How You Should Space Out Your Protein Intake
When you eat your protein is just as important as how much you eat. Its not about simply loading up after exercising or at one meal and skimping on it for the rest of the day. Like we mentioned, the body doesnt have a protein holding tank like it does for carbs, where it can siphon away extras for quick access when we need it.
Thats why the best way to get your protein is split up throughout the day. Eating a good amount of protein at different points in the day helps your body direct protein where its needed, when its needednot to mention, keeps you feeling satisfied and energized. So take a look at your daily amount , and see how you can break that up in your various meals throughout the day.
Spacing out protein intake is also super important for active individuals. Thats because muscle repair and growth are greater when you consume adequate protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Dr. Linsenmeyer explains. Yes, protein is vital after a workout, Yasi Ansari, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assistant director of Performance Nutrition for UC Berkeley Athletics, has previously told SELF. But it is important for people to know that more is not necessarily better.
My Take On High Protein Foods
Protein is essential for building muscle, maintaining a healthy weight, and feeling full. But what about the other benefits of protein? From boosting your immune system to fighting to age, its clear that high-protein foods are worth adding to our diet.
Even if you are on a keto diet, then too we need enough proteins and fats.
So what does this all mean for me?! Make sure that at least one-third of the things you eat each day come from protein sources! This means two servings per meal with three meals per day so six servings total!
Do not forget to grab your effective fitness journal.
Feeling Low And Overwhelmed
A lack of protein can leave you feeling low, and even depressed. Amino acids are required to produce two neurotransmitters in your brain that affect mood levels: dopamine and serotonin. The lack of these two amino acids means the synthesis of these neurotransmitters wont occur, and commonly results in low mood and aggression.
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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Vegetarians And Vegans
The protein requirements discussed so far were based on studies that used animal-based protein supplements, such as whey or egg protein supplements, or were conducted mostly in omnivores. There is no reason to believe that people who get their protein mostly or entirely from plants have inherently different protein requirements, but since plant-based proteins tend to be lower in quality than animal-based proteins, if you obtain most of your protein from plants you will need to pay attention not just to the amount of protein you eat but also to the quality of that protein.
A proteins quality is determined by its digestibility and amino acid profile.
Digestibility matters because if you dont digest and absorb some of the protein you eat, then it may as well not have been eaten. Animal-based proteins consistently demonstrate a digestibility rate higher than 90%, whereas proteins from the best plant-based sources show a digestibility rate of 6080%.
Can I Eat Too Much Protein
Now that Ive drilled it into your head that you should be eating plenty of protein, a natural question will arise:
How much protein is too much protein?
Weve got good news for you: as long as youve got a healthy liver and kidneys, you can eat lots of protein with no ill effects.
As Examine points out in its research on protein:
Higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people,**
**Of course, if you have specific kidney or medical issues with regards to protein intake, PLEASE go with your doctors recommendation for required protein consumption!
Go ahead and aim for the high end from our protein calculator.
One final note: if our current recommendation for protein is a lot higher than what you normally do, ease into it.
Dont go from minimal protein intake to woofing down steak and eggs while chugging a protein shake.
Studies have found that immediately doubling protein intake can have negative effects.
Increase your intake gradually, a little more each day, and youll be fine!
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How Should I Get My Protein In
Well, Ill always recommend whole and natural foods first, supplements later. In other words, have your chicken and rice before you ever touch a protein bar, protein shake, or anything protein related. This way, youll not only get your protein in, but also your other micro and macronutrients needed for daily life. Allow me to explain.
How To Actually Calculate Your Protein Needs
Perhaps, then, the best way to measure how much protein you need to consume daily is based on lean body mass, or everything in your body that isnt fat. This could provide a more accurate figure than focusing on just your total weight.
Of course, if youre a fitness model sitting comfortably at four per cent body fat, then theres obviously not going to be much difference whether protein intake is expressed relative to your weight or lean body mass. For the average guy, however, it’s a considerably different story. They’re likely to be carrying more weight around their midriff and have a higher body-fat percentage.
On the flipside, let’s look at an obese man who weighs 135kg. In this case, it would be unwise to base his protein intake on his total bodyweight. Using the 2g of protein per kg, he’ll be eating a whopping 270g protein on a daily basis.
Needless to say, our hypothetical overweight man definitely doesnt need to be eating the equivalent of 10 chicken breasts a day, even if he’s looking to build muscle. In fact, most research shows little benefit to consuming more than 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass.
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How To Tell If Youre Getting Enough Protein: Nitrogen Balance
All foods that you eat are composed of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, but only foods with protein contain nitrogen. Because of this, its easy to determine if youre consuming enough protein.
Nitrogen balance is a measurement of the nitrogen that you take in through protein-rich foods and supplements minus that which your body uses. There are three states that your nitrogen balance can be in:
As a rule, its best to be at a neutral or slightly positive nitrogen balance. If youre working to build muscle, lose weight, or recover from an injury, a positive nitrogen balance is best.
