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What happens if you don't get enough protein?

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  • What happens if you don't get enough protein?

    I've been tracking in my fitness pal. I just looked and every day I'm below 100g of protein. If my lean body mass is about 100lbs, then I'm not getting enough. By below, I mean always below. Like here is the last week:
    43g (IF day), 81g, 77g, 39g (missed dinner), 68g, 66g, 83g.

    I may not be entering correctly since I have to guesstimate so often, but if these figures are correct, I'm not getting enough. What happens generally if you don't get enough protein? Could this explain why I can't seem to lose any weight? Or why it's so easy to feel hungry?
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    It could easily explain both. The levels you're at aren't low enough to worry about in terms of causing serious (as in life threatening) malnutrition AFAIK, but it will make it difficult for you to maintain or add lean mass--and I'm not an expert but I would assume it would lower your tissue turnover rate, making any body recomposition much slower or impossible.

    My general response to "what happens" would go something like: impaired recovery from strenuous exercise, loss of lean mass or difficulty adding mass, hunger, possibly lethargy/depressed metabolism.

    Eat more meat!

    EDIT: you're averaging about 65g/day for the week you posted. What do you think your bodyfat % is? I would guess you're getting 0.8-0.9g per lb of lean mass, which really isn't bad, but I would still definitely try to get more to see if it helps you out. I bet it will.
    Last edited by Uncephalized; 03-28-2012, 04:42 PM.
    Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

    My Primal Journal

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    • #3
      My outlying thought is, maybe the muscles aren't being "fed enough." Again, this just my outlying thought/guess.
      If you have a problem with what you read: 1. Get a dictionary 2. Don't read it 3. Grow up 4. After 3, go back to 1/ or 2. -- Dennis Blue. | "I don't care about your opinion, only your analysis"- Professor Calabrese. | "Life is more important than _______" - Drew | I eat animals that eat vegetables -- Matt Millen, former NFL Linebacker. | "This country is built on sugar & shit that comes in a box marinated in gluten - abc123

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      • #4
        Do you ever crave protein? When I tried my vegetarian experiment I kept dreaming about pot roast, I could even smell it! Took that to mean I needed some meat!

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        • #5
          An angry little dwarf will hit you in the balls with a shillelagh.

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          • #6
            This is a great topic.
            Depends on what else you are eating (fat and carbs), and how much? The more of your diet (percentage-wise) that is made up of protein foods, the more you need, because you will be using some of that protein for fuel instead of repair and recovery. Carbs are very "protein sparing" as well, and if you eat enough for your body to move around, the protein will be allowed to do what it does best. I know there are other theories, but that is just what I keep coming back to over and over again after 30 years of training. We need amino acids, the very thing our body has to break protein down to for repair and growth... and amino acids are in every food. In my experience, protein is the last of the big 3 macronutrients to be concerned about if you are eating ample amounts of healthy whole foods.
            Just my 2 cents for you - jv

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            • #7
              Protein is THE thing we should focus on first. A good quality source of protein should be the centerpiece to each meal IMO. And usually comes with an inherent 60+ percent of fat.
              Last edited by Neckhammer; 03-28-2012, 06:36 PM.

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              • #8
                I'm till conflicted on how much protein we actually need per day. I've seen studies that say only 56 grams is enough to preserve lean mass in a 200 pound man, but I see other sources saying that you should eat as much as 3 grams per kilo of weight a day. I keep it simple and have a natural protein source each meal, and it seems to working just fine.
                Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

                In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


                I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

                SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
                CW: 180 pounds

                Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                  Protein is THE thing we should focus on first. A good quality source of protein should be the centerpiece to each meal IMO. Extra protein can be used to make up for any "deficiencies" in glucose, and usually comes with an inherent 60+ percent of fat.
                  I guess we just disagree, which is fine, no worries.
                  Although necessary, protein is not an optimal source of energy, in my experience, so i tend to run on whole food carbs (and the amino acids and fats contained within), which are the easiest for our bodies, and spares the protein (or more accurately, amino acids) for building tissue.

