The Protein Myth: The Ultimate Guide to How Much Protein You Should Eat a Day
Introduction – Why is there so much debate about how much protein we should be eating?
The debate about how much protein we should be eating is not a new topic in the nutrition world by any means. The reason for this is that there are many factors that contribute to how much protein we need, and it’s hard to know which factors are most important for you because everyone is unique.
Differing factors for how much protein your body needs per day include
- Personal goals,
- Whether or not you work out,
- Your age
- Your level of physical activity.
- Another factor that has huge implications for your daily intake is whether or not you eat meat.
This article will explore the pros and cons of different approaches to calculating daily protein intake, as well as some of the controversies associated with this issue. We’ll also look at some possible solutions and what they might mean for you.
What is Protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps with muscle growth, tissue repair, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
The main function of protein in the body is to provide building blocks for cells, hormones, antibodies, and enzymes. It also helps repair tissue and produces energy.
Protein is a nutrient that is found in all living organisms. It is an important part of the diet and it provides the body with amino acids.
Proteins are made up of amino acids which are organic compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. There are twenty different types of amino acids but there are only nine that humans can produce themselves. The other eleven must come from food or supplements.
The most important amino acids for building and repairing muscle tissue are:
These three amino acids are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). You also need a small amount of other essential proteins such as:
- l-lysine to build and repair muscles
How Much Protein Do Different People Need?
Here we will discuss the average protein requirements for different body types, and genders.
Protein Requirements for Body Type & Gender
Every person has a different “Body Type”. It is important to eat enough protein to meet the needs of your body type and lifestyle, this is important even if you do not work out.
The amount of protein you need depends greatly on your body type and gender. In the below image, you can clearly see the three different body types which are Mesomorph, Ectomorph & Endomorph.
The ectomorph is the lean and lanky body type. They are usually thin and have a small frame.
Ectomorphs are naturally thin, so they have to work hard to bulk up. They also burn calories at a high rate, so they need to eat more protein than other body types. This is because they have a faster-acting metabolism.
Ectomorphs can be successful in sports like cycling or running because of their fast-twitch muscles which contract quickly and generate lots of power, but they can’t do strength-heavy activities like weightlifting or wrestling (unless they build up muscle).
Most experts around the world would agree that a general rule of thumb for ectomorphs is to ingest at least 2.2 and up to 3.3 grams of protein per kg of lean body mass
- Slim frame
- Narrow shoulders and hips in proportion to height
- Very fast metabolism
- Weight gain is difficult, weight loss is easy
- Consume between 2.2g and 3.3g of protein per kg of body weight to build muscle
Mesomorphs are naturally muscular people who don’t need much exercise to stay fit. They are not overweight, or underweight, they are usually naturally healthy individuals.
They make up about 50% of the population and are usually healthy with a balanced metabolism, but may need more protein than other body types due to their activities.
Some of the greatest bodybuilders are Mesomorphs.
Mesomorphs should aim to consume between 1.2 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
- Shoulders wider than hips
- Efficient metabolism
- Can easily gain or lose weight
- Consume between 1.2g and 2.2g protein per kg of body weight to build muscle
Endomorphs are the opposite of ectomorphs in that they have a slower metabolism and find it easier to gain weight.
They also have a larger bone structure than ectomorphs which can make it difficult for them to lose weight.
Endomorphs are the largest of the three body types. They tend to be heavier in weight with larger frames and wider hips. Endomorphs are naturally rounder and store fat easily, so they don’t need as many calories as ectomorphs or mesomorphs do in order to maintain their weight.
Endomorphs also have more slow-twitch muscles which contract slowly but provide sustained effort for endurance activities like long
- Carries more fat throughout the body
- Very easy to gain fat, and difficult to lose weight
- Heavier bone structure and larger hips
- Naturally slower metabolism, potentially due to health conditions with their thyroid gland
- Consume between 1.5g and 2g protein per kg of body weight to build muscle
Different Protein Requirements for Gender
The average male needs more protein than the average female because males have more muscle mass, which requires more protein to maintain it.
Despite body type, to maintain body weight (below are maintenance requirements, not to grow muscle)
The average male needs 1.8g of protein per kg (or 0.54g/lb of body weight) to maintain their weight
The average female needs 1g of protein per kg (or 0.36g/lb of body weight) to maintain their weight
How much protein should one be consuming to optimize muscle growth?
Protein is the building block of muscle.
All athletes need high-quality protein to build and repair tissues.
