The Truth About Vegan Protein
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it all, this must be addressed: its a common belief that protein is something you can only get from consuming animal products. This is just plain wrong. We have an article called Vegan Sources of Protein, and there youll find heaps of high protein vegan foods. Now back to our topic:
Helps Squeeze In Extra Nutrients
Protein shakes can be a simple way to squeeze some extra vitamins and minerals into your daily diet.
Vegetables like spinach, kale, zucchini, and beets are all rich in nutrients and can be easily blended into a protein shake.
Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and kiwis are also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can help boost the flavor of your smoothie or shake.
Other nutritious ingredients that you can add to your protein shake include nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk, herbs, and spices.
Protein shakes are a quick and convenient breakfast option that can help squeeze some extra nutrients into your diet and keep you feeling full.
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?
How To Calculate Protein Intake
Using an online calculator, such as the one provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may help people establish protein requirements.
Alternatively, the following calculation can provide the proper target for protein consumption in either grams or calories.
- First, its important to know how many calories a person is likely to consume per day. An example is 2,300 calories.
- A person should choose the percentage of the diet that will be protein. In this example, it will be 20%.
- Multiply the total calories by the percentage of protein to get the number of calories from protein. 2300 x .20 = 460.
- Divide the calories from protein by 4 to get the total grams of protein. 460 / 4 = 115.
Using this example, a person consuming 2,300 calories per day, aiming for 20% of their calories to come from protein, will need to consume 115 g of protein per day.
Protein For Weight Loss
While 0.8g per kg body weight is adequate protein for a sedentary woman, research shows that higher protein in takes between 1.2 and 1.6 g/kg body weight help support weight loss.1 Foods that are high in protein actually slow down the digestive process, which makes our brains think we are feeling fuller, and also requires more calories for digestion.
Satisfying, higher protein meals can also reduce the likelihood of overeating later in the day.1
Remember, a negative calorie balance is the most important factor for losing weight adding in a higher percentage of calories as protein will protect your lean mass and help target fat loss.
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How Can I Meet My Protein Needs
Here are some tips and foods to make sure you get enough protein. Protein can be obtained from both animal and plant foods.
Animal proteins are more “complete” because they contain all the amino acids and can be easily processed by the body. Here you should make sure to use organic products, as products from factory farming are produced under catastrophic conditions and can have a negative effect on your health due to antibiotics administered to the animals.
Examples* of animal proteins:
The Science Of Protein
- Protein is a macronutrient that we need for growth, repair and maintenance in the body, especially for bones and muscles. Our protein needs change across the life course.
- Protein is an energy source and provides 4kcal per gram.
- In the UK, average intakes of protein are above the Reference Nutrient Intake including in vegetarians and vegans.
- The RNI is 0.75g of protein per kg bodyweight per day for average-weight adults .
- Top contributors to protein intakes in the UK are meat and meat products, cereals and cereal products and milk and milk products.
- It is important for health to include a range of protein-containing foods and we are recommended to eat more plant-derived protein foods.
- People who do some physical activity, like going for a run or to an exercise class are unlikely to need any extra protein. For people exercising at a high level, having some protein soon after a training session can help muscles rebuild.
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Why Do We Need Protein
Proteins are present all throughout the cells in our bodies and are necessary not only for growth and development, but also for our bodys daily tasks. Our body depends on protein for many tasks, like adequate flow of blood and oxygen through the body, creating enzymes that digest and help absorb our foods, and for regulating our hormone levels.
When we exercise and push our muscles to the limit, we cause tiny microtears in the muscle tissue. To repair and grow, our muscles require protein from our diet. Similarly, protein is a key requirement for healing after an injury or surgery.
Foods High In Protein
There are many different combinations of food that a person can eat to meet their protein intake requirements. For many people, a large portion of protein intake comes from meat and dairy, though it is possible to get enough protein while meeting certain dietary restrictions you might have. Generally, it is easier to meet your RDA of protein by consuming meat and dairy, but an excess of either can have a negative health impact. There are plenty of plant-based protein options, but they generally contain less protein in a given serving. Ideally, a person should consume a mixture of meat, dairy, and plant-based foods in order to meet their RDA and have a balanced diet replete with nutrients.
If possible, consuming a variety of complete proteins is recommended. A complete protein is a protein that contains a good amount of each of the nine essential amino acids required in the human diet. Examples of complete protein foods or meals include:
- Hemp and chia seeds
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Here’s Why Youre Probably Not Eating Enough Protein
The irony of the protein boom is that Americans arent actually ingesting any more of it today than they were 30 years ago.
That might be because proteins recommended daily allowance is a modest 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, a number formulated during World War II in order to safeguard public health during a possible shortage and ensure the nutritive value of military rations.
That RDA means roughly 8 to 10 percent of your daily intake should be protein, says Heather Leidy, Ph.D., a protein researcher and associate professor in Purdue Universitys Department of Nutrition Science.
But that 8 to 10 percent is only the minimum required to prevent a protein deficiency, not what you need for protein synthesis, muscle gain, satiety, weight management, and glycemic control.
While the diets of most Americans may contain between 10 and 15 percent protein, Leidy notes, research suggests that anywhere from 20 to 30 percent would be a better health goalwith at least 30 grams of protein being the minimum threshold at mealtime.
Another way to look at it: Thats between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of your target body weight. So if youre a 185-pound guy who wants to weigh 165, you should eat between 90 and 120 grams of protein per day.
Actually, it’s pretty easy.
Advice For Those Who Are Underweight
Having a BMI below 18.5 is generally considered to be unhealthy.
About 1% of American men 20 or over fall in this range, while about 2.4% of American women do.
Being drastically underweight can lead to a significant increase in risk of early death as it can impair immune function and lead to osteoporosis. It can also lead to lower fertility and an increased risk of dementia.
