Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Lactating Women
As with pregnancy, there is little research investigating how lactation and breastfeeding affect protein requirements. Women produce a wide range of breast milk volumes, regardless of their energy status . The infants demands appear to be the primary regulator of milk production.
Based simply on adult protein requirements plus the protein output in breast milk, the RDA for lactating women was set at 1.3 g/kg. However, one study reported that half of the lactating women consuming 1.5 g/kg were in negative nitrogen balance, while another study suggested that 1.01.5 g/kg leads to a rapid downregulation of protein turnover suggestive of an adaptive response to insufficient intake.
Considering the lack of data on the effects of a protein intake greater than 1.5 g/kg in lactating women and that consuming 1.5 g/kg or less leads to adaptations suggestive of insufficient intake, lactating women should aim to consume at least 1.5 g/kg of protein daily.
What Does A Correct Protein Intake During Exercise Provide Us With
- Delayed muscle fatigue: This is produced by the decrease in the production of lactic acid. As the limiting factor of fatigue in physical exercise is the production of large amounts of lactate, if we were able to reduce its production, we would increase the fatigue threshold and delay the point at which our muscular exhaustion would appear.
- Improved body composition and maintenance of muscle mass: Research has shown that diets with a good amount of protein improve our body composition by reducing our body fat percentage and contribute to better maintain muscle mass.
- Faster recovery after exercise: During physical exercise, a large amount of free radicals are produced. Thus, proteins facilitate muscle recovery and prevent the appearance of injuries. This statement is evidenced in an article published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
- Improves insulin resistance
How To Use Protein Powder: Your Simple Step
What is the best protein powder to use?
How much protein powder should I take per day?
When is the best time to drink it?
Most beginning lifters highly over-complicate the issue of proper protein powder use, typically viewing it as some sort of high tech muscle building supplement that must be consumed in a very specific way to obtain the benefits.
In reality, like the name implies, protein powders are nothing more than just that: powdered protein.
Whether its whey, egg, casein or a vegan source, all protein powders are ultimately derived from whole foods and are simply a means of meeting your daily protein needs in a more convenient way.
Rather than thinking of protein powders as being supplements in a category of their own, its actually more accurate to just think of them as regular food products.
For that reason, asking how to use protein powder is really no different from asking how to use chicken or how to use beef.
The use of a protein powder is simply an optional add-on to your diet, and its just a question of whether you prefer eating regular solid foods only as a way of obtaining your daily protein or if you enjoy the taste and convenience that protein powder shakes and recipes provide.
If you have decided to include a protein powder in your plan, this step-by-step protein powder guide will answer the 3 most common questions surrounding this topic:
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How Much Protein To Build Muscle
When it comes to building muscle, your gym routine is only part of the puzzle your diet, particularly your protein intake, is the other key factor.
In general, you need between 1.2 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily to encourage muscle growth.1
While specific factors can play a role in where you fall on that range, supplying your muscles with quality protein from your diet is the key to promoting muscle growth. Read on to learn about how to make the most of your protein intake.
Choose Leaner Slightly Larger Cuts Of Meat
Selecting leaner cuts of meat and increasing portion sizes slightly can significantly boost the protein content of your meal.
Whats more, your meal may even end up being lower in calories.
For example, compare the nutritional value of a 3-ounce serving of these two steaks (
Peanut butter can also boost the flavor and nutritional value of firm fruits like apples and pears, which are rich in fiber and antioxidants yet low in protein.
In fact, spreading 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on sliced fruit can boost the total protein content by 7 grams .
Peanut butter also works well with a wide range of other ingredients, including oatmeal, celery, whole wheat toast, or yogurt.
Adding peanut butter to your diet can boost your protein intake. It may also help decrease appetite, improve heart health, and lower blood sugar.
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Include A High Protein Food With Every Meal
When it comes to protein, its not just the total amount you take in every day that matters. Getting enough at each meal is also important.
Several researchers recommend consuming a minimum of 2030 grams of protein at each meal.
Studies show that this amount promotes fullness and preserves muscle mass better than smaller amounts eaten throughout the day .
Examples of foods high in protein include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy products like tofu or tempeh.
