Eating protein as part of a well-rounded diet can help satiate you so you eat fewer calories overall, but simply increasing your protein intake without creating a caloric deficit will not make you lose weight.
If you are trying to lose weight and are concerned about maintaining muscle mass, make sure protein comprises 10% to 20% of total daily calories, Sauza says. But, this varies depending on age, weight, and current strength training regimen.
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Carbs Aren’t Bad For You
Carbs get a lot of negative media, being blamed for weight gain and diabetes, among other things. While some carbs can contribute to these conditions, many carbs don’t, and they’re required for good health.
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. Your brain relies on the glucose from carbohydrate metabolism for proper functioning. If you’re exercising, another key component of weight loss, your muscles need carbs for energy and to recover properly after strenuous workouts.
Carbohydrates also provide dietary fiber, the parts of plant foods that your body can only minimally digest. Fiber is crucial for optimal digestive function and heart health, and it also aids weight loss. According to a 2018 study in Nutrition, a diet high in fiber can promote weight loss even without calorie restriction.
A prospective cohort study and meta-analysis in The Lancet in 2018 found that low-carbohydrate diets that included a lot of animal fat and protein were associated with a higher risk of mortality than low-carbohydrate diets that included more plant-based sources of proteins and fats.
Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Athletes
If youre physically active regularly, you need more protein daily than if you were sedentary. The American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1.22.0 g/kg to optimize recovery from training and to promote the growth and maintenance of lean mass when caloric intake is sufficient. This recommendation is similar to that of the International Society of Sports Nutrition : 1.42.0 g/kg.
Importantly, it may be better to aim for the higher end of the above ranges. According to the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength, the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg. Those of you interested in a comprehensive breakdown of this study will find one in NERD #34 .
However, only 4 of the 49 included studies were conducted in people with resistance training experience . IAAO studies in athletes found different numbers: on training days, female athletes required 1.41.7 g/kg the day following a regular training session, male endurance athletes required 2.12.7 g/kg two days after their last resistance-training session, amateur male bodybuilders required 1.72.2 g/kg.
Since higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, one may want to err toward the higher amounts. For most athletes , the ISSN range will work well:
How Do I Calculate How Much Protein I Need Finding Your Target Protein Intake
The general rule for calculating the minimum amount of protein that you need is 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh, or 0.8 grams per kilogram that you weigh. The range is 0.8-1 gram per kilogram for healthy adults, and 1-1.2 grams per kilogram for an elderly person. Following that guideline, a 150-pound person would need a minimum of 54 grams of protein per day. Another way people can calculate their protein requirements is by dedicating a percentage of their total calories per day to the three macronutrients. Consuming around between 10-25% of your total calories from healthy protein sources is the general rule of thumb.
Its important to note that this calculation does not include any other factors, such as activity level or muscle building goals. Sticking to the higher end or calculating protein based on your weight is a good idea if you are looking to add muscle. For best results, talk to a nutritionist or keep reading as we dig in deeper to determine a good daily protein intake for those seeking to build muscle.
Fat: Recommended Nutrient Intake For Weight Loss
Low-fat diets don’t spur weight loss any better than other diets, according to a 2015 research review in The Lancet. Plus, you need fats for good health, especially polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from plant foods, which help control cholesterol and protect heart health, according to the American Heart Association.
That doesn’t mean you should overdo it, though. Fat is higher in calories than protein and carbs, gram for gram. One gram of fat has 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of protein or carbs has 4 calories, according to the USDA.
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High Protein Intake For Fat Loss
If you noticed Dr. Nelsons comment about being hypocaloric , you may be wondering if theres evidence that protein needs might change based on if youre trying to lose fat or gain muscle.
To be clear: the majority of research and the most prominent sports nutrition bodies agree that theres probably no need to exceed the daily 0.7 grams per pound, even if youre trying to lose weight.
That said, there are a couple of studies that have suggested more protein might be useful if you have a good amount of muscle mass and are trying to lose fat quickly. One, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, , found that athletes in a big calorie deficit maintained more muscle and lost more fat eating 1.1 grams of protein per pound than a group taking 0.54 grams, the absolute minimum recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Another study published in 2014 that looked specifically at bodybuilders found that they would respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein. This is among folks with under 10 percent body fat, so they were eating an upper level of about 1.3 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Jody Braverman Cpt Fns Ryt
Considering that the average moderately active woman needs about 2,000 calories per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 1,200 calories is not much. In this case, it’s even more important to get the proper amounts of carbs, fats and protein. The daily nutritional values to lose weight will ensure that you get all the macronutrients and micronutrients you need.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, 45 to 65 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates and 20 to 35 percent should come from fats. The official recommendation for protein is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight, but eating slightly more than that may aid weight loss.
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Macro Calculator: Count Your Macros Like A Pro
Find your macronutrient ratio for flexible dieting and “if it fits your macros.” Build a meal plan around your ideal ratio of proteins, carbs, and fats!
In recent years, a dietary approach called IIFYM, or “if it fits your macros,” has taken the fitness world by storm. Also known as “flexible dieting,” it turns old-school, calorie-based dieting on its head by focusing instead on the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats making up those calories. As long as you come close to your numbers , you have a lot of flexibility on what foods you can use to get there.
Sound a little advanced? It is. If you’re wondering if this approach is right for you, trainer and health coach Sohee Lee provides guidance in her article,“To Macro or Not: Should You Track Your Macro Intake?” If you know you’re ready to know your macros, the macro calculator below can help you determine your daily targets for three goals:
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Overall health and weight maintenance
You can find in-depth explanations of our preferred macros for each goal below. And if you’d like to use the calculator to determine your targets for the macros of your choiceâsay, you’re starting a ketogenic diet and want to know how many grams of fats make up 80 percent of your caloriesâclick Customize My Macros to dial in your personalized numbers!
How To Get Enough Protein
Now that you have an estimate of the amount of protein you need, the last question to answer is: how do I eat all this protein?
Our #1 recommendation is to get protein from whole foods whenever possible. This will ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals.
A serving of protein is about the size and thickness of your palm:
Protein can come from any number of sources, including:
- Meat .
- Fish and shellfish .
- Legumes .
Not a meat-eater? Read our massive plant-based guide!
However, if youre aiming for the higher ranges of protein intake you might need to supplement.
Personally, I drink a protein shake daily to help me reach my goals.
Some protein supplements to consider:
Check out The Ultimate Protein Shake Guide for more protein powder recommendations and recipes on how to make delicious smoothies.
Whether through whole foods or supplements, protein should be a main part of every meal you eat. Its one of our top recommendations for being a healthy nerd.
You can always adjust up or down based on your results.
If you need any help along the way, we got you.
Here are three ways to continue your journey with Nerd Fitness.
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