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
Types Of Protein Powders
There are several types of protein powders. Although some are more effective than others, all protein supplements will help your body build muscle to some degree. The type of protein you choose depends on your goals, dietary restrictions, and general preference.
Whey protein is the most commonly used protein supplement. This milk protein is known as the most effective type of protein, due to its long list of amino acids.
Casein is another type of milk protein. Its less commonly used than whey, but still carries some benefits for muscle building. Many people prefer to take casein at night because it is digested more slowly than whey. Therefore, they take it to help with recovery and muscle building overnight.
Collagen has recently exploded in popularity. Although collagen is the most abundant type of protein in the human body, production tends to slow due to age and environmental factors. Supplementing collagen may benefit the skin, joints, and muscles.
Vegetarian and vegan protein includes protein powders made from non-dairy sources like egg, brown rice, hemp, and peas. Plant-based proteins tend to lack essential amino acids, making them slightly less effective than animal-based protein. However, they are still beneficial for people who prefer to avoid animal protein sources.
How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day
Current guidelines, established by the Institute of Medicine in 2002, recommend adults 19 years of age and older consume 10 to 35 percent of their daily calories from protein. That’s about 200 to 700 calories from protein for a 2,000-calorie diet. Another way to calculate how much protein you need each day is to multiply 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. With a little math, this translates to 54 grams of protein for a 150-pound woman, or 65 grams for a 180-pound man.
Here are some examples of what 10 grams of protein looks like:
- 2 small eggs
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Eat Your Protein First
When eating a meal, eat the protein source first, especially before you get to the starches.
Protein increases the production of peptide YY , a gut hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied .
In addition, a high protein intake decreases levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and increases your metabolic rate after eating and during sleep .
Whats more, eating protein first can help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too high after a meal.
In one small study, people with type 2 diabetes were served identical meals on different days. Blood sugar and insulin rose significantly less when they consumed protein and vegetables before eating high carb foods, compared with when the order was reversed .
Eating protein first at meals can help you feel full and keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too high.
So How Much Protein Do You Need
For any guy who’s cut his teeth on the gym floor and with several years of training behind them could theoretically get away with less daily protein. That’s because, the closer you are to your genetic limit in terms of muscle growth, the slower the gains will come. And the slower your rate of growth, the less protein you need to support that growth. Understood?
In short, if youre trying to gain muscle, or even if you just want to hold on to the muscle you have while you drop fat, 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass is plenty.
You can eat more if you like. However, bear in mind that its not going to make much difference to the speed at which you gain muscle and will make a difference not only to your bank balance, but potentially your waistline too.
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How Much Protein Per Day To Build Muscle Lose Fat & Be Healthy
As you now know, your daily protein intake plays an absolutely crucial role in terms of the overall health and function of your body.
And if you want to lose fat, build muscle, or really just improve the way your body looks or performs in virtually any capacity, protein becomes even more important.
So, now that you know why you need it, the question becomes how much of it do you need? Exactly how much protein is ideal for you, your diet, and your specific goal?
Lets answer that
How To Calculate Protein Intake
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Other Sources Of Protein
Relying too heavily on protein powder will throw your diet off balance and may lead to adverse health conditions. Try to remember that everything is better in moderation. Determine your ideal daily protein intake and then begin to incorporate one or two protein powder shakes into your diet, usually during the time that you exercise. Outside of this time, you should be designing a diet for yourself that also includes some of these protein sources for a more balanced diet.
Choose The Healthiest Sources Of Protein
Just about every type of food has protein. Some have more than others. Whether you eat meat or not, you can get enough protein from your diet.
Apart from protein, you might also want to think about what else you’re getting from protein-rich foods.
For instance, to limit saturated fat, you’d want to choose lean cuts of meat over fattier cuts. And to cut back on sodium, skip the processed meats like hot dogs and sausage.
If you’re trying to get more omega-3s, you might choose salmon, tuna, or eggs fortified with omega-3s.
If you need to get more fiber, look to beans, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
To help lower the chance of getting heart disease, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of red meat, especially processed red meat, and eat more fish, poultry, and beans, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Most nutritionists agree the best approach is to choose from a variety of protein sources.
If you’re watching your weight, try including protein with every meal. It will help you feel full longer. Spreading protein evenly across your meals is also good for your muscles, which is especially important as you get older and start to lose muscle mass.
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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.
Promote Muscle Gain By Increased Protein Intake
If you are an athlete, looking to increase your muscle mass, simply eating high-protein foods won’t help. Dietary protein, after deamination, provides energy or recycles components of non-muscle molecules, or is converted to stored fat in fat depos. First of all, one needs adequate caloric intake corresponding to their exercise level. If the intake is insufficient during intense training even augmented protein intake may not be enough to maintain the proper balance of nitrogen since a disproportionate percentage of dietary protein will be catabolized to account for the energy deficit. So, you will burn your proteins before they can participate in muscle development.
