How Much Protein Should I Eat | Weight Loss Secrets

Daily Amount of Protein

How many grams of protein should a person consume in a day? A lot of people these days are eating a low carbohydrate diet and are increasing their protein intake so that their muscles continue to have the proper amount of nutrition to grow and build. When the body burns all the local carbs throughout the body it will turn to muscle protein for its energy. If a person only consumes an equal or lower amount of protein while on a low carb diet, then the body will not have enough protein to grow properly. Approximately 16% of the body’s weight is made up of protein. The body is constantly using protein and this used protein needs to be consistently replenished. Protein is known for increasing endurance and energy. More active people require much more protein than someone who sits at a desk all day.

How to Calculate How Much Protein You Should Consume Each Day

The weight and age of a person determines the amount of protein needed. A person who weighs 250 lbs is going to need more grams of protein per day then a person who weighs 120 lbs. A person who weighs 200 lbs and is very active trying to build muscle should take in approximately 160-200 grams of
protein per day. Generally, each person looking to lose weight and gain muscle should take in between 1.6 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. There is .453 pounds per kilogram which is about half. Let’s take our 200 pound guy for example. We first need to convert his body weight into kilograms. If we make things simple and round .453 up to half then we are looking at 100 kilograms. Now we have 1.6 – 2 grams per kilogram which would mean we take 100 times 1.6 and then by 2 and we will have our totals 160-200 grams per day.

Each individual should figure out how many grams of protein they should eat for their body type in a day and then divide that total into their 5 meals per day to spread out the absorption of the protein throughout the day. So the person weighing 200 lbs would eat about 50 grams of protein in each of their 5 meals. A greater amount of protein is needed for people who are more physically active. For instance, individuals who are involved in resistance training increase their need for protein because protein develops muscles. The two greatest sources of protein are made from animals and vegetables. The amino acids that the body needs are found in these food items. Many people ask if a vegetarian diet provides the proper amount of protein that the body needs. There are many vegans that take a protein supplement to supply any missing protein, but those that eat a high level of nuts, legumes, seeds, soy, and grains take in plenty of protein. Be sure to watch the fat type and content of protein sources if trying to lose weight.

Best Protein Sources

  • Lean Meats (Turkey, lean beef, lean veal, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb) – baked, roasted, or broiled – 25-30g of protein in 3.5oz
  • Salmon and Fish – baked or steamed
  • Beans – 15-18g of protein per cup
  • Seeds –roasted – pumpkin, squash, watermelon, sunflower, sesame, flax – 2-3g of protein per Tablespoon
  • Nuts – almonds, pine nuts, pecans – 2-3g of protein per Tablespoon
  • Seafood – Crab and Lobster – steamed, boiled, baked, broiled
  • Lentils
  • Skim Milk and whey powder – 8g of protein in 8 oz
  • Eggs – 6g of protein each
  • Fruit – 1g of protein per fruit
  • Vegetables – 2-3g of protein per ½ cup

Not All Protein is Considered Equal

Foods that are chemically preserved, high in fat and high in salt (lunch meats and hotdogs) are not good sources of protein. It is vitally important to read labels to make sure that healthy proteins are chosen. It is important to stay away from processed foods.

Serving sizes of protein are very important and hard to measure when out to eat or at a family gathering. It is important to weigh proteins as well as other types of food while at home to become familiar with the amount of protein that is a serving so that when you’re not at home you have that visual for an estimate. A proper serving size of grilled chicken is not going to be the 2 huge chicken breasts served at a restaurant. A chicken breast approximately the size of your fist is plenty.

High Protein Low Carb Diets Are The Way To Go

Protein is important for every cell in the human body. Everything from hair, skin, bones, brain and even human emotions are dependent upon protein. A lot of women buy protein to put on their nails or in their hair for growth. The body needs the right amount of protein and the healthiest protein. One thing to remember is that your protein intake should be 60% from natural foods. Some people consume many types of supplements to inflate their protein intake but for best results the 60% of natural foods must be used. Natural foods are what your body knows best and is the purest type of protein the body can absorb the most efficiently. Eggs are the best type of protein for the body and then come a number of lean meats. So eat up and spread your protein intake throughout the day and stay lean.

