Why Do We Need Protein
Proteins are present all throughout the cells in our bodies and are necessary not only for growth and development, but also for our bodys daily tasks. Our body depends on protein for many tasks, like adequate flow of blood and oxygen through the body, creating enzymes that digest and help absorb our foods, and for regulating our hormone levels.
When we exercise and push our muscles to the limit, we cause tiny microtears in the muscle tissue. To repair and grow, our muscles require protein from our diet. Similarly, protein is a key requirement for healing after an injury or surgery.
How Much Protein Per Day To Lose Weight
If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight . Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram if aiming for weight loss.
My practical recommendation to people is that if you carry a BMI of over 30 or a body fat percentage above 25-30% it makes more sense to base your protein recommendations off of your goal weight.
For the correct amount of protein to gain muscle, check this resource out.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Every Day
Getting the right amount of protein neednt be complicated or stressful. Most of the time, youll end up within your target range by simply eating an amount that is satisfying and paying attention to when you begin to feel full.
Here are the amounts of food you need to eat to get 20-25 grams of protein:
- 100 grams of meat, poultry or fish
- 4 large eggs
- 240 grams of plain Greek yogurt
- 210 grams of cottage cheese
- 100 grams of hard cheese
- 100 grams of almonds, peanuts, or pumpkin seeds
Other nuts, seeds, and vegetables provide a small amount of protein, roughly 2-6 grams per average serving. You can see a more detailed list in our guide on the top 10 high-protein foods.
The image above shows 20 grams of protein in four different ways. Almonds, salmon, eggs and chicken thighs.
Below youll find examples of three different levels of daily protein intake using the same foods:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Protein Deficiency
Few nutrients are as important as protein.
Protein is the building block of your muscles, skin, enzymes and hormones, and it plays an essential role in all body tissues.
Most foods contain some protein. As a result, true protein deficiency is rare in developed countries. However, some people may still be at risk.
Deficiency leads to various health problems, while low protein intake may also be a concern, as it can cause subtle changes in your body over time.
This article lists 8 symptoms of low protein intake or deficiency.
Bringing It All Together
With that in mind, we urge the mesomorphs out there to take action now! There will never be a better time than this moment, so start by assessing your body type , then calculate your energy/nutrient needs, prep your food for the week, and mentally zone in on what your workouts will entail throughout the week.
If at any point you feel like youre not making progress, take a step back, assess your long-term goals, and dont be afraid to try some new methods and techniques. Whatever you do, dont throw in the towel! We encourage you to reach out to us if something is unclear or if you could use some further guidance.
Elliot Reimers, M.S., CISSN, CNC
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How Many Protein Shakes A Day Is Healthy
Protein is one of the three macronutrients that we require daily for energy and to feel on top form every day. But how many protein shakes a day can you have, and how much protein is too much? This article breaks down the way to optimise your protein intake to help you meet your bodys needs and your training goals.
There are many reasons why you might choose to drink protein shakes building muscle, losing weight, gaining weight, or recovering from an injury or illness. Protein shakes can be helpful for all of these reasons, based on what you include in them and how often you have them.
Before you take a scoop and start shaking, youll want to know how many protein shakes are best for you, you need to think about your goals for muscle growth and repair and how they fit into your daily schedule.
Studies On The Optimal Protein Intake
All values in the bullet point list below are expressed as grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. All of these studies controlled for energy intake, either based on individual requirements or by setting energy intake to be equal in all experimental conditions, so that only the proportion of protein in the diet varied between groups. If the studies were based on unreliable methods such as nitrogen balance, a marker of lean body mass changes, I only included them if they controlled for sweating and dietary adaptation periods.
Over 20 other studies have consistently failed to find any benefits of more than 1.6g/kg/d of protein. See e.g. here and here. The Bayesian Research team has also performed its own scientific study in collaboration with the University of Cambridge to research if higher protein intakes benefit recovery in the days after a hard workout. It didnt.
To check if maybe there still isnt a slight benefit of going higher in protein that all these studies couldnt find, I co-authored a meta-analysis with some of the worlds leading fitness researchers. We again found a cut-off point at exactly 1.6g/kg/d beyond which no further benefits for muscle growth or strength development are seen: see the results below.
