Percentage Of Total Calories
Another way to calculate how much protein you need is by using daily calorie intake and the percentage of calories that will come from protein.
First, determine how many calories your body needs each day to maintain your current weight:
- Find out what your basal metabolic rate is by using a BMR calculator .
- Determine how many calories you burn through daily activity and add that number to your BMR.
Next, decide what percentage of your diet will come from protein. The percentage you choose will be based on your goals, fitness level, age, body type, and metabolic rate. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-202 recommend that protein account for somewhere between 10% and 35% for adults.
Multiply that percentage by the total number of calories your body needs for the day to determine total daily calories from protein.
Finally, divide that number by 4.
Protein Is Hard To Store As Body Fat
During periods of weight loss, there are often times where more energy is consumed than expended. As such, minimizing how much of that excess energy is stored as fat is important.
The body processes the three different macronutrients in very different ways.
Leaving out a lot of jargon and mumbo jumbo, in order for protein to be stored as fat, it goes through a much different biochemical process than either carbohydrates or protein.
This process makes it much harder for protein to store as body fat.
One study found that protein is stored as body fat with roughly 66% efficiency, while carbohydrates store with 80% efficiency and fats store at 96% efficiency .
During weight loss, overeating protein results in much less stored body fat than overeating on carbohydrates or fat. If you are looking for ways to lose weight fast, consuming protein is a great option!
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.
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Protein Calculator: How Much Protein Do I Need
Determining how much protein to eat per day is important for any lifter, athlete, or person, period! Here’s the number to aim for to build muscle, lose weight, and support your exercise goals.
The amount of protein you need depends on a number of factors, including your weight, age, goals, and activity level. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight for a sedentary person. However, if you do intense workouts, have a physically demanding job, or both, experts say you may need moreâperhaps as much as double.
This calculator will tell you how much protein to eat each day based on your specific body and lifestyle. Dial in this nutritional priority to take control of your nutrition and nail your goals!
Can Protein Help You Build Muscle
High quality protein combined with exercise can help build muscle. Eating within 3060 minutes of finishing exercise may be the most beneficial for building muscle. During this time, skeletal muscles make better use of nutrients in food than they do 3 hours after exercising.
The current recommended daily allowance for protein is set at a level that prevents muscle loss and provides the minimum required amino acids. Individuals seeking to gain muscle should be eating more than the RDA.
Active individuals may eat up to 2 g per kilogram body weight of protein per day. The most active individuals may go as high as 3.5 g per kg body weight. Eating high protein levels for long periods may cause digestive, renal, and vascular problems.
10-35% of total daily caloric intake. But since pregnant people need extra calories during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the amount of protein they need to eat will be higher.
For teens under 18 who are pregnant, the RDA is 10-30% of total daily caloric intake from high quality protein sources.
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Can Protein Help You Lose Weight
Including protein as part of a balanced diet has been proven to assist with weight loss.
Of the three macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. Studies have shown that it provides a feeling of fullness for
meta-analyses of studies showed increased weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass following high protein, calorie-restriction diets versus low protein, calorie restriction diets. Participants in these studies also had lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and reduced waist circumference overall when on the high protein diet.
If You Work Out A Lot:
When you’re hitting the gym four or five days a week, you need somewhere between 0.5 and 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Again, if you weigh 150 pounds, that’s somewhere between 75 and 135 grams of protein per day. According to Health.com, this amount is best for rebuilding muscle tissue after high-intensity workouts.
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Easy Ways To Increase Your Protein Intake
Getting enough protein is important for your health.
For this reason, the Daily Value for protein is 50 grams per day.
However, some researchers believe that many people should be eating significantly more than this amount .
A high protein intake offers several potential health benefits and could help increase weight loss, enhance muscle growth, and improve your overall health.
Here are 14 easy ways to eat more protein.
Daily Protein Intake For Bodybuilders And Lifters
A systematic review on protein and exercise from the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that an overall daily protein intake in the range of 1.42.0 g/kg/d is sufficient for most exercising individuals looking to build muscle mass and strength, and improve their body composition.3
The previously mentioned meta-analysis of 49 training studies found that increasing the protein intake from 1.4 to 1.8 g/kg/d led to 27% greater muscle growth and 9% greater strength gains over the course of 23 months. These gains were even greater in those of the participants who already had strength trained for several years. Another finding of this analysis was that the level of protein intake where additional protein didnt result in additional significant gains was on average 1.6 g/kg/d. Once again: thats on average. The level of protein intake that was found to be sufficient for 97.5% of all the 1 863 participants in the analysis was 2.2 g/kg/d.
