Protein Intake For Exercisers And Athletes
If you exercise or train for sport, you will require more protein than non-exercisers.
A joint position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day for athletes.
Higher protein intakes may be justified dependent upon the athletes individual training status, current training cycle , or level of calorie deficit to promote fat loss and preserve lean tissue
Why Is The Recommended Daily Value For Protein Not The Best For Health And Performance
The Daily Value is a term created by the FDA that replaced the term “US RDA”.
“US” stands for United States. RDA stands for “Recommended Daily Allowances”.
The RDA for protein is calculated by multiplying the EAR by 1.2.
So what is the EAR for protein based upon?
The EAR is based on what scientific research has said will be enough to “satisfy the needs of 50% of the people in that age group.” In other words, this means that half of that group will be deficient and half will have enough protein to avoid any negative effects on health. This is also not considering an athletic population that already needs more protein. This is simply an average population sample. Furthermore, I am not looking to only recommend the bare minimum to prevent disease. I am also looking for the amount to recommend that will fully maximize health, longevity, and physical performance.
So, to put this all together, the Daily Value you see on food labels for protein is equal to 20% more than what half of the average, non-athletic population needs to prevent deficiency and negative health effects. This is crazy!
The takeaway here is that the Daily Value for protein is INCREDIBLY LOW for what is actually needed for an athlete, not to mention for someone whose goal is to add lean muscle. The Daily Value is not even enough for someone who works out a few times per week.
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!
Also Check: What Milk Has The Most Protein
How To Use Our Daily Protein Calculator
This is an instruction on how to use our daily protein calculator:
Protein Calculator For Weight Loss
Home » Protein Calculator For Weight Loss
Sharing is caring!
This free protein calculator for weight loss is meant to provide you with a healthy protein intake range and serve as a resource you can bookmark for future reference, share with others, or backlink from your website.
Protein intake for weight loss and building muscle is a contentious topic these days with many camps espousing different views. However, protein ranges should not be viewed as an absolute written-in-stone target, but more so as a starting point that you can adjust and fine tune depending on your particular needs or situation.
After using the protein intake calculator, please read the free resource article that follows which provides more context and discusses the role protein plays in weight loss, appetite control, and supporting muscle growth for sport and exercise.
Also be sure to check out the other health calculators on this site which you can use in conjunction with this protein calculator:
Also Check: Is Special K Protein Shake Healthy
What Are Complete Proteins
Proteins that you eat are broken down in the gut into their basic components, amino acids. These amino acids are absorbed and used by various cells and organs to make proteins your body needs. There are twenty amino acids that human bodies use, and proteins that contain all of them are called complete proteins. Animal foods have complete proteins.
Among plant sources, quinoa, Quorn and soy protein are complete proteins. Other plant source proteins lack one or more of the amino acids. But eating plant proteins won’t leave you deficient in amino acids. As long as you eat a diet with many types of plant protein, you’ll get enough of all the amino acids.
Some amino acids can even be made in the body. The amino acids that your body can’t make are called essential amino acids. Your diet must provide these. Again, eating a balanced diet with varied plant protein sources will provide all the essential amino acids.
Is Too Much Protein Harmful
Intakes up to 2 grams per kilogram a day are generally safe. Under normal circumstances, your body will use excess protein for energy. The breakdown of protein for energy releases nitrogen, which is converted to urea and ammonia. The liver, intestines, and kidneys participate in this process.
Eating too much protein increases the nitrogen load on these organs. Long-term over-consumption of protein can lead to liver and kidney injuries, metabolic abnormalities, fatigue, headache, seizures, and heart disease.
Protein is an essential nutrient for bone health. But excessive protein intake may cause demineralization of bone. Calcium is removed from the bones because of increased removal by the kidneys.
Also Check: Can Premier Protein Help You Lose Weight
What Should You Do
Research on how much protein is the optimal amount to eat for good health is ongoing, and is far from settled. The value of high-protein diets for weight loss or cardiovascular health, for example, remains controversial.
Before you start ramping up your daily protein intake, there are a few important things to consider. For one, dont read “get more protein” as “eat more meat.” Beef, poultry, and pork can certainly provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods including whole grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, and vegetables. The table below provides some healthier sources of protein.
Its also important to consider the protein “package” the fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that invariably come along with protein. Aim for protein sources low in saturated fat and processed carbohydrates and rich in many nutrients.
One more thing: If you increase protein, dietary arithmetic demands that you eat less of other things to keep your daily calorie intake steady. The switches you make can affect your nutrition, for better or for worse. For example, eating more protein instead of low-quality refined carbohydrates, like white bread and sweets, is a healthy choice though how healthy the choice is also depends on the total protein package.
Good sources of protein
Daily Protein Intake Requirements
Daily protein intake requirements vary from person to person. Some of the factors that should be taken into consideration when calculating your daily protein intake include:
- Fitness goals
- Health challenges
For example, highly active athletes need more protein than sedentary people . Runners specifically may require increased protein intake due to the damage running inherently causes. Older people need more protein to maintain muscle mass and promote bone health. Protein also promotes tissue development and growth during pregnancy .
You May Like: Protein Shake Cholesterol
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 youâre 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. Itâs 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.
Try your free trial right here:
Alright, I want to hear from you:
How Much Protein Should I Eat At Once
That said, the amino acids most closely linked to muscle protein synthesis , a process that switches on genes responsible for muscle gain are the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine has far and away the most research linking it to MPS.
