What If Youre Losing Weight
Because your body is only too willing to offload metabolically expensive muscle, you should target a higher protein intake if you are trying to lose weight .
The chart below from a review paper by Stuart Phillips shows that the muscle preservation benefits of protein are maximised at around 2.6 g/kg of body weight for someone who is in a significant deficit and doing resistance training.
Unhealthy Daily Amounts Of Protein
While increasing your protein content can be safe and even beneficial, don’t increase your daily amount of protein too much. According to the Harvard Medical School, 2 grams or more of protein per kilogram of body weight can be harmful. Excessive consumption of protein can result in increased:
- Cholesterol that results in a higher chance of heart disease.
- Digestive system issues, including diarrhea and constipation.
- Kidney problems, including kidney stones.
- Risk of cancer.
Too much protein can, ironically, even cause weight gain.
To make sure you’re getting the right amount of protein each day, use the United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator, which shows you all the nutrients you should consume each day, or another protein calculator. Many fitness apps on smartphones can also help you determine the appropriate amount of protein needed for weight loss or muscle building. Remember that the number of calories you need can change based on your level of activity each day.
Healthy Daily Amounts Of Protein
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Based on the average heights and weights of men and women, this works out to an average of about 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. Most people consume a little less or little more protein than this. However, certain diets recommend eating more protein. These diets include the Atkins, ketogenic, low carbohydrate and paleo diets.
High protein diets aren’t suitable for everyone, but are often recommended for athletes. According to an interview with Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD, in Today’s Dietitian, a range of 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for endurance athletes 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for strength and power athletes.
High protein diets are also suitable for weight loss and improving metabolic issues. Although you may question doubling your protein content, these values really are the standard. According to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1.2 to 1.6 grams is the ideal amount of protein for weight loss and many other health benefits
Read more:Meal Plan to Lose Weight for Athletes
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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Older Adults
Sarcopenia is a muscle disorder. It is defined as an impairment of physical function combined with a loss of muscle mass. It is the primary age-related cause of frailty.
Frailty is associated with a higher risk of disabilities that affect your ability to perform daily activities, a higher risk of having to go to a nursing home, and a higher risk of experiencing falls, fractures, and hospitalizations.
The link between sarcopenia, frailty, and associated morbidities may explain why sarcopenia is associated with a greater risk of premature death and reduced quality of life. This isnt a rare issue, either: in the US, over 40% of men and nearly 60% of women over the age of 50 have sarcopenia, and more than 10% of people in their 20s.
Reference: Janssen et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002.
Fortunately, sarcopenia is neither inevitable nor irreversible some seniors have built more muscle in their old age than they ever had in their youth. The older you get, though, the greater your muscles anabolic resistance , and so the greater the protein intake and exercise volume youll need to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Notably, doubling protein intake from 0.8 to 1.6 g/kg has been shown to significantly increase lean body mass in elderly men. Similar observations have been made in elderly women who increase their protein intake from 0.9 to 1.4 g/kg. Even a small increase in protein intake from 1.0 to 1.3 g/kg has minor benefits towards lean mass and overall body composition.
Protein For Losing Fat
Eating protein helps with losing fat, for a few reasons.
1. When you eat more protein, you tend to feel fuller longer.
Protein stimulates the release of satiety hormones in the gut. So when you eat protein, you naturally tend to eat less, without feeling hungry.
2. Protein makes your body work to digest it.
Not all nutrients take the same energy to digest. Fat and carbohydrates are pretty easy for your body to digest and absorb, but protein takes more energy to digest and absorb.
If you eat 100 calories of protein, youll only use about 70 calories of it. 3. Protein also helps you hang on to lean mass while youre losing fat.
When youre in a significant energy deficit , your body tries to throw out everything fat, muscle, bone, hormones, etc. all the stuff you need. It doesnt tend to throw out just fat and keep muscle unless you eat lots of protein.
Lets take a deeper look: Protein, lean mass, and energy restrictionA recent study at McMaster University in Canada explored what would happen if people who were on a very low-calorie diet , ate a lot of protein, and worked out hard.
For 4 weeks, a group of young men in their 20s were basically starved, but on a high-protein diet about 2.4 g/kg.
So, for instance, a 200 lb , relatively active young man whose energy needs would normally be 3000 calories per day might get:
- 1800 calories per day
- 218 grams of protein per day
This means that out of those 1800 calories per day, about 48 percent of them were from protein.
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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
Women And Protein An Essential Guide
Reading Time: 8 minutes 39 seconds
Protein, and especially how much of it to eat, is a topic of hot debate in fitness and nutrition circles. Unfortunately, most of the discussion is geared towards men, specifically men interested in hypertrophy.
