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.
Does Protein Have Any Negative Health Effects
Protein has been unfairly blamed for a number of health problems.
Some people believe that a high protein diet can cause kidney damage and osteoporosis, but science does not support these claims.
Though protein restriction is helpful for people with preexisting kidney problems, theres no evidence that protein can cause kidney damage in healthy people (
Overall, theres no evidence that a reasonably high protein intake has any adverse effects in healthy people trying to optimize their health.
Protein does not have any negative effects on kidney function in healthy people, and studies show that it leads to improved bone health.
The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, as they have all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Some plants are fairly high in protein as well, such as quinoa, legumes, and nuts.
However, most people generally dont need to track their protein intake.
If youre healthy and trying to stay that way, simply eating quality protein sources with most of your meals, along with nutritious plant foods, should bring your intake to an optimal range.
How Much Protein After Exercise
After exercising, when your muscles are more sensitive to the anabolic effect of protein, take a dose in the range of your desirable minimal protein intake per meal. If youve been exercising on an empty stomach, youll be in negative protein balance, so take this dose as soon as possible. Otherwise, try to take it within a couple of hours the exact size of your window of opportunity depends on how much protein youre still digesting.
Digging Deeper: After better than before?
Is it better to eat before or after exercising?
In a 2020 crossover trial we first summarized for Examine Members, 8 healthy young men were divided into three groups.
All three groups performed a full-body strength workout in the morning. One group ate a meal 1.5 hours before, another just after, and the last waited for lunchtime.
This happened three times, with three days in between. Each time, the men switched to a different group. Thus, at the end of the trial, they had all tried all three meal times.
Blood insulin and certain modified amino acids were measured as indicators of muscle breakdown. The results? Eating a mixed-nutrient meal immediately after resistance training, rather than 1.5 hours before or not until lunchtime, resulted in the greatest suppression of muscle protein breakdown.
Whether or not this correlates with improvements in muscle growth and recovery, however, is unclear.
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Find Out How Much Protein You Need
Most adults over 19 years of age need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can use the following equations to calculate your protein needs.
Note: 1 kg = 2.2 lbs
An adult who weighs 80 kg needs about 64 g of protein each day, while an adult who weighs 65 kg needs about 52 g of protein each day.
The following groups have different protein needs than what is recommended above:
- children and youth
- some athletes
- people with certain health conditions
Talk to a registered dietitian to help determine the amount of protein thats right for you.
Spread Protein Throughout The Day
Some people only eat one large meal per day. Or they eat minimal to no protein at certain meals.
Breakfast meal that can easily be void of protein. If an older adult eats a pastry and coffee every day for breakfast, they are getting virtually no protein at this meal.
Cant the pastry breakfast eater just get more protein at lunch? The problem is that our bodies can only synthesize so much protein at a time. Research suggests that ~30 grams of protein at a time is needed for maximal muscle protein synthesis .
A more even distribution of protein throughout the day has been shown to be associated with higher muscle mass in older adults . As such, spreading protein throughout the day is a good way to ensure our bodies are able to use the protein we are consuming.
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The 7 Best Protein Powders For Weight Loss
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Protein powders have long appealed to people who want to build muscle and become stronger.
But they can also help those who want to shed weight.
As a convenient and tasty way to increase your protein intake, these powders offer many weight loss benefits such as appetite control.
Theyre highly concentrated dairy- or plant-based sources of protein that may contain added ingredients to aid weight loss as well.
Here are the 7 best protein powders for weight loss.
Low Blood Pressure And Heart Rate
Symptoms such as feeling faint, shortness of breath, or chest pain, could be serious signs of a protein deficiency. Low protein levels can cause low blood pressure, which can lead to brain malfunctions and fainting. Low blood pressure occasionally causes shortness of breath or chest pain due to an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle . If you experience any of these symptoms, get help from a medical professional immediately.
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How Much Protein Should I Eat To Build Muscle
If youre trying to build muscle, youre going to want to eat enough protein to induce muscle repair and growth.
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so youll need plenty if youre looking to build a muscular physique!
If youre of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 0.641.09 g/lb .
There is some evidence that a higher range might be beneficial. Not so much in gaining more muscle, but to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase.
As we mention in our guide, 12 Tips to Gain Weight Quickly, you might put on a little fat when eating in a caloric surplus to grow muscle.
More protein may counteract this a little.
If youre an experienced lifter on a bulk, intakes up to 1.50 g/lb may help you minimize fat gain.
Now of course, if you want to grow muscle, you cant just eat proteinyou also need to strength train!
Luckily, were experts on that.
Here are some resources to begin your training:
Based On Lean Body Mass
An additional method of figuring out how much protein you need takes into account activity level and lean body mass. Some experts feel that this is a more accurate technique since lean body mass requires more protein for maintenance than fatty tissue.
Lean body mass is the amount of bodyweight that is not fat. It includes bone, water, muscle, organs, and other tissues. There are different ways to determine your lean body mass, but the easiest is to subtract your body fat from your total body mass.
First, you’ll need to determine your body fat percent. There are different ways to get the number, including body fat testing with skin calipers, BIA scales, or DEXA scans. You can also estimate body fat with this calculator.
