By David Ewart
Ace Certified Personal Trainer & Precision Nutrition Coach
In this blog I will talk about protein and what it does for our body. How much protein is really up to you and what your goals maybe. Whether we are a high level athlete or just the everyday person trying to lose weight or someone who wants to maintain their current body composition.
Protein has a number of functions, it is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein is also an important factor in weight loss as it is an inefficient macronutrient. Basically if you consume ten grams of protein it will take three to four grams of that protein to just break it down. That in itself creates a thermos like effect in your body, metabolic booster as such. Carbs on the other hand if you consume ten grams it will take about one gram to break it down, easily broken down.
There are many protein powders and supplements on the market but eating whole foods to get your daily protein intake is the best way to go. Why? Simply because eating a whole food brings you many other nutrients and not just protein provided you are eating a quality source. Now does that mean that we do not intake whey protein, well I know personally I have been consuming protein powder for about thirty years. On a daily basis to repair tissue and stay very lean I try to consume two grams of protein for every pound of mass I have. That is a lofty goal and honestly I am not there everyday. In terms of protein powders whey protein isolates is one of the most effective processes out there in terms of bioavailability. There are tons of options in terms of protein powders and vegan protein powders but I will stop there for now as I will talk about protein powders to an extent in a future blog.
Protein intake timing is another much talked about subject so lets touch on that. I stress to intake protein with each meal or lesser meal, better known as a snack but I do not like the word snack as it projects consuming unhealthy foods. If lean mass gain or weight loss is the goal consuming protein breakfast , ninety minutes before workout or exercise, immediately after exercise, and after dinner are very important provided we have followed the rule of eating protein with each meal.
Eating habits must be instilled on a constant basis before you can ever consider the performance side of food consumption.
Protein is a vast subject and this blog really has only touched on a very small portion of the information and questions out there so if you have any thoughts we would love to hear from you. I have attached a protein chart.
Hopefully this is useful on how much protein you should intake.
If you’re of healthy weight and sedentary, aim for 1.2–1.8 g/kg (0.54–0.82 g/lb).
If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to keep your weight, aim for 1.4–2.2 g/kg (0.64–1.00 g/lb). Try for the higher end of this range, as tolerated, especially if you’re an athlete.
If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 1.4–3.3 g/kg (0.64–1.50 g/lb). Eating more than 2.6 g/kg (1.18 g/lb) is probably not going to lead to greater muscle gains, but it can minimize fat gains when “bulking” — i.e., when eating above maintenance in order to gain (muscle) weight.
If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to lose fat, aim for 2.2–3.3 g/kg (1.00–1.50 g/lb), skewing toward the higher end of this range as you become leaner or if you increase your caloric deficit (hypocaloric diet).
If you’re overweight or obese, aim for 1.2–1.5 g/kg (0.54–0.68 g/lb). You do not need to try to figure out your ideal body weight or your lean mass (aka fat-free mass). Most studies on people with obesity report their findings based on total body weight.
If you’re pregnant, aim for 1.66–1.77 g/kg (0.75–0.80 g/lb)
Also, note that …
Protein intake should be based on body weight, not on caloric intake. (But caloric intake should be based on body weight, too, so the two intakes are linked.)
Most studies have looked at dosages up to 1.5 g/kg; only a few have looked at dosages as high as 2.2–3.3 g/kg. However, even those higher dosages don’t seem to have negative effects in healthy people.