How Much Protein Should You Be Using to See Results?
There are three macronutrients that get all of the attention whenever it comes to dietary recommendations and trendy diet plans: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Each one is especially important for a well-balanced diet but what about if you have a specific goal set in mind such as muscle building or fat loss? How does that change how you consume your macros? More specifically, how does that change the amount of dietary protein that you eat? Let’s take a look at two of the most popular fitness goals and how much protein you should be consuming to see the best results.
Gaining Muscle Mass
Once consumed, protein breaks down into the building blocks of muscle tissue called amino acids. These compounds play a vital role in muscle recovery, maintenance, and supporting the growth of new muscle tissue. When your goal is to increase the size and mass of your muscle, protein is going to demand a higher place on your dietary list.
The standard rule that many bodybuilders and professional lifters go by is one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example:
- You weigh 172 pounds.
- You should be ingesting 172 grams of protein each day.
Again, this is the general recommendation but it will depend on your personal training style. Hardcore bodybuilders, who are inside a weight room for hours each day, may be consuming up to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Assess your training schedule and use between 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Aside from being an important source of nutrients to support recovery and build muscle, protein is also an excellent way to support your fat loss goals. When you eat a protein-rich meal, you will find that you stay fuller longer, thereby avoiding any hunger pangs or temptations of junk food. In fact, studies cite protein as playing a key role in weight loss and weight management. So how much should you be consuming each day to support fat loss?
The daily recommended allowance for protein is 55 to 60 grams for men and 45 to 50 grams for women. Clearly, this will not be enough to be considered a high protein diet. While individual needs may vary, you have two options:
- Try to get in around 0.80 grams per pound of bodyweight
- Or if you’d rather not have to calculate the numbers, make protein the focus of each and every meal – For example: eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch, fish for dinner.
Best Sources of Protein
Getting in that much protein may seem like a tough thing to do but knowing where to find the best source of protein makes it easier.
- Wild salmon
- Grass-fed beef
- Greek yogurt
- Whey /Plant-blend protein powder (supplement in conjunction with whole foods)
Tell Us What You Think!
Do you follow a high protein diet?
What results have you noticed?
Let us know in the comments below!
Douglas Paddon-Jones, Eric Westman, Richard D Mattes, Robert R Wolfe, Arne Astrup, and Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2008. Vol. 87, No. 5 1558S-1561S.