How much protein should you eat?
One of the most frequent questions i get asked is: how much protein should I be eating?
As with everything else we discuss, the answer is that it totally depends on your goals, health status, training level, etc.
For example, a pregnant woman will need way less protein than a 21 year old male bodybuilder.
That being said there are good general guidelines we can give as a starting point. For most active adults, who typically weigh between 100-200 lbs, a good amount of daily protein is:
100-200 grams per day.
To make things simple and straight forward from a calculation perspective, someone weighing closer to 100lbs should be getting close to 100g of protein per day while someone weighing 200lbs should be getting close to 200g of protein a day. It’s a bit more nuanced than this, and I would argue that for most people for health they only need about 1g/lb of lean body mass. But most people don’t know their true lean body mass. So, using weight can be an easy, roughly correct, way to calculate it at home.
Whether you calculate this based on 1g/lb of weight or 1g/lb of lean body mass or even based on 20-30% of total calories they’re all roughly speaking going to come out fairly close to 100-200g per day for most active adults.
What does this amount to in human food? An 8oz or half pound serving of most animal proteins (chicken, fish, beef, etc.) will be roughly 40-50g of protein. If it’s leaner like chicken it will be closer to 50g of protein per serving. If it’s more fatty it will be closer to 40g of protein per serving.
So, to take an example, someone who weighs 150lbs would need roughly 150g of protein, which would be roughly 3x8oz servings of protein a day.
In future videos, we’ll talk about the differences between different types of protein, and special considerations to take into account weighing and measuring protein.
Today we are going to talk about protein. So on a previous video we did, a basic introduction to Macro Nutrients. So this is gonna be part of that series where, after giving the general review and introduction, were gonna talk more specifically, about each of the three macro nutrients. So, we’re gonna talk about protein, and then eventually carbs and fat as well. And break ’em down, and make it easier for those of you, who want to start to play with your macros and, start manipulation those, in your nutrition and your diet. An easier way to do that.
So, let’s first talk about, since this is a, video concerning macros and amounts, let’s talk about how much of these things, you should be having on a regular basis. So, I categorized the ranges into, a broad range and a narrow range. So, broadly speaking there’s a super wide range, of amounts of protein you could eat. But that really becomes so broad because, on the one end, you know this, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. That’s basically the bare minimum, you need to avoid deficiencies. So for an adult male that’d be something like, 50 grams of protein a day, which is a comically small amount. And then on the upper end, technically speaking unless you have, some sort of health condition, there is no physiological upper limit, to the protein that you can consume. But you’d get pretty full pretty quickly, and it would crowd out other macro nutrients, like carbs and fats so, technically speaking, what physiologically you could consume, these insane quantities of protein, like 400, 500 grams.
Technically speaking that’s not gonna be, realistically feasible for most people. The other way I put it up here, is in terms of percent of calories. So, 15%, some you could potentially say as low as 10%. 15% of calories is for people who wanna maintain, a lower protein status. You’ll see this a lot typically with pregnant women, where the body just sort of naturally says, to decrease protein consumption, from a health perspective, health, of the pregnancy. And then 40% of calories is really kinda the upper end, that you could go there, without starting to run into some potential issues, with balancing out other macro nutrients. The reason why I did a broad categorization of this, and a narrow categorization is that, the broad one gives you a sense of, really how far this range is. But the narrow one is much more realistic for most people.
So look. For the vast majority of people, especially those watching this video. If you’re doing CrossFit, if you’re doing some workouts each week. Something like 100-200 grams of protein per day, is going to be a pretty good place for you to be. Now you’ll hear all sorts of metrics out there, some people will say one gram per pound of body weight. Well, that would do pretty well, for people who are between 100 and 200 pounds, which again is the overwhelming majority of people. The overwhelming majority of adults. Some people will say one gram per pound of lean body mass, which is gonna be slightly, lower than, your totally body weight. So, say someone was 200 pounds, their lean body mass might be 160 pounds. So it would be one gram per 160 pounds. But generally speaking this is gonna be, a pretty good range for most of you. 100 being kinda on the lower end, depending on your size and your activity levels. 200 grams being on the upper end. But that’s gonna do the vast majority of people, pretty well with what it is they’re trying to do. Okay. Yes there’s people like Thor the Mountain, from game of thrones who eats way in excess of this, but you are not Thor the Mountain, I am not Thor the Mountain. Most of us don’t need you know, 10,000 calories a day, these super physiological doses. So, this is pretty good place for most people.
What is that in percentage of calories, about 20% – 30%. That’s gonna be a pretty good place. That’s gonna help with things like, lean muscle maintenance, and building, fat loss, adequate replenishment of amino acid stores. Things like that. What does that break down to per meal? Well that’s gonna be roughly something like. You know it’s gonna depend on how many meals, but let’s just talk about three to four meals a day, roughly. Four to eight ounces of, protein per meal. So let’s say you’re in the middle of this range, 150 grams. Eight ounces of protein is roughly 50 grams of protein. So if you have eight ounces of, chicken or ground beef or somethin’ like that, that’s roughly 50 grams of protein. If you have three eight ounce servings, that would be 150 grams of protein. If you’re on the lower end of that spectrum, then somewhere between that, you know four to six range, again some people could maybe go as low as 75 here.
But again just givin’ you just sort of, a broad range of things, in terms of, how much you should be eating per meal. This is of course all gonna depend on, how many meals you have through-out the day. Some people may prefer to have, smaller more frequent meals, of smaller amounts of protein, rather than larger meals. So, hopefully that gives you a good sense, of how much protein you should be having.
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