You can also select foods from this list of delicious high protein foods to make sure you meet your needs at every meal.
Include a high protein food at each meal to get what you need to feel full and maintain muscle mass.
How To Read This Article
If youre just curious about high-protein diets:
- Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like.
If you want to change your body and/or health:
- You dont need to know every detail. Just get the general idea.
- Check out our advice at the end.
If youre an athlete interested in performance:
- Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance.
- Check out our advice for athletes at the end.
If youre a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science:
- Weve given you some extra credit material in sidebars throughout.
- Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end.
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Meat And Dairy Products
Animals and animal products are comprised of complete proteins, which contain all the amino acids our bodies need to function at its best. Heres the amount of protein found in some animal and animal products:
- An order of steak at a restaurant 36 grams
- A glass of milk 6 grams
- 2 slices of cheese 10.5 grams
Protein Needs For Adults
The bare minimum amount of protein you need per day is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. So, for a 140-pound person, that’s about 50 grams. But that’s just the lowest amount you should aim for to avoid getting sick explains Harvard Health Publishing.
A Protein Summit organized in 2015 included 40 nutrition scientists and was detailed in the Harvard Health Publishing article. It concluded that about 15 to 25 percent of total daily calories can come from protein. This is a safe and reasonable amount of protein to aim for. So, if you eat 2,000 calories per day, 75 to 125 grams of protein is appropriate.
Your exact needs, however, also depend on your age, sex and activity level. Athletes and avid exercisers might need a bit more. Protein is important for athletes because it helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue. Also important, however, is a greater amount of other macronutrients, including carbohydrates for energy and fat for weight maintenance.
Read more: How Much Protein is Right for You?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends athletes consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on the type of training they’re involved in. Endurance athletes, such as runners, need less protein per day than power athletes, such as weightlifters.
This means that if you’re a 150-pound athlete, you need 81 to 136 grams of protein per day. This protein intake should be spread out among multiple meals and workouts.
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Negative Effects Of Protein
So why all the fuss about the ingestion of too much protein? So far, we’ve seen protein’s positive effects and that it can be beneficial for hypertrophy of the muscle complex. A common argument raised is that excessive protein, as described above, can cause a variety of body ailments–such as kidney and heart disease, constipation, and osteoporosis. These are often cited as the main reason one would want to steer clear of a diet rich in protein .
The average person reading about this might want to jump on the anti-protein bandwagon, but what they don’t realize is that these studies often mislead. For starters, the negative health claims of kidney disease resulting from a high protein diet have used information gathered from studies done on patients with existing kidney problems. Kidneys are responsible for excretion of the urea formed from ammonia which comes from the protein in our diet.
People with kidney problems already have trouble excreting urea, and this leads to more stress on the kidneys. The logic goes that strength trainers, bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes who eat a high protein diet are doomed to suffer from future kidney problems. Furthermore, there don’t seem to be any peer-reviewed studies done on healthy athletes, strength trainers, weightlifters or bodybuilders showing that kidney problems are a result of a high protein diet.
“New research has shown now that the body may in fact be able to handle much more than 25-30 grams of protein in a sitting.”
What Is The Best Protein To Build Muscle
The best proteins to build muscle are those that contain all of the essential amino acids the building blocks for protein that the body cant make on its own which are called complete proteins.
Varying your protein sources in your diet can help assure you get a wide range of amino acids. Research shows that protein sources high in the amino acid leucine can increase muscle growth.3 Dairy foods, like whey protein, are high in leucine.
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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.
Protein Increases The Thermic Effect Of Food
The thermic effect of food is the cost of digesting your food.
Essentially, it takes some energy to break food down, digest it, and turn it into energy. Protein has the highest cost of all the three macronutrients.
While the total effect that the thermic effect of food has on daily energy expenditure and weight loss is small, it is not meaningless and is important to note.
In one study, a high protein diet increased the thermic effect of food by roughly 6-8 kcals per hour when compared to a low protein diet, which may translate to ~50-75 calories per day .
However, not all studies show this large of an effect, and the thermic effect of protein is not likely responsible for most of its benefit, but it may be the cherry on top of adequate dietary protein during weight loss.