Our meta-analysis found that the benefits of protein topped off at 1.6g/kg/d of total bodyweight for increases in fat-free mass .
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Replace Cereal With Eggs
Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels, and cereals.
Although oatmeal contains more protein than most cereals, it still only provides about 5 grams in a typical 1-cup serving .
On the other hand, 3 large eggs provide 19 grams of high quality protein, along with important nutrients like selenium and choline .
Whats more, several studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast reduces appetite and keeps you full for several hours, so you end up eating fewer calories later in the day .
According to one older study, eating whole eggs can also modify the size and shape of your LDL cholesterol particles in a way that may even decrease your heart disease risk .
Replacing cereal with eggs boosts protein consumption, makes you feel more full, and helps you eat fewer calories.
Mesomorph Training Routine For Developing Strength And Building Muscle
The routine in this program is a great way to develop strength and pack on quality size. You can also use this program while you work to cut body fat by simply adding in some additional cardiovascular exercise as necessary. If youre moving at a good pace, you should be able to complete each workout in about one hour or less.
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Stunted Growth In Children
Protein not only helps maintain muscle and bone mass, but its also essential for body growth.
Thus, deficiency or insufficiency is especially harmful to children whose growing bodies require a steady supply.
In fact, stunting is the most common sign of childhood malnutrition. In 2013, an estimated 161 million children suffered from stunted growth (
Even marginally low protein intake may impair immune function. One small study in older women showed following a low-protein diet for nine weeks significantly reduced their immune response .
Summary: Eating too little protein may impair your bodys ability to fight infections, such as the common cold.
Mesomorph Diet & Workout Guide
If you are predominantly the mesomorph somatotype, this guide will walk you through everything you need for building muscle, developing strength, and getting lean.
Instead of providing a generic template diet plan for all mesomorphs, this guide will teach you how to calculate your own custom-tailored energy and macronutrient needs based on your lifestyle and specific goals.
Even better, the workout program in this guide is efficient and effective, helping you pack on muscle and increase strength while only requiring four weight training sessions per week.
We realize many people dont have much free time these days, so this guide will help you maximize your hours in the gym and in the kitchen.
Its all about consistency over time, each workout and each meal will pay off and you will never look back.
|Ready to transform your physique and become a better you? Good, lets get to work!|
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The Amino Acid Profile Varies Between Plant And Animal Proteins
When eaten, protein is broken down into amino acids.
Proteins and amino acids are used for almost every metabolic process in the body.
However, different proteins can vary greatly in the types of amino acids they contain.
While animal proteins tend to contain a good balance of all the amino acids that we need, some plant proteins are low in certain amino acids.
For example, some key plant proteins are often low in methionine, tryptophan, lycine and isoleucine.
All proteins are made up of amino acids, although the amount and type of each amino acid varies based on the protein source.
How Much Protein Do I Need A Day What If I Am Trying To Build Muscle Mass
“The Dietary Reference Intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound,” says Mancella. “Depending on one’s goals and current lean body mass whilst trying to build more lean body mass, protein needs vary. Typically, 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is sufficient in combination with a balanced diet.”
Keep in mind the DRI is indicative of the minimum amount of protein you should aim to get in a day. So, a 140-pound person who is active would need a minimum of about 50 grams of protein per day per this suggestion. If that same person was trying to build muscle mass, their intake would hover around 95 grams of protein per day based on Mancella’s suggestion.
Aside from building muscle mass and promoting fat loss, Calder says that older individuals may benefit from higher protein intake if they are enduring illness or injury to speed up recovery. High physical activity levels could also require higher protein intake. Ultimately, the amount of protein you need each day varies from person to person and depends on several factors.
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How To Get Enough Protein
Youve used our table or calculator to determine how much protein you need in a day, but the numbers dont look right. Lets say youre 125 pounds, of healthy weight, physically active, and trying to get even leaner. You discover that your optimal intake starts at 102 grams of protein. Isnt that too much for someone so light?
So it may seem at first blush. But lets take a step back. Lets say youre 125 pounds, of healthy weight, sedentary, and just trying to keep the same body composition. Your optimal intake starts at 68 grams of protein so 272 kcal . Not so daunting, now, is it?