Calculate Your Recommended Protein Intake

protein Intake Calculator

Age Sex Male Female Height Feet Meters Weight Pounds Kilograms Goal FatLoss Maintenance Muscle Gainz Activity Level Lightly active (moderate exercise but sedentary job) Moderately active (intense exercise but sedentary job) Very active (moderate exercise and active job) Extra active (intense exercise and active job) Calculate

Protein is essential for life. It provides the building blocks for your body’s tissues, organs, hormones, and enzymes. This macronutrient is crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass. It also increases satiety, which is why it’s so important to get enough protein when you’re limiting your calories to meet a fat-loss goal.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound for a sedentary person. However, if you do intense workouts or have a physically demanding job, you’ll need more. While the average healthy diet provides enough protein for most people, it may benefit you to bump up your intake if you exercise to build muscle or lose fat, either from dietary protein or supplements.

If your goal is to lose weight, increasing the protein in your diet can help you lose more fat and preserve more lean mass, which explains the popularity of low-carb, high-protein diets. But it’s also important to save room in your diet for other crucial nutrients. Make sure you’re eating enough fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to keep your body energized and operating at peak performance.

The protein calculator on this page takes your body-composition goals and activity level into account to estimate your protein needs. Everyone is different, though, so experiment to find the right level of protein for your body. Start with the number given by the calculator, see how that makes you feel, and try adjusting your protein level up or down to see what amount makes you feel good and perform well.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SOURCES OF PROTEIN?

Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein. There are 20 different amino acids in all, and different proteins provide different combinations of amino acids in varying ratios.

Since each high-protein food contains a different amino-acid profile, it’s important to eat a range of protein sources. In other words, don’t just eat chicken breast five times a day. Great protein sources include lean meats, cottage cheese, eggs, and fish. If you’re vegan, eat plenty of legumes, nuts, and seeds.

If you find it tough to get enough protein from dietary sources, use protein supplements to hit your numbers. Try adding flavored whey powder to oatmeal, smoothies, or muffins, or grab a protein bar for a treat. There are also many vegetable-based proteins for those who don’t consume dairy.

Since high-protein foods tend to be low in fiber, increase your fiber intake as well to keep your digestive system humming along smoothly. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and asparagus are high in fiber and go great with steak, chicken, or any other protein source.

DOES PROTEIN TIMING MATTER?

While it’s important to eat protein throughout the day as part of your diet, it’s especially beneficial to ingest protein before or after a strength-training session. A good hit of protein can help increase muscle size and strength when taken pre-workout, post-workout, or both.

You can use protein shakes for this purpose, or plan to eat protein-rich meals and snacks before and after working out. For example, have some Greek yogurt before your workout, and salmon with broccoli and sweet potatoes afterward. Some people find that eating right before a workout upsets their stomach, though, so experiment and see what works best for you.

To optimize recovery, it’s also a good idea to eat protein before bed. A slow-digesting protein like casein, found in dairy products and casein powder, can increase muscle-protein synthesis while you sleep, so you wake up better recovered from the previous day’s training session and ready to crush the next one.

How Much Protein A Day to Build Muscle?

by Trevor Hiltbrand | Reviewed by Advisory Board

The age-old question – and one that so many people get wrong.

Depending on whether you are active or sedentary, underweight or overweight, the amount of protein your body needs for optimal health varies.

We are going to assume 2 details.

  1. Due to the title of this article, you are looking to increase muscle mass.
  2. Because you are looking to increase muscle, we also assume you are living an active lifestyle with muscle building exercises. You cannot gain muscle by simply eating more protein and living a sedentary lifestyle. The protein is to recover and build up the muscle that is broken down during exercise.

If either of these assumptions are NOT true, then your daily protein requirements are less.

As you can see in the chart above, for every 1 pound of body weight you need 1-1.5 grams of protein . But why the range? Contrary to popular belief, more doesn’t mean more muscle.