Some people may also want to put weight on to boost their self esteem, improve their self image, and get stronger to do a better job at work or in athletic competitions. There are also significant health considerations beyond these types of motivations.
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How Did We Calculate Your Protein Intake
Bodybuilding.com’s protein calculator starts with the Mifflin St. Jeor equation, which is considered by our nutritionists and dieticians to be the “gold standard” of calorie calculators. Here’s how it works:
Calculate basal metabolic rate , or the calories your body burns simply by being alive. For men: 10 x weight + 6.25 x height â 5 x age + 5 For women: 10 x weight + 6.25 x height â 5 x age -161
Then, this BMR count is multiplied, depending on your activity level:
Sedentary = 1.2
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%.
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How Much Protein Should You Eat For Muscle Gain
If youre looking to beef up your biceps, protein is one major contributor.
According to a 2018 article, to see muscle gains you want to get in more protein than your body breaks down .
Participating in resistance exercises followed by eating quality protein keeps the net protein balance positive. And continuing that pattern regularly can lead to muscle growth over time. This is why a post-workout protein shake is a staple for many weight lifters to pack on the muscle.
But the actual amount of protein needed to build muscle seems to vary. Some research states that eating about 20 to 40 g of protein after resistance exercise and every 3 hours throughout the day can help you see some gains. Other research states that targeting a protein intake of 1.6 to 2.2 g/kg per day is ideal.
How To Get Enough Protein
Youve used our table or calculator to determine how much protein you need in a day, but the numbers dont look right. Lets say youre 125 pounds, of healthy weight, physically active, and trying to get even leaner. You discover that your optimal intake starts at 102 grams of protein. Isnt that too much for someone so light?
So it may seem at first blush. But lets take a step back. Lets say youre 125 pounds, of healthy weight, sedentary, and just trying to keep the same body composition. Your optimal intake starts at 68 grams of protein so 272 kcal . Not so daunting, now, is it?
Next, you decide to add physical exercise, in order to get even leaner. If you are 125 pounds and run at 7.5 mph for just ½ hour, you burn 375 kcal, compared to 41 for computer work. In other words, you burn 334 kcal more than when sitting and typing just about the least physically demanding activity.
If you took those added kilocalories solely as protein, that would make 84 grams of protein. Add 84 grams to your optimal protein intake when you dont exercise, and you get 152 grams of protein way more than your 102 grams starting target.
We can also calculate from the other direction. Youre 125 pounds and of healthy weight, going from sedentary to active in order to get even leaner: how will your protein intake change?
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How Many Grams Of Protein Per Day Do You Need
When it comes to following a healthy, balanced diet, a common question is: How much protein do I need? So how many grams of protein per day do you need?
Protein foods are essential for building muscle, burning fat, supporting metabolism, and even bolstering the health of certain organs like your thyroid and adrenal glands in other words, we need protein to be healthy.
How much protein should you have per day? It really depends on your specific health goals and some other factors.
How Much Protein Per Meal
Muscle protein synthesis is the process of building new skeletal muscle tissue. When MPS chronically exceeds muscle protein breakdown , resulting in a positive net protein balance, we can expect muscle growth over the long term. Each time you eat represents an opportunity to promote muscle growth through the stimulation of MPS.
Protein-feeding studies using various doses of whey protein suggest that 0.24 g/kg/meal will maximize the MPS of the average young adult, whereas 0.40 g/kg/meal will maximize the MPS of most young adults. For older adults, these two values jump to 0.40 and 0.60 g/kg/meal.
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How Many Grams Of Protein Should I Eat A Day
Heads up: When we say grams, what were referring to are the grams of the macronutrient protein and *not* the foods it comes from. For example, one large egg weighs about 50 g, but only provides a little over 6 g of protein.
When it comes to the total amount of protein you need, the current international Recommended Dietary Allowance for both men and women is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight .
This means a 150-lb. person would require about 54 g of protein while a 200-lb. individual would need 72 g.
This RDA is only the minimum to avoid a protein deficiency. Certain peeps often require more protein, including:
How Do You Calculate How Much Protein You Need A Day
Your daily protein requirements are mainly determined by factors, such as your weight, age, gender, height, and physical activity.
According to the National Academy of Medicine
- All adults must consume at least 0.8 grams of protein daily per 2.2 pounds of their body weight.
- This is the amount of protein required for a sedentary lifestyle .
- Thus, for an adult who weighs 132 pounds and has a sedentary lifestyle, their protein requirement will be equal to 48 grams of protein a day .
The requirement will fluctuate if you are an athlete, pregnant, recovering from an illness, attempting weight loss, or a teenager. Certain conditions, such as kidney disease, may require you to lower your protein intake, while others may require a high protein intake.
Calculate protein requirement by weight
Another way to calculate your minimum daily protein requirement is by:
- Dividing your weight into pounds by 20 and multiplying it by seven.
- You need just a little more than seven grams of protein for every 20 pounds of your body weight.
- Thus, for someone weighing 200 pounds, the protein requirement will be 70 grams each day.
Calculate protein requirement by calorie intake
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How Much Protein Do I Need In A Day
The following chart reveals the recommended daily protein intake based on your age given that you are overall healthy.
It is important to note that the FDAs recommended daily values are to prevent deficiency and not based on optimal health nor specific to individuals, especially those looking to gain lean muscle or improve their body composition. The recommended daily allowance of protein varies from one person to the next.
To get your specific daily protein intake needs, get started with our simple and free protein calculator:
General Fitness Promix Protein Calculator Best for people who go to the gym a few times per week and enjoy a variety of workout types or classes.
Experienced Lifter Promix Protein Calculator Best for people who go to the gym 3x/week or more and have specific strength or performance goals.