How Much Protein Should I Eat A Day
Clinical nutrition recommendations suggest a protein intake of 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight . This would equal out to roughly 40 to 55 grams of protein a day for a 150-pound adult.
Another way to consider protein needs is by looking at macro balance. The US Dietary Guidelines suggest protein intake should make up 10% to 35% of your daily calories. And on a 2,000 calorie diet, this will equal out to 50 to 175 grams of protein a day quite a large range!
It is important to note that the recommended daily 0.8 g kg typically skews towards the minimum amount you should be eating. And 50 grams of protein a day might not be adequate in maintaining lean mass, building muscle, and promoting better body composition in some especially active individuals and older adults.
In reality, protein needs are not as directly related to calorie intake or total body weight as they are to the amount of lean mass you have and how much you use your muscles.
How To Build Lean Muscle Mass
When people think of building muscle mass they immediately think of eating large meals, really often, high in carbohydrate, high in protein with a rigorous weight lifting regime. Athletes and bodybuilders alike have shared their diets for years. Michael Phelps famously shared his 12,000 calories a day diet. The common threads between these different diets are a high intake of carbohydrate and high amounts of protein.
Is high carb and high protein the best way to increase muscle mass?
Are carbs good for muscle building? Absolutely. They restore the glycogen reserves in your muscle which your body can use immediately when it needs instant power. This is sometimes critical when it comes to athlete performance. But for the everyday person like you and me, its not all that necessary. With carbs you gain mass quicker, however at the same time you are gaining fat.
Yes, sure, as you train in the gym you are burning the fat. For some people these sharp changes in body composition with the constant addition of fat means that longer term the additional fat tissue will be difficult to lose. In addition, breaking down fats needs insulin. Longer term this increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Let me explain how the body uses carbs.
How does the body use carbohydrate
How does the body use protein
Objective: maximise muscle gain and minimise additional fat
In other words the ideal scenario is to add lean muscle mass.
How can fat build lean muscle?
How Much Protein Carbs & Fat Should You Eat
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how to find your daily calorie needs. The logical next question is: How many of these calories should come from protein, carbs, and fat respectively?
In this post, I will explain what calories and macronutrients are and give my recommendation on how much of each to eat in your daily diet.
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Gain Muscle With Gainful
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But if youre still worried about meeting the protein requirements necessary for building muscle, dont worry. With Gainful, youll never have to do this alone: Each subscriber has unlimited access to a personal Registered Dietitian, whos available to answer any questions you may have about your protein balance, protein supplements or workout regimen.
We want to help make gaining and maintaining muscle as easy as possible.
First: What Are Carbs
Most people tend to think of protein as the key building block for muscle, and theyre not entirely wrong. Protein is used to heal and restore muscles after working out, but carbs are fuel. Carbs are like the gasoline you put in your cars tank you might have filled your car with all manner of performance parts, but without fuel, its not going anywhere.
Carbohydrates come in two forms: simple and complex.
Simple carbs are short molecules like glucose and sucrose, which you might recognize as scientific names for kinds of sugar. At the most basic level, thats what carbs are: sugars.
Complex carbohydrates are longer, larger molecules that make up starches, which you find in foods like rice and potatoes.
In general, for a balanced diet, you want to avoid most of the simple carbs, as theyre fast to digest and have little in the way of nutritional value beyond the energy they give you. Processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and other forms of added sugar commonly found in junk food are the worst offenders here.
Conversely, complex carbs are much better for you, for three reasons.
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Energy From Complex Carbohydrates
Out of all the energy sources for the human body, researchers have found that carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the human diet. This means that carbs arent just for athletes. Carbs are a great source of energy for anyones daily activities, including exercise.
You can think of carbohydrates as a source of fuel for the body, otherwise known as calories. As weve previously learned, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are a quick, sporadic source of energy, while complex carbs are a good source of steady energy.
If youve ever heard of an athlete eat candy before a game or training session, thats because simple carbs, like white sugar, are one of the fastest ways to spike energy. However, this energy kick cannot be maintained for long. Complex carbs may not be as readily available for immediate energy as simple carbs are, but theyre more efficient and healthier. Complex carbs provide sustainable energy, which means the energy is constant and theres no crash like with simple carbs.