Next, calculate your total body fat in pounds. Multiply your body weight by the body fat percentage. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and your fat percentage is 30, then 45 of those pounds would be fat .
Lastly, calculate lean body mass.Subtract your body fat weight from your total body weight. Using the same example, the lean body mass would be 105 .
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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
Calculate Daily Protein Need
To determine your daily protein need, multiply your LBM by the appropriate activity level.
- Sedentary : multiply by 0.5
- Light activity : multiply by 0.6
- Moderate : multiply by 0.7
- Active : multiply by 0.8
- Very active : multiply by 0.9
- Athlete : multiply by 1.0
Based on this method, a 150-pound person with an LBM of 105 would require daily protein intake ranging from 53 grams, if sedentary, to 105 grams if athletic.
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Other Circumstances That Can Increase Protein Needs
Regardless of muscle mass and physique goals, those who are physically active need more protein than those who are sedentary.
If your job is physically demanding or you walk a lot, run, swim, or do any sort of exercise, you need to eat more protein.
Endurance athletes also need significant amounts of protein about 0.50.65 grams per pound of body weight (
This can help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, both of which are significant problems among older adults.
People recovering from injuries may likewise need more protein .
People who are physically active, as well as older adults and those recovering from injuries, have significantly increased protein requirements.
What Happens If You Eat Too Much Protein
High-protein diets may tout weight loss, but this type of weight loss may only be short-term. Excess protein consumed is usually stored as fat, while the surplus of amino acids is excreted. This can lead to weight gain over time, especially if you consume too many calories while trying to increase your protein intake.
What are good protein sources?
Some sources of dietary protein include: lean meat, poultry and fish. eggs. dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese. seeds and nuts. beans and legumes soy products like tofu.
How much protein A woman needs a day?
The DRI is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
How much protein is too much for a woman?
Most research indicates that eating more than 2 g per kg of body weight daily of protein for a long time can cause health problems. Symptoms associated with too much protein include: intestinal discomfort and indigestion.
What should my protein intake be to lose weight?
Nutritional Guidelines suggest a daily intake of 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram, or . 73 and 1 grams per pound to lose weight. Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram if aiming for weight loss.
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You’re Trying To Lose Weight
Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, helping you feel full, and also pushes your body to secrete the gut hormone peptide YY, which reduces hunger. “When you bring protein to about 30% of your daily calories, you’ll naturally eat less,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition practice in New York City, and author of The Little Book of Thin. “Protein decreases appetite and also, in my experience, helps you manage cravings.”
While studies are mixed about whether consuming more protein leads to weight loss, research is pretty clear that protein can help you retain more of your lean muscle as you lose fat. One 2011 study suggests amping up protein to as much as 1.8 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day to stave off muscle loss when restricting calories. Cut back on refined carbs to balance out the extra calories from adding protein.
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%.
The Amino Acid Profile Varies Between Plant And Animal Proteins
When eaten, protein is broken down into amino acids.
Proteins and amino acids are used for almost every metabolic process in the body.
However, different proteins can vary greatly in the types of amino acids they contain.
While animal proteins tend to contain a good balance of all the amino acids that we need, some plant proteins are low in certain amino acids.
For example, some key plant proteins are often low in methionine, tryptophan, lycine and isoleucine.
All proteins are made up of amino acids, although the amount and type of each amino acid varies based on the protein source.
Expert Opinion & Research On Protein In Older Adults
In 2013 a position paper was released from the PROT-AGE Study Group . These are experts in the field of geriatrics. Their position paper highlights research that shows older adults need more protein than the RDA to support good health, promote recovery when ill, and to maintain functionality .
The PROT- AGE Study Group recommends that older adults consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight .
Another expert group had similar recommendations. The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism also recommended that older adults should get 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight from their diet .
There continues to be ongoing research in the area of protein requirements for older adults.
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Protein Requirements By Age: Are You Getting Enough In Your Diet
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for building and maintaining our muscles. Because protein makes up enzymes that help control the chemical processes that keep us alive, its imperative that we get the appropriate amount of protein every day.
But exactly how much protein should we be eating per day?
The National Academy of Medicine released a general recommendationthat adults should get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight however, protein requirements can change as a person ages. As people grow older, their daily protein intake may need to be adjusted especially when trying to prevent muscle loss.
So just how much protein should you consume based on your age? Are you getting enough protein in your diet? Read below to find out more about the protein requirements by age and see how your protein consumption measures up to the recommended guidelines .
Does Protein Make Your Belly Fat
Protein may be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat. One study showed that people who ate more and better protein had much less abdominal fat . Another study indicated that protein was linked to a significantly reduced chance of abdominal fat gain over 5 years in women .
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Protein Calculator: How Much Protein Do I Need
Determining how much protein to eat per day is important for any lifter, athlete, or person, period! Here’s the number to aim for to build muscle, lose weight, and support your exercise goals.
The amount of protein you need depends on a number of factors, including your weight, age, goals, and activity level. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight for a sedentary person. However, if you do intense workouts, have a physically demanding job, or both, experts say you may need moreâperhaps as much as double.
This calculator will tell you how much protein to eat each day based on your specific body and lifestyle. Dial in this nutritional priority to take control of your nutrition and nail your goals!