Just like the other macro-nutrients (carbohydrates and fats), protein is heavily debated in the diet industry. People everywhere are often finding themselves very confused with how much protein they really should be eating to see success with their fat loss and/or muscle building efforts.
Do you need the often recommended one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day? Or is less protein needed as long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet?
Let’s take a closer peek into the main things that you should know about protein as it relates to your diet plan.
Protein And Muscle Building
The very first thing that we need to think about is how protein relates to muscle building. Some people often get stuck in the thought pattern that the more protein they eat, the faster they will build lean muscle mass.
This, however, isn’t the case. While you definitely do need to meet your protein requirements to successfully build lean muscle, if you take in more than you need, your body isn’t automatically going to automatically turn it into more lean muscle tissue.
There is a limit as to how much protein the body can use to help build lean muscle in any given day. Any more consumed over and above this will be converted to body fat or used as energy.
So what are your protein requirements? Active individuals will require more protein than sedentary individuals, to the tune of 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass per day.
Note that if you are on a lower calorie diet for fat loss reasons, you may actually need even a little more protein than that as there is a higher chance that protein will be used up for energy and that means less is left over to maintain your muscle mass.
Protein And Safety
Finally, the last thing to consider is protein and safety. A lot of people tend to believe that high protein diets will place the kidneys in great harm. While an extremely high protein intake (more than two grams per pound of body weight) could cause some health concerns, if you’re already a healthy individual, there is little cause for concern.
Most people do fine with intakes up to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight each day – not that you need to be taking in this much, but if you do, you shouldn’t have to worry about stress to your kidneys or any risk of a major health implication.
Higher protein diets do tend to cause dehydration though, so just be sure that you drink more water on the days you are eating more protein.
So there you have the main things to note and remember about your protein intake. Protein is a very important nutrient on your diet plan so it is important that you get your facts straight. As always, if you have question, consult with a doctor, nutritionist, or qualified personal trainer.