One of the main reasons why complex carbs sustain energy throughout the day is because they take longer to digest. Simple carbs like fruit are easy for the body to break down and get rapidly digested, so they dont provide energy for a long period of time. Complex carbs like starches are slow to digest and therefore slowly provide calories, giving you continuous energy for a longer period of time.
When Clients Resist Carbohydrate Increases
What do you do if a client is on a ketogenic diet or other low carb diet and doesnt want to increase their carbohydrate consumption? Certainly, you cant force them to eat more carbs. However, you can educate them as to the benefits of increasing their carb intake, especially if they are struggling to get through their resistance training sessions.
Talk to them about how carbs can increase their energy, making it easier to tackle their workouts. It might also be helpful to aim for small carb increases. Ask them to eat just one more serving daily and see if it makes a difference. If they see that they feel better but their weight doesnt change, this may be enough.
Also remind them that complex carbs are good for the body and can be part of a healthy diet. It is food items that fall into the simple carb category that can potentially make it harder to build muscle and reduce fat tissue.
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A Reminder: Please Be Sensible With Your Macros For Fat Loss
If you’re turning to macro tracking to help you lose fat, it’s wise to seek support and advice from a qualified dietitian or nutritionist, says Rabess. Calorie counting and macro tracking can also be an easy way to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you start to feel anxious about the occasional Saturday takeaway or enjoying a glass of wine on a Friday it might be wise to take a step back. ‘Feeling the need to quantify every morsel can take the fun and joy out of food,’ she says.
Got that? Use it, but use it wisely. Health is always more than just about one metric.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, contact Beat, the UK-based charity that hopes to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.E: , under-18s:
Use The Best Macro Calculator
Deciding to use a macro calculator for weight loss requires even more commitment and attention to detail then counting calories, warn the experts at the International Sports Science Association, because every single thing you put into your mouth must be weighed, measured and the macros counted and recorded. The upside is that you can eat any type of food you like as long as you have hit your mark on the ratio of macros at the end of the day, ISSA says.
Once you know how many calories per day you require to reach your goal, you can figure out which ratio should work for you. There are several ratio combinations of carbs/fat/protein to try, advises ISSA. If you are trying to build muscle, shoot for a ratio of 30-40/15-25/25-35. To burn fat and lose weight, aim for 10-30/30-40/40-50. To maintain your muscle or weight loss, try a ratio of 30-50/25-35
Each gram of every macro contains a set number of calories. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Protein also has 4 calories per gram, while fats contain 9 calories. Counting macros is one of the few weight loss programs that allow alcohol, which contains 7 calories per gram, ISSA states. Because each macro has a different effect on your body, tailoring the ratio, as well as the calorie count, gives you a weight loss program that is specific to you and your needs, which can ensure success at reaching and maintaining your goals.
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Muscle Is Broken Down For Fuel
The body looks to complex carbs as its main energy source. When carbs arent available, the body breaks down protein, i.e muscle, for fuel.
Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen, which is a readily available source of energy for when its needed. Dietary protein, however, isnt really meant to be stored in the body specifically as an energy source.
When the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy, it does so to access the amino acids . The amino acids are then broken down into glucose and used for energy.
Carbs help to prevent this process encouraging protein sparing, which means they conserve muscle tissue by providing energy instead. When carbs are present, the body will use carbs first and foremost for energy. When carbs arent available, muscle gains that you have worked so hard to achieve can be lost.
Replenishing glycogen stores by consuming complex carbs prevents this muscle loss.
Carbs Vs Fat For Avoiding Fat Gain
Bulking is the exact opposite of losing weight. That means that diets that are good for helping overweight people burn fat arent always ideal for building muscle. Taking popular fat-loss diets like keto and then applying those same principles to building muscle doesnt always work very well.
To lose weight, we need to eat fewer calories than we burn, getting those missing calories from our body fat. In that situation, if our body is running on fat for energy, thats great. We get our energy from dietary fat and body fat. No problem.
But for those of us trying to bulk up, were eating more calories than were burning, and were storing those extra calories. If were using fat as our main energy source, then were burning fat and storing fat. Thats not what we want. Better to use carbs for energy and store it in our muscles.
For example, in this 2-week study, they compared lean and overweight participants, seeing whether they responded better to bulking on a high-carb or high-fat diet. The overweight participants gained roughly 33% muscle and 67% fat, which was to be expectedthey werent exercising.
