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  • protein need

    First of all, thank you all for being here and being supportive. You all have been a great help as I still learn the ropes.

    My question now is how much protein should I consume? I read Mark's guide that stated .5 g per lb of lean body weight, and up to 1 g for the active.

    I have also read advocates of gauging protein on percentage of calorie intake, i.e., 15% of total calorie intake.

    My problem is that I am drastically underweight and so am consuming an inordinate amount of calories for my body weight. If I eat protein according to Mark, I would require 39 g of protein at .5 or 77 at 1 g (yes, I am dangerously underweight). However, if I judge it by the percentage of caloric intake at 15% total, I should get 86 grams--a lot more than the 39 or 77.

    I have heard that protein is the building block of the body, and I am trying to put on weight. But I have heard it is DANGEROUS to consume too much protein as well--it begins leaching from bones as too much is passed and I can't remember all.

    In short, how much protein is good? Is it better to base on body weight or on caloric intake? How much is dangerous? What is healthy to put on weight?

    Related, but not quite, is if I do reduce protein from 86 down to somewhere b/w 39 and 77, is it better to replace that with carbs or fat? (I get about 170 g. carbs right now, and the rest--about 50% of caloric intake--from fats).

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    also.... in total protein count, would you count grams of protein found in other foods than meat? i.e., a cup of brussel sprouts has 1 g. of protein, a potato (yes, I do eat safe starches) has 2 g. protein, etc. Do those count?


    • #3
      You'd have to eat over 250g of protein for it to be dangerous... I know I can't eat that much if I tried.

      Eat foods high in protein and fat until you're full and when you're hungry, and don't focus so much energy on counting! Seriously, this sort of stuff stresses people and that's not a good thing.

      What's a typical food day for you?


      • #4
        gotta agree, don't worry about counting so much

        concentrate on fat and protein together


        • #5
          Thank you... I should 'worry" less, but my body is shutting down and health is in such precarious balance, adn doctors haven't been much help. So I worry more than I should. And it is more complicated b/c I am so underweight but consuming so much calories, the recommended can be different for that situation.

          Allenete, you ask what typical food day is for me--I try for around 50-60% fat, 30% carbs from veggies and safe starches, and 15% protein.


          • #6
            total calories approx? how much weight needed to gain?

            doctors weren't much help! hmm, where did I hear that before?


            • #7
              I should weigh at least 33 lbs. more than I do know at minimum.

              Right now I am eating 2,500 calories a day. Despite taking betaine HCL and enzymes, i have trouble digesting food; the doctors just say "unknown malabsorption." I am seeing a new doctor next week, one who I found on the paleo physicians network and praying she can help-- my body is at such a low weight and has been for so long I am afraid it is starting to shut down, i.e., not producing the stomach acid and enzymes it needs, which just deprives it further nad leaches from the muscles and bones....


              • #8
                Have they done an endoscopy for celiac?


                • #9
                  yup--colonoscopies, celiac sprue, endocsopies, barium tests, swallowing tests, stomach mobility tests, parasite tests, etc... more tests than i care to have had!!!! I do eat grain free and gluten free b/c i feel better--i do notice less bloating if i do NOT eat gluten or corn, etc.

                  but it is b/c of the drastic difference b/w my weight and my caloric intake that i am concerned about protein intake.


                  • #10
                    I'm afraid that I know next to nothing about the complications you're having, but I do know there's more to it than saying "eat more". So I'm very hesitant to offer any advice.


                    • #11
                      Hey grea_bird, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I hope what I say might help you:

                      More and more I'm beginning to believe that homeostasis thrives off variability. It certainly seems true for our musculo-skeletal systems (varying challenge and then rest) and I more and more am thinking the same for our metabolism.

                      What does this mean for you? I would vary up the challenges you give your metabolism within acceptable parameters that you define.

                      how would you do this?
                      If you decided that an acceptable range for your protein intake might be 50g - 150g well I would vary this in your diet to both extremes on occasion to provide a challenge and also eat at some middle point (say your 87g) a little more often to provide rest. You could do this for your other macro's also.

                      I would also vary up your calorie intake, decide on some outside parameters and vary up how much food you eat within those parameters.

                      Varying how often you eat (grazing all day to 2 main meals) might also give your digestion systems a different challenge that it might find easier or harder.

                      See with your reduced body size you might have a reduced daily calorie need (than what is decided to be normal on the internet). You might actually be overworking your metabolism by providing too much food, too constantly, it mightn't be getting enough rest.

                      Our consious minds aren't very good at controlling our bodily systems. What I mean is, even though you have taken advice from someone as learned as Mark Sisson on nutrition, he cannot decide what is right for every one. Therefore your conscious mind has given your metabolism a very narrow band to operate in, on a daily basis, this is represented by your 55% 30% 15% @ 2500 cals numbers, they are just that, numbers. If you embrace variability you are effectively giving your metabolism and body a wide range of parameters to find its own path. Also by taking your metabolism off its prefered path every now and then, your systems get better at getting back to where it wants to be, it gets more robust.

                      hope that is a little bit of a help.
                      A little primal gem - My Success Story
                      Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)


                      • #12
                        Thank you dilberryhoundog--variety is the spice of life. It will be worth a try. no one else has suggested i might be overtaxing the digestive system--it is always "eat more" but i'm never hungry....maybe that is my body telling me something, but i have also been told it is too starved i cannot trust its signals...


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by grae_bird View Post
                          Thank you dilberryhoundog--variety is the spice of life. It will be worth a try. no one else has suggested i might be overtaxing the digestive system--it is always "eat more" but i'm never hungry....maybe that is my body telling me something, but i have also been told it is too starved i cannot trust its signals...
                          No worries glad to help.

                          Yeah I believe the human body can do some amazing things when provided the conditions it basically evolved out of over a couple of millions of years, (certain foods, varied food availability, varied physical challenges etc. etc.). but in your case it might not be that simple, you might have an actual condition that prevents you from reaching homestasis. Either way, providing the right conditions that your body expects (through evolution) can't hurt provided you monitor your self carefully. Mark has given you most of this info, for example the primal food list.
                          Again I think where your getting mixed up, is in how to apply this food info. There probably has been many thousands of people trying to "Hack" the blueprint to lose weight, here's a few you might have seen; Regular intermittent fasting, daily calorie deficiencies, pure potato short term diet, going into ketosis etc etc, numbers and ratio's get thrown about alot in the quest for optimal fat burning. None of this really applies to you, As I suggested in my other post, my advice would be to let your systems guide you (with care). Give your metabolism a wide range of operating parameters (changing - macro's, food amounts, food timings) and listen to its response, let it find normal. Once you know where normal is, you can then throw in little challenges every now and then to strengthen it, then going back to "normal" to rest your metabolism.

                          Check the the last half of my success story (linked in my sig) for more info and I also made a thread a few days back explaining some of this stuff in more detail: Applying fitness principles to your diet.

                          hope that helps
                          A little primal gem - My Success Story
                          Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)