When considering daily protein intake, it all depends on what your goals are. If you want to build muscle an easy way to remember is you should be ingesting 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight or 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram, is what most studies say. That is generally a good way to remember and out of all the studies done is a number/figure most people agree with. Now for a more precise calculation of how much protein you should intake, many studies suggest it should be about 1.1-1.6 grams of protein per pound of lean mass, 1.4 grams being ideal.

The way to figure this out would be to find out your body fat percentage, and with that number find out your lean mass. Then multiply that times 1.1-1.6. So, for example if you weigh two hundred pounds and are ten percent body fat your lean body mass is about 180 pounds. You would multiply 180 x 1.1 – 1.6. You want to be closer to 1.6 grams per pound of lean muscle mass when your restricting your carbohydrates, due to not having many carbohydrates in your system to be a buffer to prevent muscle break down. You want to be closer to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass when your intaking a good amount of carbohydrates because carbohydrates will act as a buffer for your muscles and not allow muscle to break down that easy.

Why is Protein so Important?

First off protein is needed to sustain life, your organs cannot function with-out protein. Nowhere near as much protein is needed for organ function as to build muscle, but still very needed. Protein is the primary nutrient your muscles need. It is the main building block.

Without eating a good amount of protein your muscles cannot grow its just impossible. Your body cannot make protein from other nutrient sources. For example, you can eat fat and your body turns it to ketones which in turn your body uses it for energy and helps with brain function. You can eat protein and if your body needs energy; via gluconeogenesis it can convert the protein into carbohydrates for energy. Now fats nor carbs can be converted to protein. You need to physically ingest protein, that is why protein is so important.

On the other hand, many bodybuilders say you can never have enough protein. That is because they want to make sure their muscle is always protected so they eat an abundance of protein. Now there is the argument that too much protein is bad for your kidneys but many studies show that only if you have preexisting kidney issues will protein affect your kidneys negatively. Many studies show that if your otherwise healthy with no preexisting conditions that high amounts of protein will not affect you and will not cause kidney issues.

How Much Protein Should You Have Per Meal?

Well it depends on your body weight calculations. So, for example if you weigh two hundred pounds, if you eat six times a day you want to have 34 grams of protein per meal to reach your target of daily protein intake. Ideally you want to eat six times a day to keep amino acids in your bloodstream, meaning you should be eating 34 grams of protein for every meal, every three hours. This will keep your body in an anabolic state. Although some people say you don’t have to eat every 3 hours (6 times a day), it’s a good rule of thumb and many, many bodybuilding competitors follow that protocol. When your body is in an anabolic state your body is building muscle. When your body is in a catabolic state your body is feeding off your muscles, simply put this happens when you don’t have enough protein in your body. Anabolic is what you want to be always.

 Picture of whole foods at a grocery store like chicken/ pork/ steak, good examples of what your protein intake should consist of.

Protein from Whole Foods vs. Protein from Powders, Pros and Cons

When you eat protein from food you are receiving all the micronutrients from that food, which is very important. For example, when you eat chicken you are getting micronutrients like calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Niacin etc. When drink protein from powders and shakes you miss out on all those micronutrients.

Also, many studies show that protein powders have a lot of chemicals. Many physique and bodybuilding competition protocols require that you stay away from any type of powder or liquid protein when competing. Due to the fact, that these powders and protein shakes contain chemicals and cause various reactions to competitor’s bodies. Also many protein powders and shakes have lactose and that usually causes bloating to a certain extent, not the same amount for everybody but just a minimal amount of bloating could throw off a competitor’s physique for a competition. Every detail counts. Competitors stick to natural foods as much as possible to not cause any reactions to there body and stay as flat as possible, as they would say.

Given these cons protein powders still have their place. Like the saying goes everything in moderation, having several shakes a day might be too much, but one or two may not be a bad idea. Protein powders are convenient and good when on the go or in a bind. They provide the convenience of not having to cook something, rather if in bind you can find one in a vending machine.

Also, protein powders such as Whey concentrate have high levels of Leucine. Whey has higher levels of Leucine than natural foods such as chicken and steak etc… Leucine Is a very important amino acid that provides high protein synthesis. High protein synthesis meaning your muscle absorbs the protein very quickly, by absorbing the protein quickly your muscles absorb almost all of the protein ingested and wastes very little of it. Leucine provides/helps with this. As oppose to chicken, steak and natural foods that don’t have such high Leucine levels, when ingesting these you end up wasting more of the protein and not as much goes to your muscles as with whey protein. This is, why whey concentrate protein is great pre and post workout. It repairs your muscles immediately after a workout

Also consider protein shakes that are non-GMO, meaning you don’t have to worry about the chemicals. These non-GMO protein shakes/ powders have no chemicals or very little of them giving you the great benefits of whey without the unwanted chemicals. These are better alternatives.

Increasing Protein Intake and Fat Loss

According to studies protein has more satiety than the same amount of carbs and fats. Meaning for example 4 ounces of protein will make you feel fuller than 4 ounces of carbs or fats. Also, protein has double the thermic effect of fats and carbs, meaning it burns more calories when ingesting.

In Summary

You need a lot of protein intake to build muscle. Your goal should be to at-least follow the 1 gram per pound suggestion, if the other formula is too complicated for you. Consider the pros about whole foods but remember protein powders/shakes still have their place. Especially post workout where they will help with muscle building better than any other protein. Remember to try to eat every three hours keep your body in an anabolic state. Also, do your calculations based on carb intake as well, as not as much protein is needed when eating a good amount of carbs, as carbs provide a buffer. Hope you guys enjoyed, Cheers to building muscle!!!


My name is Paul Miller - fitness freak by choice. I intensively study and write about nutrition and health related topics. After reading and researching intensively on human health, I aspire to proliferate the wisdom that I acquired in a simple way.

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