Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Apr

How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?

RibsI get a lot of emails on a lot of subjects. “Mark, is toothpaste Primal?” “How many micrograms of wheat germ agglutinin can I safely consume each day?” “Did Grok even lift?” Usually, I manage to address them in the Monday Dear Mark posts, but sometimes a question deserves its own dedicated midweek post. Today’s question, or rather pair of questions, definitely qualifies. First is the titular question, “How much protein should I eat?” I get that one a lot, even though I’ve covered this in my books and in various blog posts. The second question is “How much protein do you eat, Mark?” Before we get to my protein intake (which has changed in recent years) let’s explore how much protein you should be eating. The answer – wait for it – depends on who (and what) you are. Your goals, your age, your activity levels, your size, and your health status all impact how much protein you need. And although individual protein requirements ultimately depend on dozens of variables that we can’t really know, there are some baseline intakes that can serve as a foundation for different groups. Let’s take a look.

The Sedentary

The RDA of 0.8 g protein/kg bodyweight or 0.36 g protein/lb bodyweight assumes you are sedentary, uninterested in gaining muscle, and free of health issues that might compromise your lean mass. If that describes you, the RDA is a good baseline from which to experiment. Just don’t go below that.

The Active

Athletes need more protein than the average person, but perhaps not as much as most fitness enthusiasts think (or consume). A 2011 paper on optimal protein intakes for athletes concluded that 1.8 g protein/kg bodyweight (or 0.8 g protein/lb bodyweight) maximizes muscle protein synthesis (while higher amounts are good for dieting athletes interested in preserving lean mass), whereas another settled on “a diet with 12-15% of its energy as protein,” assuming “total energy intake is sufficient to cover the high expenditures caused by daily training” (which could be quite high). One study even found benefit in 2-3 g protein/kg bodyweight (0.9-1.4 g protein/lb bodyweight) for athletes, a significant increase over standard recommendations. That said, I wouldn’t be too quick to discount anecdotal evidence or “iron lore.” A significant-enough portion of the strength training community swears by 1-2 g protein/lb bodyweight that it couldn’t hurt to try if lower amounts aren’t working for you.

The Dieters

Weight loss involves a caloric deficit (whether arrived at spontaneously or consciously). Unfortunately, caloric deficits rarely discriminate between lean mass and body fat, while most people are interested in losing fat, not muscle/bone/tendon/sinew/organ. Numerous studies show that increasing your protein intake during weight loss will partially offset the lean mass loss that tends to occur. In obese and pre-obese women, a 750 calorie diet with 30% of calories from protein (about 56 grams) preserved more lean mass during weight loss than an 18% protein diet. Another study in women showed that a 1.6 g protein/kg bodyweight (or 0.7 g protein/lb bodyweight) diet led to more weight loss, more fat loss, and less lean mass loss than a 0.8 g protein/kg bodyweight diet. Among dieting athletes, 2.3 g protein/kg bodyweight (or a little over 1 g protein/lb bodyweight) was far superior to 1.0 g protein/kg bodyweight in preserving lean mass. And, although specific protein intake recommendations were not stated, a recent meta-analysis concluded that high-protein weight loss diets help preserve lean mass.

The Injured

Healing wounds increases protein requirements. After all, you’re literally rebuilding lost or damaged tissue, the very definition of an anabolic state. One review recommends around 1.5 g protein/kg bodyweight or close to 0.7 g protein/lb bodyweight for injured patients.

The Elderly

The protein RDA may not suffice for older people, who lose thigh muscle mass and exhibit lower urinary nitrogen excretion when given the standard 0.8 g protein/kg bodyweight. What’s good for the goose may not be good for the elderly, frail gander. More recent studies indicate that a baseline intake of 1.0-1.3 g protein/kg bodyweight or 0.5-0.6 g protein/lb bodyweight is more suitable for the healthy and frail elderly to ensure nitrogen balance. As always, active seniors will probably do better with slightly more, and evidence suggests that increasing protein can both improve physical performance without necessarily increasing muscle mass and increase muscle mass when paired with extended resistance training in the elderly.

These are just starting points, mind you. Guidelines. Play around with your protein intake.

I also get a lot of people asking me about my protein intake, and apparently some people have the idea that I’m eating entire racks of ribs for meals. Actually, though, I’ve slightly modified my protein intake over the past couple years. Or, rather, it’s more accurate to say that my protein habits have changed. It wasn’t really a conscious effort; it was a gradual shift that simply happened, spurred by my body’s own appetites. You might even say it was a Primal shift. So, what’s changed about how I eat protein?

I’m eating less meat. The urge to eat large steaks on a regular basis has simply diminished. I still might have meat at most meals, but I’m having 4-6 ounces at a sitting instead of 8-12. This wasn’t a conscious decision. The craving simply isn’t there, and I’m merely eating to appetite.