But the results of the lean participants were different. Half of them were overfed with carbohydrates, resulting in more muscle growth and less fat gain . The other half overfed with fat, resulting in less muscle growth and more fat gain .
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What Are The Benefits Of Bulking
Many find gaining weight can feel like the opposite of what they are looking for in their health and fitness goals. But bulking can benefit just about everyone.
Bulking just means more muscle, not always getting big. And every pound of muscle on your body is really worth keeping around. The top reasons to think about trying a weight gain diet include:
- Increased lean mass
- Improved strength and performance
- Easier weight maintenance
Its no surprise that feeding your body can benefit your performance. The more fuel you give it, the better your workouts start to become, helping you reach your full fitness potential.
The more lean tissue you have, the better your body composition typically is. Moreover, lean mass is more metabolic than fat, meaning your resting energy expenditure and daily maintenance calories increase.
Translation – you can eat a lot more food and stay the same size.
Plus, muscle takes up 15% less space than fat so you can weigh more and actually look more toned.
More lean tissue is also linked to better health outcomes as we age, decreasing our risk of injury, improving recovery time, and decreasing the risk of certain chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes .
Salmon With Lemon Caper Vinaigrette And Chickpeas
Serves: 4Nutrition: 529 calories, 31 g fat , 346 mg sodium, 22 g carbs , 41 g protein
Interested in building up lean muscle mass while protecting your brain? This recipe is for you. A piece of omega-3-rich salmon sits atop a bed of peppery mustard greens and chickpeas and is slow roasted in a low-temperature oven. It’s all topped off with the perfect balance of tart and salty lemon caper vinaigrette. Eat up, and you’ll get in over 40 grams of protein and 118 percent of your recommended daily intake of inflammation-quelling vitamin A.
Get the recipe from Inquiring Chef.
Eat This, Not That!
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Speed Of Digestion/absorption On Muscle Anabolism
In a study often cited as support for the hypothesis that MPS is maximized at a protein dose of ~2025 g, Areta et al. provided differing amounts of protein to resistance-trained subjects over a 12-h recovery period following performance of a multi-set, moderate repetition leg-extension exercise protocol. A total of 80 g of whey protein was ingested in one of the following three conditions: 8 servings of 10 g every 1.5 h 4 servings of 20 g every 3 h or 2 servings of 40 g every 6 h. Results showed that MPS was greatest in those who consumed 4 servings of 20 g of protein, suggesting no additional benefit, and actually a lower rise in MPS when consuming the higher dosage under the conditions imposed in the study. These results extended similar findings by Moore et al. on whole-body nitrogen turnover.
The Endomorph Body Type/soft Gainer
Training: A combination of weight training for muscle building and endurance training to combat excess weight and fat deposits. The endomorph body type regenerates quickly from exertion.
Nutrition: Disciplined nutrition is particularly important, a diet low in carbohydrates and fat. However, this body type needs a lot of protein for muscle building, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too.
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Why Is Protein A Good Pre
Protein can increase the amount of muscle mass gained from a resistance workout.
Intense bouts of resistance exercise damage the muscles, but consuming protein increases the number of amino acids in the body. These work to reduce deterioration, synthesize muscle proteins, and stimulate growth.
Consuming 2030 grams of protein before a workout can result in an increased rate of muscle protein synthesis that lasts for several hours.
Recommended Carbohydrate Intake For Building Muscle Mass
The number of carbs a person should consume to promote muscle growth can vary greatly from one person to the next. This can increase a clients frustration as they try to figure out the best intake for them. Clients can also be turned off by having to count their carbs. This limits your ability to identify the appropriate intake level.
To make this process easier, it may be helpful to talk in terms of portion sizes. Typically, an active male needs 6-8 cupped handfuls of carbohydrates daily. An active female needs 4-6 cupped handfuls. If they arent achieving the muscle growth they want, adding 1-2 additional cupped handfuls per day may be necessary.
Research further indicates that consuming a carbohydrate supplement as soon after exercise as possible is helpful to replenishing glycogen stores. This ensures that the muscle tissue worked has the energy it needs to recover and repair. This study further recommends consuming 1.2-1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour during longer exercise sessions.
Consuming protein at the same time can improve the storage of glycogen and promote muscle gain. This can be accomplished easily by having clients add fruit to their protein shake. Eating a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter is an alternative for those who dont like the taste or texture of protein powder.
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