Next, you decide to add physical exercise, in order to get even leaner. If you are 125 pounds and run at 7.5 mph for just ½ hour, you burn 375 kcal, compared to 41 for computer work. In other words, you burn 334 kcal more than when sitting and typing just about the least physically demanding activity.
If you took those added kilocalories solely as protein, that would make 84 grams of protein. Add 84 grams to your optimal protein intake when you dont exercise, and you get 152 grams of protein way more than your 102 grams starting target.
We can also calculate from the other direction. Youre 125 pounds and of healthy weight, going from sedentary to active in order to get even leaner: how will your protein intake change?
Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Healthy Sedentary Adults
For adults, the US Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg. However, a more appropriate statistical analysis of the data used to establish the RDA suggests this number should be higher: 1.0 g/kg.
Note that, contrary to popular belief, the RDA doesnt represent an ideal intake. Instead, it represents the minimum intake needed to prevent malnutrition. Unfortunately, the RDA for protein was determined from nitrogen balance studies, which require that people eat experimental diets for weeks before measurements are taken. This provides ample time for the body to adapt to low protein intakes by down-regulating processes that are not necessary for survival but are necessary for optimal health, such as protein turnover and immune function.
An alternative method for determining protein requirements, called the Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation technique, overcomes many of the shortcomings of nitrogen balance studies. Notably, it allows for the assessment of protein requirements within 24 hours, thereby not leaving the body enough time to adapt. Studies using the IAAO method have suggested that about 1.2 g/kg is a more appropriate RDA for healthy young men, older men, and older women.
Further evidence that the current RDA for protein is not sufficient comes from a randomized controlled trial that confined healthy, sedentary adults to a metabolic ward for eight weeks. The participants were randomized into three groups:
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What Is The Thermogenic Effect Of Protein
It takes energy to digest your food – commonly referred to as the thermic effect of food . And as it turns out, each macro requires a different amount of energy to digest.
Protein is thought to be the most thermogenic of all the macros – causing a small spike in metabolism to digest protein foods compared to fat and carbs . And it is commonly believed that eating more protein overall may lead to tiny increases in your daily metabolism and overall energy expenditure.
TEF only accounts for 10% of your total energy expenditure, but because dieting is associated with decreases in metabolism over time – due to prolonged caloric restriction and decreases in mass, this minor effect on metabolism may be worth considering .
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.
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Does Protein Reduce Hunger
Hunger is an inevitable side effect of cutting calories, but the type of foods you are choosing might help curb your appetite more than others. Protein is thought to have some well-documented satiating effects, particularly while on a diet .
In one study, consuming 30% of calories from protein caused participants to eat almost 450 calories less per day – leading to twelve pounds of weight loss in 3 months . Some research has even suggested 25% of your calories coming from protein can help curb cravings .
It is no wonder popular high protein diets recommend roughly 30% to 40% of calories come from protein, which would equal out to 150 to 200 grams of protein per day on a 2,000 calorie diet .
How Much Protein Can You Have A Day Protein Recommendations Based On Weight Sex And Age
The amount of protein you need each day depends on a number of factors the most significant being your body weight, sex and age.
If you exercise often or are working toward a specific fitness goal, such as building muscle or weight loss, protein should make up around 20-25% of your daily energy intake. The general rule for calculating the minimum amount of protein that you need is 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh, or 0.8 grams per kilogram that you weigh.
The range is 0.8-1 grams per kilogram for healthy adults, and 1-1.2 grams per kilogram for an elderly person. For example: An active young woman who weighs around 150 pounds would need a minimum of 54 grams of protein per day following that guideline.
Sex is also a factor in determining how much protein a person should consume per day. Generally speaking, young men need slightly more protein per day than most young women especially when trying to build muscle. All men, regardless of activity level, should consume at least 56 grams of protein every day however, a 160-pound man working to increase his lean body mass would actually want to consume closer to 100+ grams of protein every day.
But these are just the minimum requirements based on weight, sex and age. What about the maximum protein dosages? Whats the maximum amount of protein the body can absorb?
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