How Much Protein do you Need?
This is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing.
Truly, the “right” amount of protein for any one person depends on many factors… including activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, and current state of health.
No matter what your goals are, including enough protein (along with your other nutrients) is an important part of supporting your body, sculpting your physique and creating optimal health.
- For people whose goal it is to gain lean muscle, increasing protein intake will help build muscle and strength (in conjunction with a fitness regimen of course). A common recommendation for gaining muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
- For individuals who want to hold onto the lean muscle they have while losing body fat, an increased protein intake is also appropriate as this increase spares muscles tissue while losing body fat. It’s safe to say 0.7-1 grams (give or take) per pound of body weight is a reasonable estimate for active individualsHow to Calculate Your Range:
If you’re not very active, you can go on the lower end of the spectrum – all the way down to 0.5g/protein per pound. Moderately active, 0.7 is the mid-range. Extremely active, range from 0.8-1.0 or higher.
You can overeat protein, like any nutrient, but your body has a good internal regulation system to help you adjust if you do. Chronically overeating protein can cause health problems, just like chronically overeating fat, carbs or any nutrient can. That’s why it’s a good idea to calculate your protein intake based on your energy output and goals, and adjust accordingly. Need help calculating contact me today to get your individualized plan.
When is the Best Time to Eat Protein?
Short answer – all the time! You can and should have some protein at every meal.
Like we talked about above, protein gets broken down into the amino acids our bodies need to function properly.
Unlike the way our muscle tissue stores carbohydrates as glycogen for energy use later on, and the way our fat cells store fat for energy use later on, our body doesn’t have a storage tank for protein.
Since proteins and amino acids are not stored in the body, there is a constant turnover of protein. Some protein is constantly being made while other protein is being broken down.
Because protein is needed for so many body functions all day long, it’s vital that we continue to replenish it throughout the day by including it in our meals.
What are Good Sources of Protein?
Like any of the nutrients, eating a range of food sources is a good way to ensure you’re getting adequate minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and everything you need to maintain your lean muscle and decrease fat storage.
As with all foods, choose as unprocessed as possible, and think about the source of the food – like grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and organic seeds, nuts, and legumes.
Quick List of Animal Sources of Protein:
Meat: beef, bison, pork, wild game
Poultry: chicken, turkey
Seafood: fish (cod, haddock, tuna, flounder, perch, halibut) and shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, oysters)
Dairy: Greek yogurt, milk, cheeses, fermented dairy products like kefir
Quick List of Plant Sources of Protein:
Seeds: chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame
Nuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, peanuts
Legumes: Lentils, Green Peas, Soybeans (tempeh/tofu), Red beans, Black beans, Yellow beans, Fava beans, Chickpeas
Whole grains: quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, wheat, rice, corn, oats (ensure your grains are soaked, sprouted, or fermented to consume, and that you’re looking for non-GMO plants)
Some Vegetables: i.e. avocado, broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes (these all contain some protein, but are not adequate protein sources on their own.)
My nutrition consulting will take the guess work out of eating. Contact me today