Now, MPS is just one piece of the muscle gain puzzle: total daily calories is hugely important, as is total protein intake, ones exercise regimen, sleep, and many other factors. While these are far more important than worrying about leucine some research has found people to gain and lose the same amount of muscle and fat whether theyre eating every day or every other day, so long as their calories are in check it seems that about three grams of leucine per serving is ideal for keeping MPS maintained.
Youll get that in about 20 to 30 grams of protein from most protein dense sources, including many vegan ones like legumes and grains.
So if youre eating 150 grams of protein a day, this might sound like you should eat 5 meals with 30 grams of protein each, so a meal every three hours. Theres nothing wrong with this approach, but its worth remembering that some research has found MPS to be about the same after six hours whether you ate two small meals with 30 grams apiece or if you ate a big meal with 60 grams of protein and then nothing else for six hours.
Don’t Miss: Which Milk Has The Most Protein
What Happens If You Have Too Much Protein
Just like having too little protein in your diet can lead to serious health problems, eating too much protein for a long time can cause exhaustion and discomfort, including indigestion, dehydration, nausea, irritability, diarrhea, headaches, and put you at an increased risk for developing kidney stones.
Knowing the answer to How much protein do I need can help you avoid eating too much protein, and subsequently suffering from discomfort or medical problems.
Protein: Is More Better
For a relatively active adult, a daily protein intake to meet the RDA would supply as little as 10% of his or her total daily calories. In comparison, the average American consumes around 16% of his or her daily calories in the form of protein, from both plant and animal sources.
The Protein Summit reports in AJCN argue that 16% is anything but excessive. In fact, the reports suggest that Americans may eat too little protein, not too much. The potential benefits of higher daily protein intake, these researchers argue, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique. Some studies described in the summit reports suggest that protein is more effective if you space it out over the days meals and snacks, rather than loading up at dinner like many Americans do.
Based on the totality of the research presented at the summit, Rodriguez estimates that taking in up to twice the RDA of protein “is a safe and good range to aim for.” This equates roughly to 15% to 25% of total daily calories, although it could be above or below this range depending on your age, sex, and activity level.
However, over the last several years, the public health message has shifted away from desired percentages of protein, fats and carbohydrates. For example, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of eating healthier protein rich foods rather than concentrating on specific amounts of daily protein.
Don’t Miss: Cholesterol In Protein Powder
How We Calculated Your Protein Intake
Theres a difference between avoiding a nutrient deficiency and eating the optimal amount of a nutrient.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations daily value for protein is 50 grams, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, which is 10 percent of your total calories. A protein deficiency can cause muscle wasting and a greater risk of bone fractures, among other issues.
But if you want to maximize the amount of muscle you can build and minimize the amount of fat youll gain? Or if youre eating in a calorie deficit, if you want to maximize muscle retention and fat loss, then just about every expert and non-expert will recommend anywhere from 0.5 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Heres what the data says on setting your own intake.
How Much Protein Should I Eat To Lose Weight
If youâre looking to lose weight, eating plenty of protein will be an important part of the equation.
Why is protein important for weight loss?
Think of it this way: protein is the only macronutrient you donât store.
- Carbs are stored as muscle glycogen.
- Fat is stored as body fat.
Your body can use either as a fuel source while itâs in a calorie deficit.
Not so for protein.
Meaning most of the protein in your body is currently doing a job: building muscle tissue, making enzymes, strengthening bones, etc.
If you donât eat enough protein, your body will turn towards your muscles for its needs.
So if youâre not careful when youâre losing weight, you could lose muscle AND fat.
Obviously, from a health and physique standpoint, this is not good.
Thatâs why you need to eat plenty of protein and strength train when youâre in a calorie deficit so you lose fat while retaining your hard-earned muscle mass.
The other important point about protein and fat loss: protein will help you stay full.
If youâre trying to lose weight, keeping your hunger at bay will be critical. Luckily, studies have found that those on a high-protein diet tend to eat fewer calories overall.
If you cant seem to lose weight, start eating plenty of protein!
Are you currently on a weight-loss mission?
We can help!
Here are some resources to get you going:
You can also download a Free 10 Level Diet Guide too when you join the Rebellion and sign up in the box below:
Also Check: Special K Protein Cereal Healthy
Which Factors Influence How Much Protein You Have To Get Per Day
The internet is full of myths concerning the theory of how much protein is needed per day to grow and maintain muscle mass. The matter may seem extremely simple – just choose the average value from the proposed quantities , adjust it to the formula and the problem is gone. Perhaps, but how can you be sure that the intensity of your workouts will be adequate for the daily dose of protein? The level of physical activity and regularity of exercise is only one of many essential aspects that must be taken into account to determine the optimal amount of protein to eat during the day.
n order to calculate the protein content of the daily diet, the following factors should be taken into account:
- sex and age,
- number of training session during a week,
- type of physical activity,
- amount of currently consumed calories,
- training goal ,
- existence of food intolerances .
How Does The Promix Protein Calculator Calculate Your Specific Protein Intake
The Promix Protein Calculator calculates your specific protein intake by taking data into account into three key areas that determine your protein needs. These areas are physical attributes , past training history and current training level , and future physical goals .
The data from these three areas allows the Promix Protein Calculator to consider all aspects impacting your protein needs and make a specific recommendation aimed to help you feel, perform, and recover optimally.
You May Like: Premier Protein Sugar