You’re Trying To Lose Weight
Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, helping you feel full, and also pushes your body to secrete the gut hormone peptide YY, which reduces hunger. “When you bring protein to about 30% of your daily calories, you’ll naturally eat less,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition practice in New York City, and author of The Little Book of Thin. “Protein decreases appetite and also, in my experience, helps you manage cravings.”
While studies are mixed about whether consuming more protein leads to weight loss, research is pretty clear that protein can help you retain more of your lean muscle as you lose fat. One 2011 study suggests amping up protein to as much as 1.8 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day to stave off muscle loss when restricting calories. Cut back on refined carbs to balance out the extra calories from adding protein.
When To Eat Protein
Timing your protein hits is vital to optimise your gains. Your body cant process more than 25 to 35g of protein per serving, so scoffing six steaks at dinner is a waste. Its not about having shedloads all at once, say Reid. And anyway, your most important protein hit is the one after your gym session.
You want that immediate stimulus, says Reid. Within the 30-minute window post-workout youre looking to optimise the repair and regeneration process. Thats when you want rapidly-absorbed whey protein, either by chugging a shake or a pint of milk. Reid also recommends a skinny latte for a pre-gym boost: Youve got the caffeine kick, the protein in the milk and if you try a banana with it, a bit of carbohydrate.Pairing your protein with carbs is good sense. After exercise your body produces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which break down proteins, fats and sugars. When theyre coursing through you, youre not building muscle. When you get some recovery nutrition in it counters those stress hormones, says Reid, switching your body back into repair mode and kickstarting growth.
Why Eating Too Much Protein On Keto Is A Myth
Many keto dieters beginners and experts alike believe that eating too much protein can increase the amount of blood sugar present in the blood through a metabolic pathway called gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis is the creation of new glucose in the body from non-carbohydrate sources such as lactate, pyruvate, and protein.
Its name has the following three components:
Gluco: Meaning glucose.
- Genesis: Meaning origin or creation.
GNG is literally the creation of glucose from anything but carbohydrates.
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Your body uses compounds like lactate, amino acids , and glycerol to create glucose when no carbohydrates are present.
By this very definition, its safe to assume that gluconeogenesis should be avoided at all costs. After all, when glucose is present, it means your body cant produce ketones and use it as the main fuel source.
But some glucose is required for us to live.
In fact, your cells use gluconeogenesis to ensure you dont die when there are no carbohydrates present in your system.
The three main responsibilities of GNG include:
- Preventing hypoglycemia
- Fueling the tissues that cant use ketones
- Replenishing glycogen stores
Do not consume lower amounts of protein to avoid gluconeogenesis. Too little protein is worse for your health than too much.
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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.
How Much Protein Do I Need
To discuss how many grams of protein per day you need, its helpful to break it down into three categories or questions:
In general, if you just want to support overall health and longevity, consuming about 50 percent of your body weight in grams of protein per day is ideal. In this case, if you weigh 160 pounds, then getting about 80 grams daily from healthy protein sources is recommended.
Therefore, if youre eating three meals a day, you want to aim for about 25 grams from high-protein foods in each meal.
Second, lets say youre trying to really burn body fat fast and looking for the right fat-burning foods. This increases your protein requirements.
In fact, many people who hope to lose body fat actually have a protein deficiency, which is why its recommended to consume about 0.7 grams to 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily to burn fat and lose weight. Essentially, youre going to replace some of those extra carbohydrates in your diet with more sources of protein.
In this case, if you weigh 160 pounds, then multiply that figure by 0.75. At this weight, youll want to consume close to 100 to maybe 120 grams total daily. So if you eat four meals a day, aim to consume 25 to 30 grams worth of high-proteins foods.
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When To Take Protein Powder
Pre and post workout protein shakes are both considered effective times for protein supplementation.It is important to note that only a limited amount of protein can be used by the body at a time. For lean muscle growth, and smooth digestion, it is best to eat small, frequent protein rich foods, even beyond your initial post workout meal.
Protein 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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Effects Of Too Much Protein
One common effect of eating more protein than you need is weight gain. Excess protein comes with excess calories, after all. In some people, following a high-protein diet for an extended period of time may increase the risk of diabetes, kidney damage, osteoporosis, heart disease or cancer. People who already have compromised kidney function are especially at risk.
