Here’s Exactly How Much Protein You Should Eat For Muscle Gain And Weight Loss
Regardless of your goal the answer is simple: 30 grams of protein at every meal.
A 180-pound guy who wants to maintain his current weight would need 100 to 130 grams, or six palm-sized portions of protein-rich foods, every day. Thats about 30 grams at each meal and an additional 10 to 20 grams in two snacks. Chicken breast is great, but so are chicken thighs, tofu, salmon, pork, shellfish, whitefish, lamb, tempeh, and much more.
And don’t forget that a heaping scoop of most protein powders will net you around 30 grams of the nutrient.
Within the larger picture of your daily diet, that means youll want to consume 30 percent of your daily 2,600 calories from protein.
And, yes, that includes plant proteins.
If you’re trying to reduce the amount of meat youre eating, you need to swap in a high-protein plant food.
Some plant foods that are high in protein: soybeans , quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, any kind of nut, peas, any kind of bean, and seitan. You can use an app to track your nutrient intake, or you can simply aim for a palm-sized portion of whatever protein youre including in your meal.
Also, be careful with snacking. Youll find some protein products on the market that contain a measly four grams per serving, along with an abundance of added sugars.
Why Protein Is Important For Weight Loss
As well as being good for building strength, protein also plays an important role in losing weight. Evidence suggests that eating protein can both increase the number of calories you burn, by stimulating your metabolic rate, as well as reduce your appetite, meaning you’re less likely to put on pounds in the first place. What’s more, a study by researchers at Maastricht University reported that even a modest increase in protein, from 15% to 18% of calories, reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50%.
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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Is 100 Grams Of Protein Enough To Build Muscle
As stated above, people in general areadvised to consume a minimum of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, but people who prioritize building muscle should aim for more than that minimum. Although theres not one magic number and recommendations vary by person, theAmerican College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for athletes. Following that general guideline, consuming closer to 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be beneficial for bodybuilders and those looking to build muscle or maintain lean body mass. In the average 150-pound adult whos actively strength training or resistance training, that might look like 75-120 grams of protein daily 100 grams being most peoples sweet spot. It has been proposed that muscle protein synthesis is maximized in young adults at a dose of around 2025 grams of a high-quality protein.
You may have concerns that eating too much protein is bad for the kidneys, but 100 grams of protein per day is generally safe for healthy adults. High amounts of protein can be harmful to the kidneys if a person already has kidney issues however, for healthy individuals, consuming around 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram is fine, as noted in a 2010 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle
A lot of people tend to think they need tons of protein to build muscle. But in reality, you need a lot less than you think!
The minimum amount necessary to build muscle and optimize your training is around 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight. This might seem low, but its the perfect amount when you factor in the increased calories from carbohydrates.
As I explained in my Top 25 Tips & Tricks On How To Build Muscle For Life! article, carbohydrates are incredibly good at maintaining muscle mass. On top of that, theyre critical for fueling training and building muscle tissue.
Because you should be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle, the increased carbs and calorie intake contribute more to building muscle than excessive amounts of protein.
The only other thing to consider is that you actually want to consume MORE protein when youre trying to lose body fat! The main reason is that theyre much more satiating than fats and carbs they fill you up more.
Also, because you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose body fat, you have to lower your carbohydrate and fat intake at some point. Your protein shouldnt lower as well, however, because you need it to maintain and even build a little muscle on a cut.
The highest range you should go to is 1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
We Looked At All The Studies And Spoke To Multiple Experts To Land On The Ideal Number
When it comes to building muscle and losing fat, few questions can be as confusing as that of how much protein you should consume. The FDAs suggestions for avoiding a protein deficiency are a lot lower than what the average lean, muscular person will tell you they eat. Whats the minimum and is there a maximum? We talked to multiple experts and look at a ton of research to land on the formulas used in this calculator.
Can You Gain Muscle With A Vegan Diet
Yes, a vegan diet no where means you cannot consume protein, or your diet will lack protein. Just managing what you eat matters the most when we are talking about muscle gain when you are vegan.
If you are vegan, you can consume protein rich foods like seitan, tofu, quinoa, and legumes to increase your muscle mass. You can also opt for vegan protein powders to make protein consumption easier.
Can Whey Protein Increase Muscle Mass
Yes, whey protein is used by people worldwide for the exact purpose of muscle repair and growth.
To further discuss, we understand that whey protein is popularly known for both increased strength and muscle mass. Unlike strength gains, however, a gain of mass is measurable via a person’s weight. As to the composition of the mass gains from protein intake, this is an area that deserves more thought.
A clear distinction exists between a person’s volume and weight. It’s not uncommon for two different people to weigh the same yet look wildly different this phenomenon we attribute to differences in body composition.
When we are interested in answering the question sitting at the top of this article, we are generally speaking towards a person’s shape and volume, not necessarily their weight. When we receive emails around this topic, we typically steer the discussion focal point towards body composition. By honing in body composition, our natural shape is what it is and little to do with the magnitude of our weight.
There is a well-established relationship between muscle mass and protein consumption because muscle tissues stem from protein. As a critical component of strength training, protein intake represents one of the most studied .
Protein in your diet promotes muscle growth and helps to maintain muscle mass. The more muscle mass a person has, the more calories they burn, maintaining healthy muscle function, which allows achieving fat loss .
Protein Preserves Lean Body Mass
In addition, protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.
One study compared the effect of low protein intake to high protein intake on lean body mass over a short term caloric deficit. On average, the low protein group lost about 1.6 kilograms of muscle mass while the high protein group only lost 0.3 kg of muscle mass .
Another similar study compared 0.8 g/kg per day against 1.6 g/kg per day and 2.4 g/kg per day and found that the two higher intakes spared more lean body mass than the 0.8 g/kg per day diet. They also found that there was no real benefit to 2.4 g/kg per day over 1.6 g/kg per day .
