HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I BE EATING?
Protein is essential if you want to shed fat or build muscle. And you don’t have to eat an entire cow to see the benefit. Protein triggers protein synthesis – how we build muscle tissue. But it also jumps up your metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity and releases hormones that tell you you’re full and can stop eating.
And in order to start the muscle building synthesis, you need about 20-30 grams at each meal. In the case of protein, more does not necessarily mean your muscle tissue will grow faster. But you still need enough to create enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and other necessary things. So it’s better to have a little extra than not enough. Plus, the extra protein you get is stored in your muscles as energy to be used later.
Most people maintain a healthy weight by eat about .8g grams of protein per pound of body weight. But if you’re looking for fat loss, then you likely need between 1- 2 grams per pound you weight. The best rule of thumb for protein for fat loss is 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (and if you aren’t sure your lean mass, there are many calculators online that can help you find this number).
For folks that aren’t used to eating much protein, this can seem like a lot. And sometimes those folks ask me if that much meat (or fish or chicken or whey) will make them gain weight. And here’s the thing: eating too much of anything could lead to weight gain. If you increase your protein and start noticing weight gain, then it’s probably because of what you eat with the it, not actually the protein itself. If weight gain happens when you boost your intake, look at how many calories, carbs and other foods you’re eating and make sure it all stays balanced with your needs. If your adding more protein, you should be subtracting something else (and usually that means carbs). You want to eat enough to keep you fueled but not so much you gain weight.
So moral of the story: aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass and aim to get at least 20-30 grams at each meal.
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