Too Much Vs Too Little
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the recommended daily intake of protein for adults at an average weight and activity level is 56 grams daily for men and 46 grams daily for women. This is the minimum required protein intake, and the amount can increase depending on your goals.
Its ideal to eat smaller amounts of protein throughout the day instead of getting your protein requirement in one or two meals. This allows your body utilize what it needs throughout the day instead of storing what isnt used as fat.
Its true that eating very high levels of protein is correlated with some health risks. If youre not cutting calories from carbohydrates while increasing calorie intake from protein, you may experience weight gain instead of weight loss.
Very high protein intake may also cause digestive issues, including constipation, gut-related issues and changes in blood sugar levels.
Finally, its important to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet that doesnt completely neglect any nutrients. This will ensure that youre getting the micro- and macronutrients you need for optimal health.
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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.
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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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 A Day For An Active Male
Active men need more protein than sedentary men to help maximize athletic performance and improve muscle-to-fat ratio. The amount of protein an active man needs each day is based on his activity level and body weight. The Institute of Medicine recommends that all men, regardless of activity level, consume at least 56 grams of protein every day.
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How To Calculate Protein Intake
Using an online calculator, such as the one provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may help people establish protein requirements.
Alternatively, the following calculation can provide the proper target for protein consumption in either grams or calories.
- First, its important to know how many calories a person is likely to consume per day. An example is 2,300 calories.
- A person should choose the percentage of the diet that will be protein. In this example, it will be 20%.
- Multiply the total calories by the percentage of protein to get the number of calories from protein. 2300 x .20 = 460.
- Divide the calories from protein by 4 to get the total grams of protein. 460 / 4 = 115.
Using this example, a person consuming 2,300 calories per day, aiming for 20% of their calories to come from protein, will need to consume 115 g 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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Tl dr On Protein For Pregnancy
Both you and your baby require protein to ensure healthy growth and muscle mass maintenance. The RDA states a 1.1 g/kg intake a day is sufficient.
But, other studies state those in early pregnancy and late pregnancy should be eating more protein at 1.2 to 1.52 g/kg per day.
Folks exclusively breastfeeding should also up protein around 1.7 to 1.9 g/kg per day.
Percent Of Daily Calories
Current U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines suggest that adults should consume between 10% and 35% of their total calories from protein. To get your number and track your intake, you’ll need to know how many calories you consume daily.
Once you know how many calories you consume, multiply that number by 10% and 35% to get your range. For example, a person who consumes 2,000 calories per day would need to consume 200 to 700 calories daily from protein.
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How Much Protein To Build Muscle Ask An Rd
The main building blocks of your body,protein is used to repair and maintain your body tissues including muscle.
If your goal is to build muscle, then its important that youre getting the right amount of protein, as well as the right amounts of the other macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats.
The general strategy for calculating the minimum amount of protein that you need is 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh. In a 165-pound adult, thats about 60 grams of protein per day.
But thats just the minimum recommended daily allowance .
You might be wondering if the minimum amount of protein recommended is enough to actually build more muscle. Below, well explore just how much protein you should consume per day to build muscle .
Foods High In Protein
There are many different combinations of food that a person can eat to meet their protein intake requirements. For many people, a large portion of protein intake comes from meat and dairy, though it is possible to get enough protein while meeting certain dietary restrictions you might have. Generally, it is easier to meet your RDA of protein by consuming meat and dairy, but an excess of either can have a negative health impact. There are plenty of plant-based protein options, but they generally contain less protein in a given serving. Ideally, a person should consume a mixture of meat, dairy, and plant-based foods in order to meet their RDA and have a balanced diet replete with nutrients.
If possible, consuming a variety of complete proteins is recommended. A complete protein is a protein that contains a good amount of each of the nine essential amino acids required in the human diet. Examples of complete protein foods or meals include:
- Hemp and chia seeds
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Other Circumstances That Can Increase Protein Needs
Regardless of muscle mass and physique goals, those who are physically active need more protein than those who are sedentary.
If your job is physically demanding or you walk a lot, run, swim, or do any sort of exercise, you need to eat more protein.
Endurance athletes also need significant amounts of protein about 0.50.65 grams per pound of body weight (
This can help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, both of which are significant problems among older adults.
People recovering from injuries may likewise need more protein .
People who are physically active, as well as older adults and those recovering from injuries, have significantly increased protein requirements.
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.
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