Average protein (g) per day for most people
Need 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight is enough to optimize muscle growth and repair.
Low-carb diets (g) per day
Need 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day to optimize muscle growth and repair.
High-protein diets (g) per day
May need up to 3 grams a day per pound of body weight to optimize muscle growth and repair.
The Benefits of Having Enough Protein in Your Diet
Protein is an essential component of the human diet. It helps to build muscle and tissue, while also being important for the immune system.
Protein is a building block that you need to get from food or supplements, but there are more benefits to eating protein than just building muscles.
Protein is important for humans because it is the building block of all cells.
Without protein, we cannot
- Build muscle
- Create hormones
- Maintain a healthy immune system
Protein is one of the three macronutrients that our body needs to survive and thrive. The other two are fat and carbohydrates. Protein is made up of amino acids which can be broken down into smaller molecules to produce energy for the body.
Protein helps muscles grow and repair themselves by providing them with the necessary materials they need to rebuild.
Protein also helps maintain a healthy immune system by providing essential nutrients to fight off infections and diseases that may attack us from time to time.
Sources of protein in the diet
There are many different sources of protein that you can find in a diet. The most common sources of protein include
- Dairy products
- Plant-based foods such as beans and nuts
- Supplement protein powders (e.g. whey)
What is the Best Time to Have Your Protein and Why?
Protein timing is a dietary strategy that aims to optimize the body’s muscle-building process by consuming protein at the right time.
The best time to have your protein shake is after your workout. The body’s muscles are craving nutrients and protein shakes help in providing them with enough amino acids, which are essential for muscle growth in a simple easily digestible form.
The best time to have your meal is an hour or two before you go to bed. This will provide you with enough energy and nutrients when you need them the most – while sleeping.
A Basic Guide to Getting Enough Protein
Protein is one of the toughest macros to meet when it comes to dietary targets. This can be even worse for vegetarians or vegans who do not eat meat or dairy products.
It is highly advised to supplement your diet with Protein Powders, which pack a lot of protein in a small quantity of liquid.
In this guide, we will discuss what protein is and how much you should have a day. We will also list some of the best sources of protein that are available in most grocery stores and restaurants.
Supplement Protein Powders and which to buy
Our world has access to a wide variety of protein powders. The benefits of supplementing your diet with protein powder are well known, but which ones are the best? This article will break down the different types and brands of protein powders based on their nutrition, texture, and flavor.
The most common types of protein supplements are whey proteins and casein proteins. Whey protein is easily digested by the body while casein protein is more slowly digested. This means that whey protein can be taken before a workout whereas casein protein should be taken after a workout or before sleeping.
|Protein Type |
Description & Examples
Produced by extracting the protein from whole food sources using either heat and acid or enzymes.
|Usually 70% protein, with the rest being fat and carbs.|
Cheap to purchase
|Contains more trace carbs and fats, bad for cutting.|
Produced by further filtering protein concentrates to remove more fat and carbs, to highly concentrate the protein.
|Usually 90% to 95% protein, with the rest being fat and carbs. Highly concentrated for cutting diets.||Expensive to purchase.|
The process of additional heating with acid or enzymes. The aim of this is to break the bonds
between the amino acids.
As a result, hydrolysates are absorbed very quickly by your body and muscles.
|Very good for post-workout to provide your body with a fast-acting form of protein nutrition to assist in repairing muscles and assist growth. ||Flavors can be less accommodating, and unpleasant.|
How much protein should be consumed after a workout?
The amount of protein you need to consume post-workout depends on your weight and the intensity of your workout.
Post-workout protein requirements to maintain your muscle
A study by the University of Texas at Austin found that people who consumed 0.4 grams per pound of body weight after exercise were able to maintain muscle mass and reduce fat mass.
Post-workout protein requirements to increase muscle mass
Most reputable bodybuilding dieticians recommend eating 0.5 grams per pound of body weight post-workout, depending on the intensity of your workout.
Conclusion on how much protein you should eat a day
Now that you know all you need to know about how much protein you should eat a day, it’s up to you to choose what kind of diet best meets your needs based on all of the discussed variables. You should consider the below:
- Identify your body type and how it affects protein requirements
- Understand gender and protein requirement differences
- Activity level and exercises
- Know your goals, muscle growth, fat loss, or maintaining weight
- Tailor your protein requirements for you
Identify your body type, gender, and activity level. From here you should know your goals and tailor your protein requirements.
I highly recommend that you check out this definitive guide on how to calculate the perfect diet and get a six-pack guaranteed.