Optimal Protein Intake Guide
Your optimal daily protein intake depends on your weight, goal, and level of physical activity: from 1.21.8 g/kg if youre sedentary all the way up to 3.3 g/kg if youre trying to minimize fat gain during a bulk. You can quickly and easily calculate your optimal daily intake with our protein intake calculator.
Quickly and easily calculate your optimal daily intake with our protein intake calculator.
Bulk Pure Whey Protein
Per 30g serving: 114kcal, 22g protein, 3.6g carbohydrates, 1.2g fat
Previously known as Bulk Powders, Bulk is one of the most popular nutrition brands in the business, but does its pure whey protein live up to the hype? Oh, yes. Its loaded with protein , essential amino acids and BCAAs to help your body to repair, recover and build muscle after a tough session.
Our testers said it was ideal for an energising post-workout shake or a filling snack to keep you on track between meals. They appreciated the ratio of protein, carbs and fats per serving, and described it as a good all-rounder. The chocolate flavour proved tasty yet subtle, but there are over 20 other flavours to try if this one isnt for you, including iced latte, rocky road and lemon meringue.
Best whey protein powder for high-quality ingredientsFoodspring Whey Protein
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Whey Protein And Vegan Pea Protein Are Life Savers
The most anabolic type of protein is whey protein. Other proteins are effective, but tend to have different amino acid profiles, most notably a decreased amount of leucine, the most anabolic of all amino acids.
If you follow a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and/or are intolerant of whey protein, vegan proteins and BCAA supplements can be beneficial.
We make both types of proteins here at transparent labs, and no, our whey protein and vegan protein are not like the others
Check out our ultra-pure and natural grass fed whey protein isolate and concentrate here. We also have certified organic vegan protein consisting of pea and rice protein with no artificial sweeteners!
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Camp Total Calorie Consumption
Camp Total Calorie Consumption focuses on protein as one of the parts of an overall balanced diet. The thinking here is that carbs and fats are just as important as protein and cant simply be substituted altogether.
With bulking and shredding, for example, protein tends to take centre stage, whereas you actually need quite a lot of carbohydrates for sustained muscle growth too. Carbs are the main energy source of the human diet and play an important role in muscle growth and restoration. Fats also give your body energy, in addition to playing an important role in cell growth and protecting the organs. A specific group of fats known as essential fatty acids are particularly important as they help regulate blood pressure, the immune response and liver functioning. You therefore need to ensure you include all three in your diet, and thats why you might want to set your protein goals based on your total calorie intake.
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 . 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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How To Calculate Protein Intake For Muscle Growth
To calculate the amount of protein you need to maximize muscle growth, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 0.7. If you prefer metric, multiply your bodyweight in kilograms by 1.6.
|230 lb||167 grams|
It is worth pointing out that the researchers dont rule out the possibility that a higher protein intake may be beneficial.
Given that the confidence interval of this estimate spanned from 1.03 to 2.20, it may be prudent to recommend approximately 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day for those seeking to maximise resistance training-induced gains in fat-free mass.
In other words, they think that the muscle-building benefits of protein plateau at around 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.
But, they acknowledge that there may be a small benefit to eating more around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day, or 2.2 grams per kilogram.
What To Look For In Your Vegan Protein Powder
First things first to get more protein into your vegetarian or vegan diet, you have to go beyond vegan protein shakes. If you look hard enough, your local supermarket will be loaded with vegan-friendly meals and snacks like tofu, tempeh and seitan that will build muscle without any ethical qualms.
However, it’s equally important to know what’s going into your vegan protein powder. Below, explore three of the most important ingredients to look out for, before you invest.
Pea Protein: We’re not talking Green Giant here. Instead, pea protein powder is made from field peas which are nearly four times higher in protein than sweet peas helping pea protein powders pack up to 80% protein content. Handily, pea protein is allergen-free too, meaning it’s suitable for vegans and those with food allergies, alongside being free from dairy, egg and soy.
Soy Protein: This vegan protein has been used for decades and comes from defatted soy flour. After processing, it can contain up to 90% protein content and has a neutral flavour, meaning that it’s suitable when mixed into smoothies, shakes and other protein recipes.
Hemp Protein: Suitable for those trying to follow a diet plan rich in whole foods, hemp protein contains 20 amino acids and provides healthy omega fatty acids and fibre. Hemp protein has also been found to improve heart health, cull sugar cravings and bolster your immune system.
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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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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.
Optimal daily protein intake for lactating women
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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.
How Much Protein Should You Have Each Day
As mentioned, the exact amount of daily protein you need differs from person to person.
From a baseline perspective, the recommended daily protein is 46 grams for women and 56 g for men . This is an adequate amount but may not suffice for certain folks looking to lose weight or build or maintain muscle.
For instance, recent studies suggest that consuming 0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight is the ideal amount for those looking to increase muscle mass or lose weight. By this calculation, a person weighing 200 lbs would need 140 g of daily protein.
