How Much Protein is REALLY Necessary
It could be just the remnants of the SAD way of life refusing to let go but I've always had the understanding that you should have protein at each meal and every day. Now, I've spent the last three years reading book after book, listening to podcast after podcast, reviewing website and forums and have found varying thoughts on the amount of protein and I'm confused.
I understand that with Primal/Paleo WOE you should be focusing on less/no processed carbs and more good fats but I just heard yet another theory that says that you don't need to eat MEAT each day. Their theory was that it was better to eat meat 4-5 times a week and make sure it's organic and grass-fed (or cage-free, etc) than to eat mass-produced meat and eggs at each meal. The general thought is you don't need THAT much protein and it's better to ensure that the quality of the meat is better than the quantity.
The quality of my meat is an issue, as I just can't afford to be eating Primally AND making sure my meat products are the best. Each week I ensure that at least my chicken is the best possible, but the beef, eggs, and occasional pork is not.
So, my question is then just how much protein do we really need daily, weekly, etc? Do any of you find that you now eat less meat and still feel great, are healthy, and have lost weight?
How much do you "really" need to do what?
If you wanna retain lean mass while losing fat you need more protein. If you wanna put on lean mass you need more. If your just maintaining your status quo you don't need as much. If you don't mind losing lean mass while you drop fat just to get the scale to go down you also don't need as much.
Agree 100%. If you want to be lean and slim, you don't need that much protein. If you want decent muscle mass, then you absolutely need a fair amount of protein. The body self regulates muscle mass based upon how much protein you receive (as well as other things like hormones, calories, etc).
Originally Posted by Neckhammer
Something to keep in mind is that having respectable muscle mass (I'm not talking about bodybuilders, natural or supplemented, mind you) does have plenty of health benefits such as metabolism boosts, increased insulin sensitivity, etc. Having some mass is healthy as long as you aren't eating crap, binge eating, or otherwise abusing your body for maximum muscle gain.
"Recently a meta-analysis of 235 non-athletic individuals gathered from 19 nitrogen balance studies for estimating protein requirements in healthy adults found the median estimated average requirement (EAR), and 97.5th percentile (RDA) to be 105 mg N∙ kg-1 ∙ d-1, and 132 mgN ∙ kg-1 ∙ d-1 respectively (2). This corresponds to 0.65 and 0.83 g good quality protein ∙ kg-1 ∙ d-1, or 52 g and 66.4 g per day respectively for an 80 kg individual."
The amount of protein you eat is really going to depends on what your goals are. If you want to put on lots of lean mass, you're going to want to eat more. If you're just worried about money, the cheaper cuts of meat are going to provide plenty of protein and nutrition, even if they're not the highest quality. I don't eat much animal protein at the moment (begrudgingly), and I feel fine. You should be fine eating it only once a day or even less than that if it's what you can afford.
Actually you don't need to eat anything each day.
Originally Posted by bellajgw
With adequate carb intake, protein needs are pretty low. Somewhere around 40-60g a day for an average size male. If you are doing heavy strength training it will raise a bit but not as much as conventional wisdom would have you think.
Now if you dont eat adequate carbs then your protein requirements will go up.
Elaborate on that?
Originally Posted by Zach
Your body will use the protein for glucose if you are not consuming carbs. If you want to spare lean mass on a low carb diet, your protein requirements will have to go up.
Am i wrong, Neckhammer?
I am not Neckhammer, but you are right! The body need glucose all the time and it can get very little or nothing from fat, so it must get it either from carbohydrates or from proteins. If it can't get glucose from ingested carbs or protein it must break down lean body tissue to get it...
Originally Posted by Zach