You can track things like the thermic effect of food, total daily energy expenditure, and macros with the NASM Weight Loss Calculator.
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How To Get Your Post
Now that you know how much protein after a workout to take, lets review how to fulfill your protein needs.
A good place to start is with whole foods. Youre looking for high-quality sources of protein, which are ideally complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids that you need to build muscle. Some good animal sources are beef, fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy products like Greek yogurt, or even chocolate milk.
Some plant-based proteins like quinoa, hemp, soy, and chia are also complete proteins, but many are not. To create a complete protein you often need to combine plant-based sources, for example, rice with beans, or peanut butter on whole-grain bread.
If youre working out intensively though, its likely to be a challenge to get enough protein from whole foods, and thats where protein supplements come in.
When You Need Protein
How much protein after a workout is just one part of the equation. Lets look at exactly when you need that protein.
Your body doesnt store protein and it uses it up continuously during the day, which means you need a constant supply of protein.
Not so long ago, the prevailing thought was that you needed to take advantage of a very specific anabolic window of about an hour either pre-workout or post-workout to counteract catabolism and effectively build muscle.
However, recent research has shown that the anabolic window might be much longer than was originally thought. As such, whether you consume protein immediately before or after your workout might not matter so much.
Instead, try to give your body a constant supply of amino acids to use. As a general rule of thumb, aim for at least four meals spread out over the day, consuming the right number of grams of protein at each meal, depending on your body weight.
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How Many Protein Shakes A Day Should You Have
No matter whether you have 2 protein shakes a day or 3 protein shakes a day, its the daily amount of the protein macronutrient itself thats important for your progress.
For exercising individuals, optimal daily protein intakes range between 1.4-2.0g/kg with the exact figure depending upon your goal.3 You may be able to get all of this from your diet, however, protein shakes provide a convenient way to ensure you are getting the high levels of the various amino acids required for muscle growth and recovery.
Protein timing is also key, and it can vary depending on your goals
Why Protein Is Important For Building Muscle
To build muscle, your body needs to synthesise more muscle protein than it breaks down, which is why anyone looking to build muscle needs to make sure they’re getting enough protein, as well as making sure the work they’re doing in the weights room is right too.
It’s not just us saying that, there’s a body of research that confirms the part protein plays in building muscle. A study published in the journal Nutrients, for example, found that “protein intake was shown to promote additional gains in lean body mass beyond those observed with resistance exercise alone.”
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Choosing A Whey Protein Supplement
When it comes to protein, quality is just as important as quantity. Whey protein is generally better quality than plant-based protein because it offers all nine essential amino acids. However, not all whey protein powders are created equal.
First, choose the type of whey protein best for you. Whey concentrate is the most common type, followed by whey isolate and hydrolysate. Overall, whey concentrate is considered to have the most nutritional benefit. However, whey isolate and hydrolysate contain less lactose, making them good options for people with digestive issues.
Next, take a look at the ingredients label when you choose a whey protein. Some brands are full of fillers, sweeteners and other unnecessary ingredients. To get the best quality protein powder, avoid added sugar, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, fillers and dyes as much as possible. These ingredients are added to enhance the texture and flavor of some protein powders. However, some of these ingredients can slow down results and even cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea.
Finally, the highest quality whey protein will have a short list of ingredients, using only vitamins and minerals as additives. The healthiest options are also made with grass-fed whey and use natural sweeteners like monk fruit or coconut sugar.
Meal And Shake Ideas To Meet Your Protein Needs
Following a high-protein diet isnt as difficult as it may seem, we promise. If youre looking for foods and other sources of protein to add into your diet to boost your protein intake, here are some of our favorite dietary proteins:
Nuts, like almonds and pistachios
Seeds, like pumpkin seeds
Lean meats like lean beef
High protein veggies, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Another easy way to get your protein is through drinks like a smoothie or a protein shake. Bonus: Liquids are easier to digest, so your body is able to absorb and use the protein in protein shakes and smoothies much quicker. Opt to create your drinks using a protein powder made from fast-absorbing proteins, like whey protein or pea protein, for an even speedier absorption rate.
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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.