How Much Protein A Day To Lose Weight
So how can you tell exactly how much protein do you need to maintain your muscle and lose weight?
When calorie restriction for fat loss is considered, some research suggests between 2.3 to 3.1 grams of protein/kg of fat-free body mass or 1.04 to 1.4 grams/pound of muscle is best . You can find out your muscle mass by estimating your % body fat or getting a body composition test done.
But again, this amount can vary widely from one person to the next, And of course, you have to have the muscle to begin with. So if you are looking to lose weight and do not participate in any strength training, you might want to consider adding weight lifting or at least bodyweight exercises to your weight loss plan.
Consider increasing your protein intake to 30% of your calories or roughly 1 gram per pound of body weight/day if you are looking to drop some pounds and tone up.
What’s A Protein Lover To Do
If you want to maintain a high protein diet, the details matter:
- Find out from your doctor if you have any health conditions that might make such a diet risky
- Get your protein from healthy sources such as low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts and beans, lean chicken and turkey avoid proteins sources that contain highly process carbohydrates and saturated fat
- Spread your protein consumption across all of your meals throughout the day
- Choose a well-balanced diet that includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and fiber the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet are good starting points.
Why We Even Need Protein
That building block nickname is no exaggeration. The stuff is an integral component of every cell in your body, including, yes, your muscles.
If we don’t get enough protein, our bodies actually wont be able to rebuild properly and well start to lose muscle mass, Colleen Tewksbury, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., senior research investigator and bariatric program manager at Penn Medicine and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF.
Protein helps repair the microtears that occur in your muscle fibers when theyre strained during exercise, the American College of Exercise explains. That process of damage and repair is what maintains and grows your muscle mass.
But protein is not just important for people who work out: In addition to muscle growth and repair, protein is essential to the growth and repair of virtually all cells and body tissuesfrom your skin, hair, and nails to your bones, organs, and bodily fluids, according to the FDA. Thats why its especially important to get enough of it during developmental periods like childhood and adolescence.
Protein also plays a role in crucial bodily functions like blood clotting, immune system response, vision, fluid balance, and the production of various enzymes and hormones, per the FDA. And because it contains calories, it can provide the body energy for storage or use.
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Other Lifestyle Tweaks For Weight Gain
Weight gain isn’t just about getting enough protein. If you’re eating lots of protein but living a sedentary lifestyle, for example, you won’t gain muscle — you’ll just store the extra calories as fat. So you’ll need to strength-train regularly — around three times per week — to see results.
When it comes to your diet, you’ll also need high-quality carbs and protein. Nutritious whole grains and fruit, for example, supply carbohydrates that are stored in your muscle as glycogen. When you work out, this glycogen serves as a source of quick energy so that you can push through a tough workout. Healthy fats in your diet also provide energy so you can keep up with the active lifestyle needed for weight gain, while the veggies in your diet provide minerals and vitamins you need for a healthy metabolism, strong bones and immunity.
Protein Window Whats The Deal
I feel like the protein window argument has gone to the point of absurdity and back so many times that people actually think its important.
Logic tells us that downing protein within an hour of a workout should enhance muscle gains.
Protein manufacturers are all over that like flies on sh!t. Hells yeah, you should down protein after a workout, and for every damn hour you are ALIVE.
Supplement companies like money, soooo thats the objectivity safely removed from their stance on the matter.
Back to the logic bit though. Theres no context for the reasoning that necking protein shakes within the one hour, or the half-hour window post-workout is necessary/advantageous for optimal muscle growth.
That context is: total protein intake.
Sure if you are low on protein and you bomb a 45 gram protein shake after working out, that protein is going to matter for you gains.
However, if youve eaten enough throughout the day to provide an adequate protein pool for your muscles to draw on, the timing wont make much difference.
In fact, the meta-analysis of the studies conducted on the matter say that strength doesnt seem affected at all, and only hypertrophy is increased, but only IF the post-workout protein was additional to your regular intake.
So if youre getting adequate amounts in your diet, including your protein shake then it doesnt really matter when you take it.
Heres the bit where I go back and say none of this matters.
About Brad Murphy
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How Much Protein Should I Eat To Build Muscle
If youâre trying to build muscle, youâre going to want to eat enough protein to induce muscle repair and growth.
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so youâll need plenty if youâre looking to build a muscular physique!
If youâre of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 0.64â1.09 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 youâre 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 canât just eat proteinyou also need to strength train!
Luckily, were experts on that.
Here are some resources to begin your training:
When You Eat Is As Important As How Much
Another consideration is how often you eat protein during the day. Younger adults have the ability to store small amounts of amino acids from one meal to the next, but that changes around the age of 70, according to Greenwood.
“For people 70 and older, the window of time between protein meals must be shorter than in younger people. You shouldn’t count on having a steak for dinner, and then no protein until tomorrow night’s dinner. Every meal should have some healthy source of protein in it.”
Aim to eat about a third of your daily protein allotment at each meal .