Currently, most evidence suggests that ~1.6 grams of protein per kilogram, or .73 grams of protein per pound is a recommended daily target for protein intake to spare lean body mass loss during periods of weight loss.
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Are You Eating Too Much Protein
While we want you to get enough protein in you diet, you can also have too much of a good thing, and if you eat too much protein, you may be doing more harm than good. People that eat very high protein diets have a higher risk of kidney stones, while a high protein diet that contains lots of red meat and higher amounts of saturated fat has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and colon cancer.
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You’re Not Drinking The Right Amount After A Workout
As we’ve been saying, more protein isn’t always better. And that even applies to active people whose caloric and protein needs are higher than their sedentary peers. So those post-workout protein shakes and bars? Take a look at their nutrition labels. Anything over 25 grams, and your body won’t be able to utilize it all. An International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism study showed that 10 grams of essential amino acidswhich equates to 25 grams of a complete proteinis enough to maximally stimulate protein synthesis. In other words: the average person probably doesn’t need to scarf down that 30-gram protein bar. That extra protein will be processed just like any excess calories, and your body could turn it into fat.
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What Protein Is And Why It’s Important
Before we work out how much protein you need, let’s first break down exactly what it is. Put simply, protein is a macronutrient that is built from amino acids, which are stitched together into long chains. Some of these chains your body can make naturally known as non-essential and some of which it cant. These are called essential amino acids and you need to source them from food. When you chow down on a chicken breast your body breaks proteins down into their constituent amino acids, which it then uses to build everything from new muscle to organs and hair.
Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate
Dont be scared off by the fancy word hydrolysate.
It just means that the collagen has been cut by water.
Well, its made from gelatin. Gelatin is made from stuff like skin, joints, etc.
That sounds yucky, but its a great source of protein.
Especially once the water has cut through it since this means that the collagen will dissolve in hot and cold liquids.
Normal gelatin is trickier to dissolve.
Also, the protein in collagen is good for the parts of you similar to what its made from.
But what does skin, joints, etc have to do with increasing muscle mass?
Your body can only synthesize protein at a certain rate.
The more support it has with non-muscle stuff, the better it can focus on growing your muscles!
Plus, this stuff is nearly flavorless.
You can hide it anywhere and supplement your protein intake.
Even a glass of water!
Or, perhaps, one of the other protein powders!
Collagen hydrolysate can turn every cup of soup, bowl of oatmeal, and shot of espresso into a hidden protein shake.
Not everyone can, or should, get their protein from animal sources.
But that doesnt mean that you have to languish without a good protein powder!
Your body can use protein from plants almost as well as it can use protein from animals.
Plus, plant-based protein powders tend to include other nutrients, as well!
The biggest problem with them is that they are often not as smooth-tasting as whey protein.
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If Youre Losing Weight
Protein makes a significant difference. There have been research studies demonstrating some shocking facts about the role of protein in weight loss. Did you know
- Eating 30% of daily calories from protein caused incidental decreases in calorie intake, meaning that people ate less without trying .
- Eating a high-protein diet between 25-30% of daily calories from protein can increase the chance that you will maintain your weight loss progress long-term .
If youre trying to lose weight, aiming to eat around 30% of your daily calories from protein has been linked to significant benefits for weight loss, preserving lean muscle as you lose weight, and keeping the weight off in the long run.
However, the grams of protein will vary based on your calculation for the daily calories you can eat for weight loss. For example, if youre eating 1500 calories per day, you should aim to eat 125 grams of protein each day.
Which Factors Could Affect Your Calculations
You might have higher or lower protein needs for different reasons. Women typically have less lean mass than men and require less protein in general.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have higher protein needs. Also, if youre recovering from any kind of injury, your needs may be higher as your body is in a state of repair.
If youre trying to lose weight and are currently consuming too many calories, you might have to cut back on protein intake as part of an overall lower-calorie diet.
However, keeping your percentage of calories from protein the same will help preserve your lean muscle mass and potentially promote muscle growth based on exercise.
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How To Get The Most Out Of This Weight Gain Smoothie
The best way to add this weigh gainer smoothie into your diet is to add it as your 4th or 5th meal. This way it will help you get a calorie surplus as you will still be having breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The best time to have this is between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner or after a workout.
Its great after a high intensity workout as it has plenty of protein to rebuild muscles, carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and contains electrolytes and sodium.
How To Gain Weight Fast In A Safe Way
Being underweight can be just as frustrating as being overweight. For people who experience difficulty gaining weight, it can be confusing to figure out how to gain weight in a healthy way. If youre wondering how to gain weight fast without harming your body, there are certain foods and exercises that will help you increase your daily calorie count with nutrient-dense foods and build muscle with strength training.
Just like following a weight loss program or diet, to gain weight fast you need to take a balanced approach, focusing on the foods you eat, how often you eat and what exercises you do to put on muscle. Adding calories from processed and refined foods isnt going to help you to gain healthy weight it will only lead to inflammation, low energy levels and other health issues. Instead, sticking to nutrient-dense foods that fuel your body and allow you to gain weight in a healthy manner is key.
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How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle
EMMIE SATRAZEMIS, RD, CSSD August 7, 2020
Muscle is made up of mostly protein, so its no surprise that a high protein diet can help you build more of it. Exactly how much protein per day you need is debatable. Common bodybuilding advice suggests eating one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to support muscle growth, however, the science behind this recommendation varies depending on age, fitness level, and overall body composition goals.
Based on the existing research, heres how much protein you should be eating to build muscle.
How Much Protein Do I Need In A Day
According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. That means that the average sedentary man should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, and the average woman should eat about 46 grams.
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