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Protein Requirements For Older Adults Ages 65+
Age becomes more important to protein intake as you hit 65+. Once you reach your 60s, you might want to begin upping the amount of protein you consume per day in an effort to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health and other essential physiological functions.
In 2013, an international group of physicians and nutrition experts recommended that healthy older adults should consume 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, which is a 25-50 percent increase over the RDA. This formula translates to 69 to 81 grams for a 150-pound woman, and 81 to 98 grams for a 180-pound man.
This team of experts found an increase in protein to be necessary because older bodies process protein less efficiently, so even healthy adults in their 60s need more protein than when they were younger to help preserve muscle mass. By the time people reach age 65, they become at greater risk of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients for muscle health, but compared to younger people, older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake. Fortunately,
How About If I Want To Eat More
Contrary to commonly voiced concern, high-protein diets are not detrimental to your health.
A 2016 study led by Dr. José Antoniomade 14 healthy resistance-trained men maintain a very high protein intake of 1.1-1.5 grams per lb. of body weight for 12 months. No negative health effects were found.
Plenty of otherstudies, including literature reviews, have also shown that a relatively high-protein intake does not harm overall healthy individuals. So, unless someone has pre-existing health issues, theres no need to fear a high-protein intake if its part of an overall nutritious diet.
Therefore, eating more than the recommended daily protein intake for optimal muscle growth is not necessarily a bad thing if it helps you stay more consistent with your diet.
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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.
Guidelines For Special Populations
Many sources that suggest protein guidelines provide numbers for adult men and women. But there are certain populations that may need more or less protein to manage a medical condition or facilitate growth.
- Pregnant and lactating people need more protein than people who are not pregnant .
- Older adults may need more protein than middle-aged adults .
- People with liver or kidney disease need to decrease protein intake .
Consult a doctor or dietitian to determine your ideal daily protein goal.
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Have A Protein Shake For Breakfast
Many smoothies contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, or juice, but very little protein.
However, a shake or smoothie can be a great breakfast option, especially if you choose nutritious ingredients.
Whey protein powder has been studied the most and seems to have an edge over the others when it comes to helping you feel full (
Heres a basic whey shake recipe:
Whey Protein Shake
- 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of whey powder
- 1 cup of fresh berries
- stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired
- 1/2 cup of crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Having a protein shake for breakfast helps you start the day off right. Whey may be the best type to use.
Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Athletes
If youre physically active regularly, you need more protein daily than if you were sedentary. The American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1.22.0 g/kg to optimize recovery from training and to promote the growth and maintenance of lean mass when caloric intake is sufficient. This recommendation is similar to that of the International Society of Sports Nutrition : 1.42.0 g/kg.
Importantly, it may be better to aim for the higher end of the above ranges. According to the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength, the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg. Those of you interested in a comprehensive breakdown of this study will find one in NERD #34 .
However, only 4 of the 49 included studies were conducted in people with resistance training experience . IAAO studies in athletes found different numbers: on training days, female athletes required 1.41.7 g/kg the day following a regular training session, male endurance athletes required 2.12.7 g/kg two days after their last resistance-training session, amateur male bodybuilders required 1.72.2 g/kg.
Since higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, one may want to err toward the higher amounts. For most athletes , the ISSN range will work well:
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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.
How Much Protein You Need
People do have different protein requirements depending on their age, their size, their levels of activity and health. However, those requirements are not as high and don’t vary as much, as some of the popular hype around protein might lead one to believe.
Current dietary guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that adult women consume 46 grams of protein per day or 10%30% of your total calories. For adult men, 56 grams of protein is recommended or 10%30% of your total calories.
The USDA offers the following guidelines as to what serving sizes equal an ounce of protein: In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.
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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.
High Protein Intake For Fat Loss
If you noticed Dr. Nelsons comment about being hypocaloric , you may be wondering if theres evidence that protein needs might change based on if youre trying to lose fat or gain muscle.
To be clear: the majority of research and the most prominent sports nutrition bodies agree that theres probably no need to exceed the daily 0.7 grams per pound, even if youre trying to lose weight.
That said, there are a couple of studies that have suggested more protein might be useful if you have a good amount of muscle mass and are trying to lose fat quickly. One, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, , found that athletes in a big calorie deficit maintained more muscle and lost more fat eating 1.1 grams of protein per pound than a group taking 0.54 grams, the absolute minimum recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Another study published in 2014 that looked specifically at bodybuilders found that they would respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein. This is among folks with under 10 percent body fat, so they were eating an upper level of about 1.3 grams per pound of bodyweight.
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