How Much Protein Should I Consume?

28 May, 2020
Ingesting up to about 0.5g of protein per stone of body weight will improve your body composition and reduce post-exercise tissue damage. Read on to find out more!
 

When considering how much protein is the right amount, the WHO recommends an intake of 0.18 oz of protein per stone of body weight for sedentary people. However, if you’re an athlete, experts advise almost doubling this to 0.34 oz per stone of body weight.

However, many bodybuilders tend to increase this to more than 0.45 oz. Is this a dangerous practice or is it harmless?

Protein causes no long-term harm

Contrary to what people used to believe up until a few years ago, there’s no evidence that a high intake of protein causes damage to the body in the medium term. Unless you have an underlying kidney condition, your kidneys won’t be altered by increased protein in your diet.

This is the claim in an article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. In fact, very high-protein diets are associated with positive changes in body composition and endogenous protein synthesis.

And according to another study published in 2018, even for patients with liver disease, it’s safe to increase your protein intake together with BCAA supplementation. Increasing your dose of protein doesn’t increase the risk of damaging your brain, as previously thought, but it does lead to an increase in muscle mass.

Keto diets can be good for performance

The discovery that increased protein intake doesn’t have a long-term negative impact on the body has led to the development of keto diets. This type of diet can be good for endurance athletes and involves consuming more protein and fat and fewer carbohydrates.

 

Reducing carbohydrates improves lipid metabolism and this results in improved performance.

A large collection of protein sources.

As a result, it’s not unreasonable for endurance athletes to establish a high protein, low carb diet plan, which could just be temporary. It will directly result in improved body composition and more efficient lipid oxidation for energy conversion.

Where does the protein come from?

An important aspect to consider when designing your diet is where your protein comes from. At least 50 percent of your total intake should ideally be animal proteins.

These proteins have a high biological value and are easily digested. They also have all the essential amino acids needed for bodily functions.

Vegetable proteins, on the other hand, should be varied. Try to combine legumes and nuts so that you minimize the chance of not getting enough essential amino acids. Ultimately, a varied and balanced combination will make sure that you get enough good quality proteins.

Do I need to take supplements?

There is scientific evidence that protein supplements improve post-exercise recovery and reduce the risk of injury in subsequent sessions. Therefore, after a high-intensity session, it’s not a bad idea to include a high-quality protein supplement, preferably whey.

 

This will help reduce muscle damage, accelerate the super-compensation process, and help the tissue to adapt. A dose of at least 0.7 oz after a training session should be enough to ensure a good recovery.

Creatine supplements.

A high-protein diet isn’t harmful

Up until a few years ago, people believed to the contrary, but now we know that a high-protein diet isn’t harmful. Although there are some exceptions, such as kidney patients, this sort of diet will have no long-term harmful effects on the body.

Increasing your protein intake will help improve your body composition and muscular development, which can be highly beneficial for athletes. However, this will only happen up to a dose of 0.45 oz per stone of body weight. Doses higher than this won’t improve the tissue response, but they don’t appear to have any negative medium-term effects on the body either.

Finally, supplements can be an effective way of reducing muscle tissue damage. This can speed up your post-training recovery and ensure that your muscular development is more efficient.

 
  • Morales Ms FE., Tinsley GM., Gordon PM., Acute and long term impact of high protein diets on endocrine and metabolic function, body composition and exercise induced adaptations. J Am Coll Nutr, 2017. 36 (4): 295-305.
  • Margain AR., Macías Rodríguez RU., Ríos Torres SL., Román Calleja BM., et al., Effect of a high protein, high fiber diet plus supplementation with branched chain amino acids on the nutritional status of patients with cirrhosis. Rev Gastroenterol Mex, 2018. 83 (1): 9-15.