How much protein do you need?

So, you should just go ahead and know that I know everything there is to know and I'm going to change your life with this post. There have been debates for decades, but I'm going to really tell you the truth in this blog. JUST KIDDINGGGGG! Truly, this is just my opinions and what I've seen work with the clients that I work with. 

Everyone knows that you need protein, and for the majority of the population, this is an annoyance more than it's an enjoyance. Most people want more carbs and fats, and just have to shove the protein down. I'm not one of those people and I genuinely enjoy protein. However, I don't like LOVE meat, and I honestly have tried to really reduce my meat consumption completely. My protein sources comes mostly from egg whites (used in recipes-sandwiches, waffles) and I eat fish, protein bars, lean ground turkey, lean ground beef, a little bit of chicken every day, pork tenderloin, turkey jerky, greek yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese. I get small amounts of protein from other carb sources, but I'm a protein junky. 

I've read a lot of different articles about the amount of protein that you need, and it really does vary based on who you are and your situation and your goals. If you are a marathon runner then your protein goals are going to be vastly differently than a bodybuilder which is going to be different from someone who is just looking to lose weight. This is why a cookie cutter meal plan/tell you what to eat never works because there are specific requirements (proteins, fats, carbs) that each individual needs based on many patient specific factors. 

The requirements that you will find state that you need about 0.8g/kg-1g/kg of body weight in protein. In clinical trials, this is the amount of protein that was shown to help patients maintain the amount of lean muscle that they currently had. This was the MINIMUM amount of protein that an individual should have to not deplete muscle. To me, this is a very low amount of protein as this would only be about 38-45g of protein per day! HA! I eat 135-155g of protein per day. However, do I think that I need as much as I eat? Probably not. Do I think that it will harm me? No. 

So, first I think that you need to look at your goals. If you are looking to lose weight, then I definitely think that your protein should be higher around 1g/lb. This is not a definite and there are no studies that say "this is the amount that will cause you to lose weight" because that just is impossible to do with all of the other factors that go into everyone's weight loss (muscle mass/metabolisms/diet restrictions). This is something that I have just seen successfully in working with clients. However, you have to really use critical thinking logic on this. If you weigh 250lbs, then no you do NOT need 250g of protein per day. Normally, the recommendation for protein (again for the minimum amount to maintain the muscle you have without it wasting away) would be around 10-35% of your total caloric intake. 10%??? I just don't see you getting much of anywhere with that, so I normally recommend 30% of your calories to come from protein. 

I also think that it's a common misconception that you can eat some extravagant amount of protein and that is going to somehow just magically put muscle on your body (like 200+g) even when at a low carb intake. You need carbs as well to build muscle which I normally recommend 35-45% of your intake to be from carbs. It is hard to write an article such as this because there are so many variables. Are you wanting to just strictly put on muscle with no regards for body fat? Well then maybe more carbs and more of a dirty bulk? I don't get many girls (if any) that want to do a dirty bulk (just maybe my husband HA). Are you wanting to lean out while "toning"? All of this matters when determining your protein needs. This is another reason that it is very hard to make a cookie cutter "what do I eat" plan for people. 

I get that request all of the time. I am asked to tell someone EXACTLY what to eat. While this may be successful in the very beginning, this is not sustainable and this is not going to be customized to the nutrition that you will need if I'm just making up a program that doesn't customize for your height, weight, age, metabolism, goals, etc. 

Lastly, there is NO reason that a small girl needs 150+ grams of protein per day. If this is what you prefer, then that's okay and there probably won't be consequences with too much and affecting your kidneys however, the only time in clinical trials that this amount of protein is ever needed is in someone such as a burn victim or other disease states/illnesses. It just isn't necessary and supplementing the rest of your nutrition in carbs and fat is going to benefit you much more in the long run. 

I hope this clarifies or maybe just confuses you more on your protein intake, but the overall golden standard I think that MOST should shoot for is 1g/lb. This seems impossible for some that feel like they can't even get 100g in one day. I thought that I would name some of my favorite protein sources. I would like to say that I do not consume large amounts of meat...at all. If you have carbs to work with you can even add in things such as pea protein powders, seitan, tempeh, or tofu (vegan meats) and still get plenty of protein in.

My favorites are: egg whites (I put them in waffles and sandwiches with fat free cheese), grilled chicken (but normally only have 2oz per day and I prepare the chicken in a million different ways), lean ground beef made into burgers with fat free cheese and normal buns (93% lean found at Walmart or any other grocery store), lean ground turkey (make taco salads, burgers, mixed with rice, beans and salsa), pork tenderloin, turkey jerky (If you click, you will find the amazon link to this but you can find this in Walmart check out line), beef jerky sticks, STEAK (love a good lean steak), quest bars or any other protein bars, minimal protein powder (I only use protein powder in recipes NOT just with water-YUCK DISGUSTING), Muscle Milk Light (100 calorie bottles found at Walmart in the protein powder section), fat free cheese, turkey pepperoni, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, shrimp, tilapia, cod, salmon, soy milk, turkey breasts, tuna, BACON, chorizo (a little higher in fat), and chicken sausage.

These are the ones that are mostly ONLY protein then of course you have the ones that have carbs as well. My point is: protein is really not all that hard to reach and yes, it takes effort and yes, it takes going outside of the box of the normal things that you eat, but I promise you that if you just try some different things, you will find protein sources that you love. 

with love and protein, 

Katie

We don't believe in spam but only in infrequent emails we think will help you!

* indicates required