How much protein do we need?

There is so much information our there as to how much protein we should consume. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years now and some experts say to eat around 120 -150g daily and that is a lot for this gal. My goal is to get more lean muscle mass, and it is very important to get the right nutrients after a workout but I’ve been finding it very hard to get the correct information. I am currently taking sports nutrition and yesterday we discussed the role of protein for muscle development and repair. Here is what I found out and it actually makes sense to me. And I am happy to report that most of us do not need to eat 120 – 150g of protein for proper muscle growth and repair. Your protein requirements are based on your activity level and weight. Protein is important because it builds lean body mass, is needed for tissue repair. Also a small amount of protein is burned during physical activity.

So how much protein do you need?

For the general population the requirement is .8 grams of protein per Kilogram of bodyweight daily

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x .8 = 54.4g of protein daily

There are 4 calories per gram of protein. Example: 54.4 (grams of protein) x 4 (calories) = 217.60 protein calories. If you are following a 1500 calorie diet that is 15% of your total daily calories.

Convert pounds to Kilograms Calculator

Protein requirements for endurance athletes (marathon runners, tri-athletes etc) are 1.2g – 1.4g per kg daily.

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.2 = 81.6g of protein
68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.4 = 95.2g of protein
Therefore a 150 lbs endurance athlete would need between 81 – 95g of protein

Protein requirements for strength athletes are 1.6g – 1.8g per kg daily

Example: 68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.6 = 108.8g of protein
68Kg (150 lbs) x 1.8 = 122.4g of protein
Therefore a 150 lbs strength athlete would need between 108 – 122g of protein

Now you may be asking yourself what category do I fall under? Things to consider are how many days do you work out, what type of training do you do? Are you a cardio queen? An iron sister? Or do you mix it up with cardio, weights etc.

For me, I work out 3 – 5 days a week. I do strength training, boxing and spin so my protein requirements are around 1.2g – 1.6g per kg per day.
So your meter of measurement falls between .8g (couch potato) – 1.8g (Hardcore body builder) try to estimate where you fall between that line.

If you work out 3 times a week 1.2g per kg would be a good protein intake.

Protein Supplements:

There are various protein supplements on the market and they have different effects on the body. (Listed in no particular order)

1) Casein: a milk protein that has good absorption levels due to extended exposure in the intestines. It is a time-released protein best taken at night or before going to bed. If you have a dairy intolerance then Casein needs to be avoided.

2) Soy or Vegetable: a protein that isolates and contains 90% pure protein. However be weary of Soy because it is one of the top 4 products that is GMO (genetically modified organisms). Make sure it’s coming from an organic soy source. Also Soy is a common intolerance for many people, so if you have too much of it, you could develop an intolerance. If you are vegetarian or have a dairy intolerance it is best to go with Vegetable based proteins.

3) Whey Isolate protein is the superstar of protein supplements; it has a full amino acid profile, is high in BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids). Whey Isolate yields a higher Whey protein fraction (90% of casein (milk protein) is taken out and there is no lactose so even if you have a dairy intolerance you can use a Whey Isolate supplement. Also if it is not an Isolate Whey protein it may contain wheat gluten, and other fillers. Whey Isolate is best right after your workout, or immediately upon rising because it digests fairly quickly and the absorption rate is high.

A great post workout snack would be an Apple with a protein shake (protein powder w/ water).

Food sources of Protein:

1 oz low fat tenderloin = 7.5g
1 oz wild game, venison etc = 8.5g

1 oz skinless chicken breast = 8g
1 oz deli style chicken breast = 5g
1 oz skinless turkey breast = 8g
1 oz deli style turkey breast = 5g

1 oz Bass (freshwater) = 6g
1 oz Cod = 7g
1 oz Halibut = 7g
1 oz Haddock = 7g
1 oz Herring = 6.5g
1 oz Mackerel = 7g
1 oz Salmon = 7.5g
1 oz sardines (oil based) = 6g
1 oz Sardines (water based) = 6g
1 oz Snapper = 7g
1 oz Tilapia = 5g
1 oz Trout = 7g
1 oz Tuna (fresh) = 8g
1 oz Tuna (oil based) = 7.5
1 oz Tuna (water based) = 6g

1 oz Clams = 7g
1 oz Crabmeat = 5.5g
1 oz Lobster = 5.5g
1 oz Scallops = 5g
1 oz shrimp = 6g

Eggs (boiled)
1 Whole Egg = 6g
2 Egg whites = 7g

Whey Protein Isolate
1 oz Organic low fat Cheese = 7g
¼ cup low fat cottage cheese = 7.5g
½ cup plain organic skim Yogurt = 7g

1 cup Quinoa Cooked (Gluten Free) = 9g
1 cup Millet Cooked (Gluten Free) = 6.1g
¼ cup Amaranth (Gluten Free) = 8g
¼ cup Buckwheat (Gluten Free) = 6g
¼ cup Oats = 6g

Beans and Lentils:
1 cup Lentils cooked = 18g
1 cup Black Beans cooked = 15g
1 cup Kidney Beans cooked = 13g
1 cup Pinto Beans cooked = 12g
1 cup Black-eyed peas cooked = 11g
1 cup Lima Beans cooked = 10g

Seeds and Nuts:
¼ cup Almonds = 7.6g
¼ cup Sunflower Seeds = 6g
¼ cup Cashews = 5g
¼ cup Walnuts = 3.8g

Soy / Other:

1 cup Tempeh = 41g
3 oz Seitan (a.k.a Wheat Meat) = 31g
4 oz Tofu firm = 11g
4 oz Tofu regular = 9g
1 cup Plain Soy Milk = 7g
6 oz plain soy yogurt = 6g
1 cup Soybeans cooked = 31g

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