However, there is some support that the now common practice of eating and drinking predigested protein in the form of shakes, powders, pills or bars might assist in muscle growth, especially whey protein. A 2019 meta analysis supports the “efficacy and safety of whey protein supplements as an ergogenic aid on athletes’ sports performance and recovery.”
Katch V.L., McArdle W.D., Katch F.I “Essentials of Exercise Physiology”, fourth edition
Jager, R. et. al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Protein and exercise”, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
WHO “Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition”, WHO Technical Report Series 935
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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.
Protein Helps You Feel Full Longer
One of the biggest things that impedes weight loss is hunger.
People are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger.
Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients .
Several different lines of research have all pointed to the same thing: higher protein intakes tend to provide more satiety and less hunger.
For example, in one study, high protein snacks allowed people to go longer between eating and also caused them to eat less at subsequent meals .
Another study showed that including protein into a glass of water decreased hunger compared to water alone .
Depending on the source of protein, there does appear to be minor differences in the exact amount of satiety that protein provides, however these differences are minor and dont really make a meaningful impact for most people .
Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal level of daily protein intake in ones diet with regard to stay full. However, roughly 1.8 – 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram daily appears to provide substantial benefit on satiety .
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You Can Eat As Much Protein As You Want
Here at Powerful Nutrition, we are all about getting you enough protein to fuel your body. But is there such a thing as too much protein?
Some fitness enthusiasts will have you believe that you cant have too much protein if you exercise hard enough. Unfortunately, thats not entirely true. Your body can only use so much protein at any time, and the rest will get discarded. However, this doesnt mean you should overload on protein to give your body more fuel.
Consuming too much protein could lead to high doses of nitrogen, which your body may have trouble getting rid of. The tolerable upper limit for protein intake is 3.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Prolonged intake of more than 2g per kg of body weight is also not recommended since it could increase the risk of kidney damage. This means that active and healthy adults weighing over 180 pounds should have no problem consuming up to 200g of protein per day.
What all this comes down to is that you should be careful not to overdo it with protein intake. However, 200g of protein is quite a lot, and it gives you plenty of wiggle room for your food and supplement intake. Unless you are pushing the upper limits of what you are allowed to intake you should be just fine with a mixed diet and your daily dose of supplements.
Why We Need Protein
Before we get into the details of what protein is, let’s get motivated by appreciating what protein does. Our bodies use protein to build just about everything. Skin, hair, muscles, organs, even the hemoglobin in your blood is made of protein.
And the list goes on: The enzymes that break down food and spark chemical reactions in the body are proteins. Our immune systems depend on protein to make antibodies. Protein molecules aid the transfer of messages between the neurotransmitters in our brains. And many hormones, including insulin and other metabolism-regulating hormones, are proteins as well.
If you’re thinking, where’s the protein? Let me at it. But before we go there, we should sneak in a little bit of science about what protein actually is. Protein molecules are made of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are twenty naturally occurring amino acids. Some names you might be familiar with are lysine, glutamine, and tryptophan. When you eat foods that contain protein, your body breaks those proteins down and reassembles the amino acids to create the protein structures it wants to make.
The human body can synthesize eleven of the amino acids it needs. However, nine amino acids are called essential amino acids because they must be taken in from food.
When a single food provides all nine essential amino acids, it is called a complete protein.
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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.
Side Effects Of High Protein Intake
The trend for a high protein diet is increasing day by day and it has been shown to be helpful in reducing fat, losing weight, increasing satiety, and retaining muscle.
However, it is also associated with several risk factors that we need to be aware of. Hence, the nutritional experts dont really advocate exceeding your protein intake way above the recommended limit.
The side effects which are normally seen with very high intake of food are:
- Bad breath
- Digestive problems such as constipation, also diarrhea,
- Heart Disease
- Calcium loss
Commercial protein sources, that are available in the market, are protein supplements with whey protein, soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, egg white, pea protein isolate and so on. When taken in exceedingly high amounts, it may cause nausea, increased thirst, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite, fatigue, and increased bowel movements.
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How Much Protein Should You Eat While Pregnant
Growing a human requires a bit more protein intake. Along with your protein needs, your body has to account for your babys nutrients too.
But, some researchers note that this amount doesnt take into account the changing needs during different pregnancy stages. Some will recommend 1.2 to 1.52 g/kg each day in early pregnancy and late pregnancy .The same goes for those exclusively breastfeeding. Research indicates that in order to maintain your own muscle mass while providing adequate nutrition to your bébés, you should aim to eat around 1.7 to 1.9 g/kg of protein per day.