                  I've eaten only 40-60 grams of protein a day, at 5'9" and 150 pounds (about 4% bodyfat), and am still getting stronger and building muscle, so I feel it is working for me. I train other athletes who seem to be eating similarly, with the same results.

                  I will say that folks eating a LOT of protein might consider studying some of the issues that can arise from overconsumption... it can indeed be very hard on the body.

                  Again, i share my study and experience as only one man's opinion... and i do consider all options and ides, and love studying this stuff and hearing from others on what works for them : )

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                  • #10
                    This might be worth reading, it reaches similar conclusions to a lot of things I've seen:

                    The Truth on How Much Protein You Really Need Per Day to Build Muscle | The IF Life with 2 Meal Mike
                    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

                    In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


                    I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

                    SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
                    CW: 180 pounds

                    Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by @lex View Post
                      This might be worth reading, it reaches similar conclusions to a lot of things I've seen:

                      The Truth on How Much Protein You Really Need Per Day to Build Muscle | The IF Life with 2 Meal Mike
                      That's a good read and answers a lot of questions I had. I started a strength training/high protein diet a little over a week ago and I've been struggling mightily to eat so much protein; my body seemed to just get tired of it after a certain amount, so I cut back. Glad to see that I made the right call there. I've noticed that, even without the high amounts of protein that is commonly recommended, I'm growing a little stronger.

                      Still not leaning out a lot (though I can now officially wear a medium sized shirt without looking horrible) but I don't expect immediate results, it'll probably be months before I see big changes.
                      Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

                      Current Age: 25

                      Total Loss: 126 lbs

                      Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

                      Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

                      Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

                      My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by trekfan View Post
                        That's a good read and answers a lot of questions I had. I started a strength training/high protein diet a little over a week ago and I've been struggling mightily to eat so much protein; my body seemed to just get tired of it after a certain amount, so I cut back. Glad to see that I made the right call there. I've noticed that, even without the high amounts of protein that is commonly recommended, I'm growing a little stronger.

                        Still not leaning out a lot (though I can now officially wear a medium sized shirt without looking horrible) but I don't expect immediate results, it'll probably be months before I see big changes.
                        I just looked at my own experiences and drew a few conclusions. Back in my school days I had a bench press of 370 pounds, could bang out pull ups like they were my job, and was an all around fit guy. I never ate 200 grams of protein or more to build that level of strength an athleticism, so why would I need to now? Granted, my bench has dropped down to the 275 range and pull ups aren't as easy as they used to be, but I doubt eating 100+ more grams of protein would change that, it's simply what I get for neglecting both my health and my training for a couple years. What I have noticed is that eating real food has increased my strength gains and reduced my recovery time compared to my old diet(s) when I was working out. Will I get back to my old level of strength? I don't know, but it's possible, and eating all this real and natural food might just make it easier. I'm not going to bother meticulously counting every gram of protein and stress if I miss my arbitrary target number. I'm just going to eat real food, train in a sensible way, and enjoy life.
                        Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

                        In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


                        I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

                        SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
                        CW: 180 pounds

                        Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nady View Post
                          Do you ever crave protein? When I tried my vegetarian experiment I kept dreaming about pot roast, I could even smell it! Took that to mean I needed some meat!
                          When I followed a vegan diet for a couple years, this happened quite often. Absolutely craved steak or chicken breast. When I transitioned to an ancestral diet, it was "Welcome home son..."
                          "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by @lex View Post
                            I'm just going to eat real food, train in a sensible way, and enjoy life.
                            Best thing I've heard all day. Truth.
                            Went Primal July 25th, 2011.

                            Current Age: 25

                            Total Loss: 126 lbs

                            Starting Stats: Weighed 266 lbs, Body Fat 37.6% (100 lbs), BMI 40.9

                            Current Stats: Weight 140 lbs, Body Fat 15.2% (21.1 lbs), BMI 21.2

                            Current Goals: Get a stronger core through Pilates and continue being as Primal as I can be.

                            My Weight Loss Notes Now on a blog page. It starts with "My Weight Loss: Introduction." Available to the public, share with friends if you'd like!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              your wang will fall off.

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