Womens nutritional and fitness needs are different. While there are indeed some tough and awesome female bodybuilders going for big muscle gains, most of your female clients will have different goals. They want to lose fat, gain muscle, and look lean.
That leaves women with a lot of questions that we trainers need to be ready to answer:
How much protein should I be eating?
Will too much protein make me bulkier or fat?
Is eating too much protein unhealthy?
Should I try protein shakes?
And so on the questions are nearly endless. While we cant answer all of them here, let us give you some of the most important information to pass on to your female clients who are confused about protein.
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How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day
Protein is essential to good health. The very origin of the word from the Greek protos, meaning “first” reflects proteins top-shelf status in human nutrition. You need it to put meat on your bones and to make hair, blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and more. Its common for athletes and bodybuilders to wolf down extra protein to bulk up. But the message the rest of us often get is that our daily protein intake is too high.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, its the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.
To determine your daily protein intake, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator. For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds woman and who is sedentary , that translates into 53 grams of protein a day.
But use of the RDA to determine how much protein you need daily has actually caused a lot of confusion. “Theres a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,” says Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “People in general think we all eat too much protein.”
Protein Makes You Lose Weight Even Without Conscious Calorie Restriction
Protein works on both sides of the calories in vs calories out equation. It reduces calories in and boosts calories out.
For this reason, it is not surprising to see that high-protein diets lead to weight loss, even without intentionally restricting calories, portions, fat or carbs (
In this study, the participants lost an average of 11 pounds over a period of 12 weeks. Keep in mind that they only added protein to their diet, they did not intentionally restrict anything.
Although the results arent always this dramatic, the majority of studies do show that high-protein diets lead to significant weight loss .
A higher protein intake is also associated with less belly fat, the harmful fat that builds up around the organs and causes disease .
All that being said, losing weight is not the most important factor. It is keeping it off in the long-term that really counts.
Many people can go on a diet and lose weight, but most end up gaining the weight back .
Interestingly, a higher protein intake can also help prevent weight regain. In one study, a modest increase in protein intake reduced weight regain after weight loss by 50% .
So not only can protein help you lose weight, it can also help you keep it off in the long-term .
Eating a high-protein diet can cause weight loss, even without calorie counting, portion control or carb restriction. A modest increase in protein intake can also help prevent weight regain.
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.
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.
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Beans Lentils Peas & Soy
Legumes beans, lentils, peas, seeds, and soy are a good source of protein and provide other essential nutrients. Yes, most are higher in carbs than the other foods on this list. However, theyre also high in fiber. Plus, as an excellent source of plant-based protein, legumes are perfect for vegetarian and vegan weight-loss diets.
One review of 21 trials found that people who included beans, lentils, and other legumes in their diet lost a small amount of weight without deliberately restricting calories.16
While soy is considered a complete protein, beans and legumes are low in one or more of the essential amino acids that you need to eat to stay healthy.18 The good news is, combining different plant proteins, such as beans and nuts, can provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids your body needs.19
Plant protein powder supplements are processed, so they lack the fiber found in whole foods. However, they are a good option for getting more protein with fewer carbs. For this reason, you may want to consider occasionally including plant protein powders if youre a vegetarian or vegan who eats keto or low carb.
Protein percentage range: 80% to 26%
When It Comes To Protein How Much Is Too Much
You’ve probably heard the claims by now: Here’s a diet that’s delicious, easy to stick with, and guaranteed to help you lose weight effortlessly. Or, perhaps it’s supposed to build muscle, protect your joints or prevent Alzheimer’s. Whatever the diet and whatever the claim, there’s a good chance that it is, indeed, too good to be true.
In recent years, high protein diets are among the most popular, whether the protein is consumed as a supplement or simply a larger than usual portion of a balanced diet .
Perhaps you’re curious about one of these diets or have already tried them did you ever wonder whether too much protein might be a problem?
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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 Get More Protein In Your Diet
Considering that you need to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day to lose weight, youre going to need to find some ways to get more protein in your diet. Adding at least 4-6oz of high-quality lean protein per meal will help you get at least 80-100g of protein per day. High quality sources of protein can include lean meats, chicken, fish, dairy, or plant-based options like beans, legumes, and nuts, and seeds.
Including protein rich snacks, such as edamame, Greek yogurt, protein chips, and protein bars, will also help you hit your protein intake to help you lose weight. Protein powder, such as whey protein isolate or plant protein can also help you get 20-25 more grams of protein per dayto help you lose weight, increase muscle mass, and improve recovery. You can even add a scoop or two of collagen to your post workout protein shake and get another 10g with the added joint and beauty benefits.
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