You’ll need to combine a strength training routine with the addition of more protein to build muscle. This can include weight lifting, HIIT exercises, or resistance training. Additionally, the combination of a protein-rich diet with a strength routine can help people lose fat while building muscle .
If you’re only looking to lose weight, protein-rich diets can help with that, too since eating higher amounts of protein helps preserve muscle mass and manage your appetite so long as you’re not consuming more calories than you burn each day.
This means being conscientious about your meals and where your protein comes from. Healthy protein sources that may aid in weight loss include eggs, salmon, black beans, low-fat dairy products, and nuts.
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Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Per 31g serving: 116kcal, 24g protein, 1.3g carbohydrates, 1.4g fat
Optimum Nutrition is known for its supplements, and for good reason. This whey protein powder packs a mega 24g protein, essential amino acids and 5.5g of BCAAs to enhance performance and boost muscle growth.
Flavour-wise, it’s smooth and chocolatey, without tasting artificial or sickly. It also earns a big tick for convenience our testers raved about how easy it was to prepare, measure out and mix. Overall, a strong choice.
Who Should Not Take Astragalus
People who are pregnant or chestfeeding should not take astragalus, as suggest it may be toxic to the parent or child.
As astragalus affects the immune system, it may also be unsuitable for people with autoimmune conditions.
It is a good idea for a person to consult their doctor for further advice before taking astragalus.
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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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How To Compensate For The Lower Quality Of Plant Proteins
When the scarcity of a given EAA in a given protein bottlenecks protein synthesis, this EAA is called a limiting amino acid for this protein. Cereal grains, such as wheat and rice, are low in lysine, as are most nuts and seeds. Beans and legumes, on the other hand, are poor in sulfurous amino acids, such as methionine and cysteine.
Conversely, as this table shows, pea and soy have a lot of lysine, and rice a lot of methionine and cysteine and as shows, corn has a lot of leucine. The solution to the LAA problem is therefore obvious: we can combine different plant proteins to make up for their respective deficits. Historic examples of such combinations include beans with corn in the Americas and rice with soybean in Asia. These grain-legume combos work because legumes supply the lysine missing in grains whereas grains supply the methionine and cysteine missing in legumes.
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Protein For Muscle Gain
Many studies have made clear the potential muscle-building benefits achieved by consuming more protein. For example, one 2018 study found that an increased intake of protein leads to greater muscle mass gains when coupled with resistance training exercises. Other studies have also linked higher protein consumption with an improvement in muscle mass preservation.
Increasing your protein intake can be an effective way to help you gain more muscle mass – but only if you also have a muscle-building fitness routine and eat a balanced diet.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Based Protein Powder
Per 36g serving: 144kcal, 24g protein, 5.2g carbohydrates, 2.2g fat
Why: It’s 100% plant vegan and gluten free. Providing 19 servings, each scoop will feed you with vitamin B12s, essential amino acids, natural occurring BCAAs and glutamine. And don’t worry about artificial colouring, flavours and sweeteners, either it’s free from all. Care about where your nutrients come from? This is the product for you.
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How Much Protein Should I Eat At Once
That said, the amino acids most closely linked to muscle protein synthesis , a process that switches on genes responsible for muscle gain are the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine has far and away the most research linking it to MPS.
Now, MPS is just one piece of the muscle gain puzzle: total daily calories is hugely important, as is total protein intake, ones exercise regimen, sleep, and many other factors. While these are far more important than worrying about leucine some research has found people to gain and lose the same amount of muscle and fat whether theyre eating every day or every other day, so long as their calories are in check it seems that about three grams of leucine per serving is ideal for keeping MPS maintained.
Youll get that in about 20 to 30 grams of protein from most protein dense sources, including many vegan ones like legumes and grains.
So if youre eating 150 grams of protein a day, this might sound like you should eat 5 meals with 30 grams of protein each, so a meal every three hours. Theres nothing wrong with this approach, but its worth remembering that some research has found MPS to be about the same after six hours whether you ate two small meals with 30 grams apiece or if you ate a big meal with 60 grams of protein and then nothing else for six hours.
When Should I Take Protein Powder
The post-workout shake is a great ritual of the fit life, but if you’re just trying to make sure you’re getting all you need each day, there is no specific time to take it. Many people start the day with a shake, or even mix a scoop into their cereal or yogurt. But dietary protein is healthy no matter if you have it at breakfast or dinnerâor in between.
However, there is also a case for taking protein before working out, particularly if you’re on a low-calorie or low-carb diet.
“Taking it alone before a workout is extremely beneficial during a low-carb diet,” explains nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, Ph.D., in the article “Should I Drink Protein Before or After a Workout?” Taken at this time, he says, the supplement “leads to an increase in fat oxidation during high-intensity exercise like interval training or metabolic resistance training.”
If you’re living the low-carb life, there are even low-carb protein powders specifically made to match up with your dietary preferences.
Don’t like having that shake sloshing in your stomach during training? Roussell recommends taking isolated BCAAs instead.
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