The very name of proteins has a meaning: it derives from the Greek word ‘protos’ and means ‘first’ or ‘elementary’. Indeed, protein is an elementary component of a healthy diet and, along with carbohydrates and fats, is one of the most important nutrients. The body needs the individual components of protein – amino acids – to build muscles, organs, connective tissue, bones, and cells and to maintain the proper functioning of the immune system.
How much protein per day should we consume?
Is it best to eat a lot of protein to build muscles and keep a slim figure permanently? Yes, but… as usual, it is about the right combination. Too much protein can hurt your body. The decisive factor is what proteins you provide your body with – whether they’re animal or plant-based – and whether you keep a healthy lifestyle.
How much protein per day should we consume? The protein supply recommended by nutritionists for an adult is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. However, this is the minimum requirement that should be covered by healthy people with low or irregular physical activity. Not every effort and not every training will increase the demand for protein but remember that the more training based on working on muscles such as training on machines, the higher this demand is.
The facts tell us that in the case of a person with a bodyweight of about 70 kg, about 300 g of protein is replaced daily, which is as much as 1-2% of body proteins. Does this mean that the same amount should be consumed daily so that no muscle breakdown occurs? Of course not, because knowing the pattern of protein metabolism in the body, we know that some of them are obtained by our cells from the food we supply, and some from the pool of so-called body proteins (tissue proteins). Your body needs at least a minimum of 0.8 g of protein per kilo of body weight. So, if you weigh 70 kilograms, you should consume about 70 grams of protein per day – even more if you are physically active. This will cover your daily needs and build healthy muscles. Remember that your muscles consist of about 20 percent protein.
The factors that affect daily protein demand
The body’s need for protein depends on various factors, depending not only on the individual characteristics of the body but also on the quality and composition of the diet. The factor that affects daily protein demand include:
- Level of physical activity
- The state of the energy economy
- Physiological condition, such as pregnancy
A protein requirement is an amount that provides a certain surplus of amino acids to provide enough of all exogenous types of these compounds regardless of their value in individual products. The recommendations on protein intake have been formulated in the context of dietary habits typical of developed countries. According to many sources, the recommended daily intake of protein in healthy, minimally active adults (over 19 years of age) is 0.8 g per kg due, i.e. appropriate for weight gain. The demand for protein can also be defined as a percentage of the energy it provides in the diet. In a balanced menu, it is 15-20 percent of calories, which with a standard consumption of 2000 kcal per day gives a dose of min. 75 g of protein per day.
Recommendations for protein per day intake are not consistent with each other. There is often talk of a minimum dose of 50 g per day, which also results from weight calculations, while studies show that with a sufficient supply of calories from the diet even less protein is sufficient. Thus, higher doses of protein are required for malnutrition (which, due to the weakening of appetite, often affects the elderly), disease and convalescence – the demand for this component may be 1.2-1.5 g/kg.
The protein intake standard for people over 65 years of age is 1.2 g/kg body weight. The demand for protein increases with the level of physical activity: for a moderately active person it is 1.4 g/kg, and for a continually active person it is 1.6 g/kg to 2 g/kg. In short-term studies, the tolerable protein doses were 3.5 g or even 4.4 g/kg, although in the long run such consumption usually has negative health consequences.
However, it has been proven that an intake not exceeding 2 g of protein/kg is rarely associated with intestinal, liver, kidney, or circulatory system disorders. In the case of people without previous abnormalities of kidney function, no effect of protein on their functioning was found when they consumed for 6 months about 25 percent of energy in the form of this component – nor when taking 90-120 g of protein daily. However, it should be remembered that a sudden introduction of large doses of protein into a diet so far poor in this component has adverse health effects because the body then lacks sufficient amounts of enzymes to remove ammonia – a toxic by-product of amino acid metabolism.
Protein makes you happy!
Our body needs it to build muscles, organs, connective tissue, bones and cells, and a healthy immune system. However, protein can do more. How much protein per day is needed to build muscles and keep you slim? As always, everything comes down to the right proportions! Too much protein can do more harm than good. The deciding factor is also which proteins you supply to your body. A positive side effect of a balanced, protein-rich diet: it gives you a feeling of satiety for longer than carbohydrates, allows your muscles to grow, and ensures firmer skin. Your body and you feel good. Your soul is also happy because the hormone of good mood serotonin is produced by the amino acid present in the protein, among others.
In other words: protein makes you happier and you feel better!
Protein – from animal or plant products
Fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products provide animal protein, but often contain a lot of fat. Soya and legumes, as well as seeds, potatoes, and cereals, are vegetable, rather low-fat sources of protein.