However, there is evidence that shows when in a caloric surplus, more calories from protein results in less fat gained than if those excessive calories were from carbohydrates or fats . Therefore, while working to bulk and build muscle in a caloric surplus diet, err towards the “upper end” of the range to limit fat gains.

Maximizing Muscle Protein Synthesis (How Much Per Serving)

A common myth is that eating too much protein in one sitting is wasted. This is deceiving. Yes, consuming a lot (often believed to be more than 40g) in one sitting will not have an ever increasing effect on muscle protein synthesis, BUT it does reduce body-protein breakdown, resulting in a higher net protein balance within the body.

Net protein balance plays an important role in the efficiency of building muscle and preventing muscle wasting.

The study recommends consuming this protein over 4 meals throughout the day, however, this still leaves us short of our needed 1-1.5 g/per pound of body weight (0.18*4=0.72) for active individuals looking to gain muscle.

The Influence of Age

People over the age of 50 have a higher “anabolic resistance” meaning their muscle protein synthesis is lower when consuming protein . Therefore, more protein is required for older people to maintain and/or increase muscle mass. We recommend people aged 50+ to focus on the upper end of the ranges.

Consuming more protein per sitting has not proven to negatively impact muscle proteins synthesis, so in order to both maximize muscle protein synthesis AND maximize muscle growth, individuals need to consume higher amounts of protein.

Maintaining Muscle Mass While Dieting

The majority of the fitness community agrees that in order to gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, and to lose body fat, a calorie deficit. Because of these requirements, it is commonly believed that you cannot gain muscle while losing weight. This is a topic for another article, however, for the average person and diet, we are going to stick with the traditional understanding.

Note – There are a number of niche and advanced diets that have evidence to suggest otherwise (i.e. ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting).

For most, the goal here should be maintaining muscle mass while losing body fat through caloric deficit dieting. This is why bodybuilders are constantly alternating between bulking and cutting diets. They build muscle while consuming a calorie surplus and maintain that gained muscle while cutting fat by caloric deficit.

The required protein intake for maintaining muscle mass can be seen in the chart below.

Note – As we learned earlier, consuming higher amounts of protein does not seem to have any negative side effects, AND provides a slight boost to preventing excessive fat gain during a caloric surplus diet. So it’s probably best to aim for the “upper end” range.

Notice how the required protein amounts for those looking to burn fat at current healthy weights are the same for people looking to build muscle.

This is because the anabolic effect of a high protein diet is absolutely essential to prevent muscle loss during caloric restriction .

Thermic Rates of Foods

The three macro nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, all have different thermic rates.

The thermic effects of food (TEF) is the amount of energy required to to process and digest the food. It is estimated that upwards of 10% of your total daily energy expenditure is simply from digesting the food you take in.

  • Carbohydrates: 5-15%
  • Fats: 0-5%
  • Proteins: 20-35%

This helps explain why replacing carbohydrates and fats with more protein (while keeping total calories constant) results in more weight loss/less fat gained).

The amount of thermic activity required varies in conjunction with the amount of physical activity.

Time to Stock Up On Protein

The soundest diets all focus around real, quality, pure protein sources. In addition to clean protein supplements, we also encourage you to eat fish, chicken, beef, and or your preferred plant based protein sources.

To hit these daily protein requirements, it requires a cognizant effort. Be conscientious of the foods you eat and the macros they contain.

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 (2:1:1) 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!

External Studies

1. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults.

2. The Effects of Overfeeding on Body Composition: The Role of Macronutrient Composition – A Narrative Review.

3. A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women–a follow-up investigation.

4. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution.

5. Anabolic resistance of muscle protein synthesis with aging.

7. The Total Specific Dynamic Action of High-Protein and High-Carbohydrate Diets on Human Subjects: Two Figures

8. The Effect of Resistance Exercise on the Thermic Effect of Food

Trevor Hiltbrand

Author

Trevor Hiltbrand is one of the owners/co-founders of Transparent Labs and head of content creation. He got his start with supplement research back in 2013 when he began researching cognitive enhancement. With the help of the Transparent Labs Expert Panel and Advisory Board, we aim to bring our evidence based nutrition and exercise research to the world.

