Your daily protein consumption is essential for the overall functioning and health of your body. If you are looking to improve your body’s performance or appearance, build muscle or lose fat then the amount of protein you consume daily is even more crucial. The question now comes when you want to know how much you should take in terms of your specific goal, your diet, or your needs.
Daily-Recommended Protein Intake
The usual recommendations for protein you should take daily when trying to enhance your health and body tend to fall within the same range. Most of the time, the recommended range for most people is:
Ideal Daily Protein Intake= 0.8-1.5 grams per pound of your body weight
This range is quite broad so here are some daily recommendations for various goals and situations.
a) The recommended daily minimum protein intake for a healthy average sedentary adult not on any workout regimen or lacking any related goals for overall function and health would be 0.5-0.7 grams per pound of their body weight.
b) The recommended daily minimum protein intake for a healthy average adult undertaking some form of regular exercise or trying to improve their body would be 0.8-1 gram per pound of their body weight.
c) The recommended daily minimum protein intake for a healthy average adult female looking to enhance performance, increase strength, lose fat, maintain muscle, become toned, and build muscle would be 1-1.2 grams per pound of their body weight.
d) The recommended daily minimum protein intake for a healthy average adult male looking to enhance performance, increase strength, lose fat, maintain muscle, become toned, and build muscle would be 1-1.5 grams per pound of their body weight.
If in doubt then the standard recommendation of 1 gram per pound of your body weight is an appropriate protein intake for a majority of people.
In order to determine your daily protein intake, you should multiply your weight in pounds by the recommended amount as mentioned above.
In cases of very overweight people, the ideal protein intake will be exaggerated if the current body weight is used to calculate because of the excess amount of fat in the body. In this case, for genuinely obese individuals, the target body weight is what will be used instead. As long as one stays within this ideal range of their daily protein intake then it will produce the best possible results. The typical healthy diet offers sufficient protein for most people but it might be beneficial to increase protein intake from protein supplements and dietary protein if you are exercising for fat loss or to build muscle. If you are looking to lose weight, boosting your dietary protein intake can help to maintain lean muscle mass and lose more fat. This can explain why high-protein low-carb diets are so popular. However, it is also crucial to leave room in your diet for other important nutrients. Ensure you are also eating sufficient minerals, vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates, and fat for your body to remain energized and function optimally.
Protein Source Quality and Digestion Rate
One of the main concerns among people who train regularly is the digestive rate of their protein sources.
Digestion usually begins in the mouth when you break down the food you consume after which the stomach takes over in the process. Gastric acid in the stomach breaks down proteins activating important digestion enzymes i.e. chymotrypsin and pepsin to cleave the protein into smaller polypeptides. The polypeptides are further broken down in the duodenum into dipeptides, isolated amino acids, and tri-peptides that can head to the liver or enter the intestinal cells. in the liver, the amino acids can be directed to various metabolic pathways based on your body’s energy requirements. Not all short peptides and isolated amino acids will be directed towards new muscle protein synthesis (MPS). It will be used for other bodily biological roles. However, eating too much protein in a specific meal will probably result in most of these amino acids undergoing oxidization and being sent to the liver for excretion or gluconeogenesis.
The Role of Protein
Protein’s functions in the body comprise more than repair of muscle tissues. It also involves the regulation of blood clotting, oxygen transport, nutrient transportation, protection from disease, maintaining water balance in the body, digestion, muscle contraction or movement, regulating hormone secretion, as well as hair, and red blood cell growth. Protein is essential for overall bodily health and function.
The Type of Protein Taken
Not all protein forms are similar and there are three essential factors to keep in mind in terms of protein consumption to build muscle.
– Various protein forms have varying amounts of the essential amino acids required by the body
– Some protein forms are used up by the body better than others are
– Various protein forms are digested at differing speeds
When defining what makes a protein source higher in quality, we are looking for a protein that optimizes muscle protein synthesis in a specific meal and a protein that is well digested and absorbed.
High-quality protein sources include:
– Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, cashews, and almonds
– Dairy: low-fat yogurt, whey protein isolate, milk, and cottage cheese
– Fish: white fish, salmon, or canned tuna
– Poultry: free-range eggs, turkey breast, chicken breast, or ground turkey
– Red meat: sirloin, top round, ground beef, lean steak
If a protein has a higher biological value then more of it is absorbed and used for building new muscle tissue. The muscle protein synthesis is stimulated differentially in proportion to the food’s essential amino acid profile, especially L-leucine, which is the main amino acid responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis leading to muscular adaptations. Taking several incomplete protein sources in one meal can still bring about a maximum MPS response as long as you take in the relevant essential amino acids. Mixing different protein sources may actually be more efficient than relying on one constant protein source for your needs. If you find it challenging to get sufficient levels of protein from dietary sources, you can take advantage of protein supplements to attain your numbers. Add some flavored whey powder to your muffins, smoothies, or oatmeal. You can even take a protein bar as a snack; vegetable-based proteins alternatives are available for people who do not take dairy foods. Considering high-protein foods are usually low in fiber, you should also increase fiber intake to ensure your digestive system is functioning properly. Green vegetables like asparagus, kale, and broccoli are high in fiber and can be taken with other protein sources such as chicken or steak.
The Timing of Your Protein Intake
Even though it is good to take protein all through the day in your diet, it is more important to eat protein before a strength training session or afterwards. An adequate amount of protein can help to enhance muscle strength and size when taken before a workout, post-workout, or both. Protein shakes are beneficial for this purpose. You can also plan for protein-rich snacks and meals before your training session and afterwards. There are people who experience stomach upsets if they eat before working out so it is best to experiment and find out what the best approach is for you. In order to maximize muscle recovery, it is also recommended to eat protein before going to bed. Eating slow-digesting proteins such as casein or casein powder, which is found in dairy products, can help to enhance muscle protein synthesis as you sleep. This will help you wake up well recovered from the previous workout and ready to conquer your next one.
Your frequency of protein intake is not important as long as you are hitting your daily-recommended numbers. You will not go catabolic if you do not take protein more frequently; frequent intake of proteins also will not help you with muscle building. If you like eating three large meals daily after several hours then do it. If you also prefer eating smaller meals throughout the day then you can also do that.
The above-mentioned suggestions concerning dietary protein intake to build muscle are a starting point for people who are actively training to build muscle. Various factors such as anabolic steroid use, genetics, age, sex, and body mass will define your specific protein requirements. You can also experiment in order to discover the optimal protein intake suited for your body.