If you’ve been trying to figure out exactly how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis, you’ve more-than-likely ended up feeling pretty confused. It seems that almost every blog and scientific study has a different answer to this question and the thing is, with protein over-consumption known to have some pretty catastrophic side effects (e.g. kidney stones, Osteoporosis etc), it’s pretty important you get it right. But exactly how much protein is too much?
Well, we’re going to answer this question once and for all.
How Much Protein Should You Consume Each Day?
The truth is that the amount of protein you should be consuming will depend on a variety of factors. If you’re regularly exercising or working out, you’re going to need more protein than if you weren’t very active. If you’re 6’5″ and 250lbs, you’re obviously going to need more protein (and calories for that matter) than someone significantly shorter and lighter.
The official FDA recommendations state that you should be consuming an average of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
Now, you might think that this isn’t much and that’s because, it isn’t…
These guidelines are written for the majority of the population (i.e. those not regularly working out or exercising) so if you’re particularly active or have any particular fitness goals, you’re going to need to increase your intake quite significantly. What’s more, these guidelines are also written for those looking to maintain their current weight (i.e. not looking to build muscle) and therefore, are a poor guide for anyone looking to increase their lean body mass.
A General Rule Of Thumb
Depending on which study you read, you’ll find that the recommended daily protein intake will vary anywhere between the current FDA guidelines (0.8 grams per kilogram) and around three grams per pound of lean body mass.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that three grams of protein per pound of lean mass is far too much and will significantly increase your chances of experiencing some pretty nasty side effects. At the time however, 0.8 grams per kilogram is far too low (at least for the average bodybuilder). Therefore, the best option is to follow a general rule of thumb of 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Consuming this amount of protein per day is going to provide you with everything your body needs in terms of growing and repairing muscle tissue quickly and efficiently. It’s also going to ensure that a good portion of your daily calorific intake comes from protein; this will create a thermic effect and help increase your metabolic rate.
Perhaps the best thing about this rule of thumb is that it’s easy to remember. Let’s say you weigh 187 pounds; you’re going to need approximately 187 grams of protein per day (unless you’re significantly obese). Easy.
Exactly how much protein is too much is going to vary significantly depending a number of factors. Height, weight, age, workout routine and lean body mass are all going to play a role in deciphering exactly how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis and the thing is, it’s extremely difficult to create an exact calculation.
Sure, following the general rule of thumb of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is no exact science and for some people, slightly more or slightly less protein may lead to better results in the gym so by all means, feel free to experiment and see what works best for you (although don’t go crazy!).
For most people however, the general rule of thumb offers a good guide (certainly better than that issued by the FDA) and will certainly give your body everything it needs.
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