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So When It Comes To Protein How Much Is Too Much
It’s hard to provide a specific answer since so much is still uncertain and the experts themselves don’t agree. However, for the average person it’s probably best to aim for no more than 2 gm/kg that would be about 125 grams/day for a 140-pound person. New information could change our thinking about the maximum safe amount, but until we know more about the safety, risks and benefits of high protein diets, this seems like a reasonable recommendation.
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.
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The Benefits Of Protein For Weight Loss Explained
While the research cannot conclusively determine that dietary protein alone promotes weight loss or that high protein diets are the best approach to losing weight, what weve seen so far is fairly compelling.
It is becoming more apparent that higher protein intake has some serious potential benefits for dieters.
There are three main arguments for why you should consider consuming more protein when looking to shed pounds.
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.
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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!
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.
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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Fat Loss
First, let it be clear that, though it is possible to lose fat on a eucaloric diet by shifting your macronutrient ratios toward more protein, if you want to keep losing weight youll need to switch to a hypocaloric diet .
High protein intakes help preserve lean mass in dieters, especially lean dieters. To optimize body composition, dieting athletes should consume 1.62.4 g/kg, skewing toward the higher end of this range as they become leaner or if they increase their caloric deficit .
Later studies have argued that, to minimize lean-mass loss, dieting lean resistance-trained athletes should consume 2.33.1 g/kg . This latter recommendation has been upheld by the International Society of Sports Nutrition and by a review article on bodybuilding contest preparation.
What Are The Best Protein Sources
Ideally, you should be getting the majority of your protein from natural food sources. Some people who have restrictive diets might choose to ingest protein supplements, especially if they cannot eat meats or any type of animal byproducts.
It is also common to see bodybuilders and professional athletes take a lot of protein supplements. If you choose to use a protein supplement, your results will be best if you continue to eat a healthy diet that is rich in protein.
Protein supplements come in several different forms, with protein shakes being the most popular. You can buy protein shakes already pre-mixed, or you can add loose protein powder to milk or water.
As long as you do not get all your protein from supplements, you should be able to cover all your nutritional needs.
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Still How Much Protein
The most important thing to get right is your overall protein intake because if youre not eating enough relative to your workout intensity/volume, it will affect your rate of progress.
Quite a few studies have looked into nutritional protein intake in the context of resistance training .
The upper limit for total daily protein intake is about 2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. After that, any gains appear to tail off for even the biggest protein sponges amongst us.
Most people appear to lie in the 1.6 g/kg to 2.0 g/kg range.So, after much doodling around with numbers, heres a general rule of thumb to follow:
1. Consume enough protein to make 1.8 grams per kilogram of your bodyweight.
For example: for a 91 kg person , that equates to 163.8 grams of protein from your diet.
2. Then, after your workout or on non-training days, take the following amount of your protein powder, as determined by your bodyweight range:
- 140 to 169 lbs take 30 grams of protein post-workout
- 170 to 199 lbs take 35 grams of protein post-workout
- 200 to 219 lbs take 40 grams of protein post-workout
- 220 to 250 lbs take 45 grams of protein post-workout
If you are outside these weight ranges then try to consume a total of 1 gram per pound of bodyweight including your protein supplement if you do resistance training on a regular basis.
Again, these guidelines are for people looking to put some kind of figure to their ideal post-workout protein shake.
How Much Protein Can Our Bodies Absorb Per Dose
Due to the nature of the constant breakdown and synthesis of muscle tissue, its a common rule to break your protein intake into 3-4 similar sized doses per day whether these are meals or shakes.2
However, too many calories from any source will lead to weight gain, so theres an upper limit of how much protein is beneficial. Based on what else is in your meal or protein shake , and what kind of protein you choose , you may digest and absorb the protein at a different rate.
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Protein Supplements For Weight Gain
Upping your protein intake might offer more benefits in relatively fit people compared to exercise newbies. When you first start training, you effectively “shock” your system with your new, active lifestyle, so you’ll see significant progress in a short amount of time, even if your diet isn’t perfect or your exercise program isn’t ideal. As you get fitter, though, those results naturally taper off, and you’ll have to work harder to continue to see gains.
Once you’ve achieved your “newbie” gains, taking protein supplements might help you continue to see results, according to a review published in Sports Medicine in 2015. The review authors looked at the results from over 35 previously published studies that looked at the potential benefits of protein supplementation on strength and weight gain. While exercise newbies following less-demanding exercise didn’t typically see any added benefits when taking protein supplements, people following more vigorous workout programs did tend to see beneficial results for muscle gain.
Talk to your doctor before taking protein supplements, though, because people with certain underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease, shouldn’t get too much protein. There’s no set amount of supplemental protein that’s recommended for everyone who’s trying to gain weight. A nutrition professional can help you figure out if you really need a supplement and, if so, recommend a type and amount that best meets your needs.
Can You Drink Protein Shake Every Day
Depending on the goals you want to achieve, you can consume protein shakes every day. If your goal is to add some weight, then you can consume the shake every day, though working out will produce better results.
However, if your plan is to gain muscle, drinking protein shake without any exercise will be of no benefit. The ideal recommended consumption rate is 56gms for men per day and 46gms for women. Therefore, you can have a protein shake every day but ensure you dont go over the recommended intake rate.