It’s no secret that diet is crucial to most fitness goals, whether you’re looking to burn fat, gain muscle, or both. “Abs are made in the kitchen,” after all; you have to work to build the muscles and shed the fat on top of them if you want them visible, and the right eating plan is key to both of those goals. So what food should you be stocking up on to do just that?

Low-Carb Foods to Help Burn Fat

“Not having lots of carbs, especially from sugar, can help you burn fat,” said registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. She explained that when it comes to diet, fat loss isn’t so much about the exact foods you eat, but making sure you get the right levels of macronutrients — that is, protein, fat, and carbs — while depleting your body’s glucose stores. “Glucose is the body’s preferred fuel,” she told POPSUGAR, and carbs break down into glucose — aka sugar — in your body. Eating fewer carbs gives your body less sugar to work with. To get the energy you need, you’ll start burning fat instead.

Protein Will Help Build Muscles

No surprise here. Kristin confirmed that if you’re looking to build muscle, protein is crucial. That’s because it’s made from amino acids, which she said are helpful post-workout, when your muscle fibers are broken down. The amount of protein you need depends on a few different factors, Kristin said, including the kind of workout you’re doing (cardio vs. resistance training) and its length.

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Low-Carb, High Protein Foods

If you’re trying to both burn fat and build muscle, you’ll be looking for foods that are brimming with protein and low in carbs. Kristin highlighted six that are good to add to your cabinet:

  • Nut butters
  • High-protein, low-carb energy bars
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Meat
  • Tofu
  • Beans

Two other strategies can help lose fat and build muscle: intermittent fasting and tracking macros. IF has been shown to protect muscle mass, Kristin said, and she added that some studies have shown that working out in the morning before you eat can bump you into a fat-burning zone.

Hitting your macros is also key — and more important than counting calories. That’s what makes the keto diet so popular, Kristin said: “Calories are sky-high, yet people lose weight.”

While keto and IF might not be for you, incorporating Kristin’s six key foods into your diet, whatever it is, is an effective way to start shedding body fat and building your muscles.

Image Source: Getty / Eva-Katalin

The #1 Food You Need to Eat to Burn Fat and Build Muscle

You know you need to cut calories to lose weight (duh), but dropping pounds usually means not just losing fat, but losing metabolically valuable muscle too. (Muscle torches calories, so the less muscle you have, the harder it is to lose weight, often resulting in a weight-loss plateau.) But the secret to both losing weight and boosting your metabolism may be sitting in your refrigerator, says a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Spoiler alert: It involves eating more protein. (Try these sneaky ways to add protein powder to your meals.)

Researchers asked 40 young men to go on an extreme diet and exercise program. The men slashed their daily caloric intake by 40 percent and performed intense workouts six days a week (they lifted weights and did cardio). Half the subjects ate a high protein diet while the other half ate a standard lower-protein diet. Four weeks later, the high-protein group had lost 10.5 pounds while the lower protein group only lost eight pounds. What’s more, the high-protein group gained 2.5 pounds of muscle and lost 13 pounds of fat, and the other group gained zero muscle.

“Protein provides essential amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle,” says Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., professor in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University, and author of the study. A high protein diet combined with exercise is the magic combination: “Exercise, particularly lifting weights, provides a signal for muscle to be retained, even when you’re cutting calories,” he says.

And this plan isn’t only for young guys. “This would work for women too,” says Phillips, noting that he’s observed similar results in women during previous research. Phillips calls the regimen used in the study “a grueling affair,” but there’s no reason to go crazy. Simply making sure to lift weights (try the easiest strength-training plan ever) and to eat enough protein will help you see better results from your weight loss plan.

How much protein do you need, exactly? Women should eat at least 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, says Phillips. And if you’re working out on the regular, bump it up to 1.6 g per kg per day. (So, a 140-pound woman who exercises needs 101.6 grams of protein per day.) He emphasizes the need to eat protein at every meal and to make sure you’re eating some right after your workout. We suggest these 10 portable high-protein snacks.

  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen @CharlotteGFE

Eat to burn fat

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