You can easily measure your nitrogen balance by purchasing a nitrogen test kit that measures the level of nitrogen in your urine. This can be a great way to determine if youre consuming adequate protein.
What Grams Of Protein Really Means
This is a very common area of misunderstanding.
In nutrition science, grams of protein refers to the number of grams of the macronutrient protein, not the number of grams of a protein-containing food like meat or eggs.
An 8-ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams but only contains 61 grams of protein. Similarly, a large egg weighs 46 grams but only packs 6 grams of protein.
If youre at a healthy weight, dont lift weights, and dont exercise much, aiming for 0.360.6 grams per pound is a reasonable estimate.
This amounts to:
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How Much Protein Do We Need
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By Sophie Egan
Q. It seems that many people who are not elite athletes are now hyper-focused on protein consumption. How much protein does the average adult need to consume daily?
A. The recommended intake for a healthy adult is 46 grams of protein a day for women and 56 grams for men. And while protein malnutrition is a problem for millions of people around the globe, for the average adult in developed countries, we are eating far more protein than we actually need.
Most American adults eat about 100 grams of protein per day, or roughly twice the recommended amount. Even on a vegan diet people can easily get 60 to 80 grams of protein throughout the day from foods like beans, legumes, nuts, broccoli and whole grains.
The Hartman Group, a consumer research firm that has been conducting a study of American food culture over the past 25 years and counting, has found that nearly 60 percent of Americans are now actively trying to increase their protein intake. Many are avoiding sugar and simple carbohydrates and turning to protein-rich foods, snacks and supplements. The firm calls protein the new low-fat or the new low-carb, even the new everything when it comes to diet and energy.
But most of us are getting more than enough protein. And few seem to be aware that there may be long-term risks of consuming too much protein, including a potential increased risk of kidney damage. To learn more, read Can You Get Too Much Protein?
Faq And Related Questions:
Will I gain muscle if I dont eat enough protein?
Its hard to give a definite answer to this question, but more likely then not, no. Protein serves as the foundation for muscles in the form of amino acids, and without a solid foundation, its hard to imagine youll receive the results you want.
Is 100 grams of protein enough to build muscle?
100 grams of protein is enough to build muscle only if you weigh anywhere between this range: 0.7g-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, if you do the calculations based off your weight and find that 100g fits in this range, then yes, 100 grams of protein is enough to build muscle. However, if its not, then no, 100 grams of protein is not enough to build muscle.
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Are You Getting Too Much Protein
Judging by all the protein bars, shakes and powders out there, you get the impression you need more protein. There are claims it curbs appetite, helps with weight loss and builds muscle. But whats the real story?
Contrary to all the hype that everyone needs more protein, most Americans get twice as much as they need. This is especially true for males 14-70 years of age, who the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise to decrease meat, poultry and egg consumption. Even athletes are often getting more protein than they need, without supplements, because their calorie requirements are higher, and with more food, comes more protein.
True or False: Big steak = bigger muscles
False. Although adequate protein throughout the day is necessary, extra strength training is what leads to muscle growth, not extra protein intake. You cant build muscle without the exercise to go with it.
The body cant store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat. Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body.
Extra protein intake can also lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease, because many high-protein foods you eat are high in total fat and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can be taxing on the kidneys, poses an additional risk to individuals pre-disposed to kidney disease.
How much protein do I need?
Excessive protein intake would be more than 2 g per kg of body weight each day.
Where does protein come from?
Nutritional Value Of Protein
The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.
Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids. Generally:
- Animal products have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein .
- Soy products, quinoa and the seed of a leafy green called amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
- Plant proteins usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods every day to make sure they get an adequate mix of essential amino acids. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish.
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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 .
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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What Protein Actually Is
Protein is one of the three macronutrients . Unlike carbs and fat, protein is not usually a major energy source, although we definitely get some of that from itprotein provides four calories per gram. But protein is often referred to as a building block in the body because of its central role in growth and development.
Almost all animal-derived productsmeat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fishcontain a significant amount of protein, so they get labeled as protein sources when were talking about our diets and nutrition. But protein is also present in a lot of plant-based foods. Theres a good amount in beans, peas, nuts, and seeds, for instance, while vegetables and grains generally contain smaller amounts, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Whole grains will have more protein than refined grains, though, which are missing the part of the grain that often supplies a lot of the protein content, as SELF previously reported.
Proteins are made of small units called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids in total, which can be broken down into two main groups, per the FDA. Nine of the 20 are what are referred to as essential amino acids, meaning that the body is unable to produce them itself and so we must get them from food. The other 11 are nonessential because the body is able to synthesize them out of the essential amino acids or the normal process of breaking down proteins, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
What The Experts Say
“Protein-based snacks are a great way to fuel up and stay satisfied between meals. Look for snacks with whole, real ingredients like beans, nuts, nut butters, seeds, eggs or low sodium animal-based proteins. I encourage my clients to get a mix of both plant-based and animal-based proteins in their diet to ensure diversity of nutrient intake as well as adequate intake of all essential amino acids.” Anne Cook Carroll, MS, RD, CDN
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