Did you know that the typical bodybuilder diet causes many people to consume way too much protein? This excessive consumption of protein is very hard on the kidneys and can lead to a condition known as proteinuria and leads to problems such as organ failure.
While many of us cram protein into our diets because we are told it is the answer to our fitness goals, those answers to how much protein we actually need are far from the truth.
The right amount of protein can help build muscle, lose fat, and ensure we have healthy hair, skin, nails, and bones. Too much protein is not only hard on the body, but also, is a waste of money.
So the problem is, how much protein do you really need? With so much conflicting information available, it is hard to know what we can trust!
Thankfully, we’ve created this guide to help you learn everything there is to know about protein consumption, keep on reading to learn more.
What is Protein?
Protein is one of the three main micronutrients needed for survival, along with fats and carbohydrates. It is composed of nine amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of protein. Protein is like a long string necklace of pearl beads, with the amino acids creating the individual beads.
There are over 20 amino acids required for your body to function properly. Eleven of these amino acids are created by your body, while the rest of them are consumed in your diet, which is why your diet is so critical to your fitness goals. The amino acids consumed in your diet are also known as essential amino acids, which means that it is essential that you consume the right foods, or else you could experience malnutrition.
When the right amino acids join together, this is known as a complete protein.
Why Is Protein So Important?
A complete protein is required for multiple functions in the body, and without it, you will not survive. Not only is protein needed for optimal health, but it will also help you to accelerate your fitness goals if you know how much protein your body needs exactly!
Some of the important functions of protein are:
- Hormones and chemical messengers that help your cells, tissues, and organs to communicate
- Creates structures and helps cells to develop rigidity
- Creates keratin, collagen, and elastin
- Creates your hair, skin, nails, and bones
- Grows and maintains tissues, including muscles
- Strengthens immune system
- Aids in digestion, blood clotting, energy formation, and muscle contraction
- Maintains the pH in your blood
- Creates hemoglobin, AKA red blood cells
- Creates immunoglobulins and antibodies to ward off infections
- Creates Albumin and globulin, which maintain fluid balance in the body
- Acts as carriers to transport nutrients such as sugar, cholesterol, oxygen, vitamins, and minerals
- Provides energy to the body
While protein does have the same amount of calories per gram as carbohydrates, it is the last supply of energy that your body wants to use, because of its necessary functions in the body. Your body is designed to utilize fats and carbohydrates for energy while preserving protein.
This preservation of protein is also known as being in an anabolic state. Anabolic means that you are not wasting your hard-earned muscle and gym gains to create energy. To maintain an anabolic state, you need to consume the right amount of protein intake, plus perform the right exercises in the gym.
The opposite of anabolic is catabolic, which means muscle wasting. Being in a catabolic state is every fitness enthusiast’s nightmare, as you are literally wasting away your gym-gains to create energy. This happens when you are not consuming enough protein.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The recommended base daily allowance of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, whether you are a man or a woman. If you are an athlete or lifting weights, you will need around 1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
Keep in mind that the minimum requirement is the bare minimum amount of protein that you need for survival. So if you are an avid exerciser, you must increase your protein intake to help replenish your muscles post-workout.
Many people have this number confused and are consuming far too much protein in their diets. While the average daily intake is about 10% of total caloric intake, most people are consuming around 16-20% of their daily intake in protein.
How to Get Enough Protein
The easiest way to build muscles is to eat muscles, which means that animal protein is the best form of protein you can consume. However, this isn’t ideal for every diet, so there are many other forms of pure protein that are more sustainable.
Some complete protein sources are:
- Tofu and tempeh
- Greek Yogurt
- Beans with rice (must be combined to make a complete protein)
- Split peas
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you must do some research and discover which foods need to be combined to create a full protein. Otherwise, you are not satiating your body as you need to post-workout.
Do Men Need More Protein Than Women?
On average, men who have a much higher muscle mass do need to consume more protein than females. However, this is not always the case. As a rule of thumb, the more muscle mass you have, the more protein you need to consume.
While men do need a higher caloric count, this means that their protein requirements must also be higher than women. If you are a relatively fit male, you need more protein, period.
Learn More About Protein and Working Out
Now that you know about how much protein you need to replenish your body after a workout, it is time to get training! If you want to join a group fitness class and reap the benefits of a workout while making new friends, feel free to sign up for a class in your location!