At most half of the daily protein requirement should be covered by products of animal origin by selecting lean alternatives. Excess animal protein is stored in the body in connective tissue and blood vessels, as well as affecting metabolism and kidneys. Let us do a small review of products rich in protein:
- Egg (x1) – 7 grams of protein
- Turkey (per 100g) – 21 grams of protein
- Salmon (per 100g) – 20 grams of protein
- Brussels Sprouts (per 100g) – 3 grams of protein
- Potatoes (per 100g) – 2 grams of protein
- Lentils (per 100g) – 27 grams of protein
- Tofu (per 100g) – 8 grams of protein
- Cottage cheese (per 100g) – 13 grams of protein
- Almonds (per 100g) – 19 grams of protein
- Tuna (per 100g) – 24.4 grams of protein
- Milk powder (per 100g) – 33.2 grams of protein
- Red caviar (per 100g) – 31.5 grams of protein
It is worth mentioning that the products containing animal protein should cover a maximum of half of the daily protein requirement, with a choice of lean variations. Excess animal protein is deposited by the body in connective tissue and blood vessels and puts a strain on the metabolism and kidneys.
A balanced combination of animal and plant proteins is therefore ideal. In this way, you can achieve the highest biological value. If you play sports, your body needs 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 70 kg, you should consume about 70 g of protein per day. This way, you will cover your daily requirements and be able to build your muscles healthily, as your muscles consist of about 20 percent protein.
Protein: a factor of happiness
A positive side effect of a balanced, protein-rich diet is that it sucks more than carbohydrates, allows the muscles to develop, and affects skin firmness. In short, you and your body feel good. Your soul is also happy: the hormone of good humor – serotonin – is made up of amino acids – a protein-rich diet makes you happy!
Protein as a source of energy?
What happens when we eat too much protein per day or additionally support our diet with protein nutrients without the need? Well, there are unique processes in the body, because of which too much protein is used for energy processes in the gluconeogenesis pathway. In simple terms, this means that even if your diet is based solely on protein and is a low or medium carbohydrate diet, thanks to appropriate enzymes, your body will transform the excess amino acids into glucose, the energy material. Therefore, even if you do not consume glucose, it can be produced in the liver and kidneys from certain amino acids (e.g. phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, isoleucine). A long-lasting high-protein diet overloads these organs, so it is better to include valuable complex carbohydrates, from which glucose is much easier to obtain.
Can you overdose protein?
First, it should be emphasized that the determination of an adequate protein supply depends on many factors, such as age, health condition, body weight, or even the degree of physical activity. Therefore, its amount in the diet should always be determined individually. Is it possible that there is too much protein in our daily diet?
Increased protein intake does not harm the kidneys or liver. Of course, we are talking about healthy, physically active people without the dysfunction of these organs. However, an increased supply of protein from the diet increases glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which, if unfavorable for kidney disease, in people with normal kidney function, can only be an adaptive mechanism of high protein intake and does not necessarily have to be associated with a decrease in kidney function.
The safety of using larger amounts of protein should always be indicated. Moreover, not everyone needs a high protein diet. The appearance of these symptoms should arouse our vigilance:
- A feeling of indigestion
- Stomach pains
- Mood changes such as irritability, nervousness, or concentration disorders
What is more, instead of eating large amounts of protein “just in case”, it is safer to use a study-proven dietary strategy that will maximize their use by the body. Compared to when most of this ingredient is eaten as part of an evening meal (this is typical of a Western-style diet), the distribution of protein portions evenly between the 3 main meals results in an increase of up to 25 percent in the rate of production of own protein in the skeletal muscles. It is much better when protein is present in snacks, such as nuts or kernels.
The best advice, in this case, is to reduce the protein supply in the diet to well-tolerated levels.
When to use protein supplements?
The good news is that for a non-trained person, the daily protein per day supply is not so important, but it is enough to focus on high-density products that contain full value amino acids. In more active people, more proteins are exchanged during the day, so we need to introduce more proteins into our diet and control their quality.
If you think there is a lot of protein in your diet, but you are still hungry, pay attention to the type of protein you eat, because not every protein is equal.
protein per day
If your goal is to gain pure muscle mass and reduce body fat, it is good to eat more protein per day and choose the right training. We recommend eating a minimum of 1g per kg of protein to improve your body composition. It should be remembered that the process of regeneration and expansion of muscle tissue is not only responsible for the meal after training but many more components such as the daily supply of protein, energy, amount and hygiene of sleep, and many others that form a single unit. The only thing to suggest is that after a hard workout, it will be worth taking a larger portion of protein at a time to maximize muscle protein synthesis and optimize regeneration processes.
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