How Much Protein Should I Eat?

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03/08/2024

You are building your workout routine, and now are thinking how much protein should I eat? It is important to support your body to maintain and build strength, help with body composition, and for energy throughout the day.

What is protein?

It is a macronutrient, that keeps our body tissue strong and can be used as an energy source.

How much should I eat?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends you consume 0.8g per kg of body weight (0.35g/lb) for maintenance and 1.2-1.7g per kg of body weight (0.5-0.8g/lb) to increase muscle mass.1

When is the best time to consume protein?

There have been many research articles on this over the years, with the old belief that you needed to consume protein within two hours of working out for the best possible results. However, recent research says otherwise:

A study found that groups consuming before exercise (and not within 3 hours after exercise), had similar changes in body composition and strength compared to the group that consumed protein after exercise.2

There were shown to have a positive impact of protein supplementation of lean body mass of older adults independent of the timing of protein intake.3

Protein timing had no effect on lean mass, strength, and functional capacity gains over an eight-week study.4

What does this information mean?

The timing of your protein consumption is likely not as important as the amount you are eating throughout the day.

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References

1. Catalado D, Blair M. Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance. Acsm.org. https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/protein-intake-for-optimal-muscle-maintenance.pdf?sfvrsn=688d8896_2. Published 2015. Accessed January 11, 2021.

2. Schoenfeld et al (2017), Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations. PeerJ 5:e2825; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2825.

3. Wirth J, Hillesheim E, Brennan L. The Role of Protein Intake and its Timing on Body Composition and Muscle Function in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Nutr. 2020;150(6):1443-1460. doi:10.1093/jn/nxaa049.

4. de Branco F, Carneiro M, Rossato L et al. Protein timing has no effect on lean mass, strength and functional capacity gains induced by resistance exercise in postmenopausal women: A randomized clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition. 2020;39(1):57-66. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2019.01.008.