What You Don’t Know About Protein

Protein has gained a lot of attention in recent years especially within the fitness community. People believe that a high protein diet can help build muscle. Is it just a fad or can a high protein diet really boost muscle growth? The truth is, your body can only utilize 20-25 g of protein at one time so any excessive protein simply gets stored as fat or burned as fuel. Could this be why you’re not losing the weight you want to see? Or why you are feeling fatigued during workouts because you’re fueling your muscles improperly?

How do you know how much protein your body actually needs? The answer is, it depends! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that most adults need 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight. So, for example a 150lb adult would need 60 g of protein per day.

Protein Needs (Data from American College of Sports Medicine)
Sedentary Adult – 0.4 g of protein per lb
Adult endurance training or building muscle 0.5-0.8 g of protein per lb

Protein Equivalents (Data from USDA Nutrient Database)
1 cup of milk = 8 g of protein
1 egg=6 g of protein
3 oz meat = 21 g of protein
4 oz chicken breast = 35 g of protein
1 tbsp peanut butter = 4 g of protein
3.5 oz tofu, extra firm = 11 g of protein
½ cup kidney beans = 8 g of protein
½ cup hummus = 10 g of protein

Note that non-animal sources of protein can provide great sources of adequate protein. See below how a vegan diet can adequately meet protein needs (Data from The Vegetarian Resource Group).

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Now that you know how much protein your body needs each day, it’s important to make sure you space out your protein needs throughout each meal. After all, protein helps build and repair muscle, enhance your immune system, support hair and nail growth, and replace red blood cells.

Remember, the reason why bodybuilders look they way the do is because the amount of work they commit to weight training– -not the amount of protein they eat. If you don’t believe that, ask your buffest friend how many hours they spend at the gym each week.

written for Challenge Box