My protein intake is more cyclical, than regular. Some days, I’ll finish the entire steak and be ready for more. Other days (maybe most), I’ll have a few bites and save the rest for later.

I’m eating fattier, more gelatinous cuts, like short ribs, oxtails, and shanks and making bone broth more often. I’ve always enjoyed my animal fat, so that hasn’t changed, but the gelatinous focus is definitely newer. It may have been the Masterjohn “bones and skin” post from a few years back that got me thinking more about gelatin and spurred me to be more regular with the stock-making. After all, a cow isn’t just sirloin tips and ground beef. It’s bones and skin and organs and joints, too. A 1000 pound cow will provide about 430 pounds of “retail cuts” (PDF) – steaks, roasts, things like that. Some of the leftover is water weight, but the majority of the remaining 570 pounds is gelatin, offal, bones, skin, and other “waste products” that our ancestors certainly utilized. It’s only very recently – and in select places (ahem, United States) – that people began thinking of food animals as “meat” and nothing else. Demi-glace, consomme, pho, Jamaican oxtail stew anyone?

The end result is that while I’ve reduced my “meat” intake, I’m still eating a good amount of protein. It’s just that some of it is coming from broth and gelatin now, which have the effect of “protein sparing.” In other words, eating gelatin reduces the amount of meat required to maintain muscle mass and perform all my regular protein-related physiological functions. Adding more stock and gelatin-rich meats, particularly at dinner, has also seemed to improve my sleep. Eating the whole animal makes everything easier – who knew?

Anyway, I’m eating a bit less meat nowadays and a few more plants and odder animal bits, which may be a huge shock to some of you. You know why? My needs have probably changed and my body is responding accordingly.

I want to reiterate: this was not a conscious decision borne of theorizing. My “decision” to eat less meat has only happened because I crave it less. As to why my cravings might have diminished, I have a few ideas:

I’m no longer catabolizing my lean mass through excessive endurance training, nor am I actively recovering from it. Endurance athletics (and really, any activity, but especially catabolic training like marathons and triathlons) increases the need for protein. You’d better heed that need unless you like losing muscle and bone. Since I’m not doing Chronic Cardio anymore, I don’t need to eat so much to preserve my muscle.

I’m maintaining, rather than seeking to build more lean mass. There was a short stint of deliberate mass building several years ago where I overate (especially protein) and managed to get up to the high 170s, but I didn’t enjoy it and maintaining that kind of lean mass was tough and required too much food. I’m happy where I am – both aesthetically and functionally – and so I don’t really have to eat a ton of protein to maintain.

My training is far more moderate than it ever was. I focus on play and strength training, but I mostly do bodyweight stuff (sometimes supplemented with a weight vest). This reduces the protein I need to recover and rebuild.

My “nitrogen sink” (muscle tissue) has become more efficient, allowing more variation. I don’t have any bloodwork to back this up, I just know that I’ll have 45 gram days (where I have, say, four ounces of lamb, some yogurt, maybe a bit of aged cheese and a few nuts) right alongside 160 gram days (where I indeed approach full rack of ribs territory). But those big protein days are less frequent now, and my average daily intake is right around 100 to 120 grams. I suspect this is closer to how people traditionally consumed meat – in intermittent bursts. Some days, you’d get relatively little, while other stretches were outright feasts. It definitely feels right to me.

Again, that’s what I’m doing. I think this works for me because I’m extremely clued in to my body (I’d better be after all these years!). If it tells me something – like “eat some protein!” – I trust it. If you’re not quite so far along your journey, you may not place as much trust in your body’s messaging. That’s fine. We can’t always trust our bodies at all times. In that case, start with the basic guidelines outlined above and revise upwards or downwards based on your feedback.

Losing strength/muscle during weight loss? Increase the protein.

Your favorite cut of meat suddenly disgusts you? Try reducing the protein.

Not recovering from workouts? Increase the protein.

Ideally, you should be able to bump the protein up and down depending on what your body requires. I’ve reached that point myself, and I think once you get there, it gets a lot easier. You shouldn’t have to count protein grams and I don’t want you to obsess over the numbers listed above, as they are merely guidelines to consider. As long as you’re observing the “best practices” like eating offal, incorporating gelatinous cuts and/or stock, and eating a variety of foods, your protein intake should be fairly intuitive.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful, and maybe illuminating, without being too much for you guys. Going Primal doesn’t necessarily mean gorging on meat, especially lean meat. It certainly can, from time to time, if that lines up with your goals and needs, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And as time goes on and you grow more attuned to your body, you may find yourself simply requiring – and thus craving – less meat. Or more meat, if that’s what your body needs. Bodies are funny like that.

What do you think about all this? How much protein do you eat on average? How has that changed over the years?

Thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Recent articles about diet tend to be more about meat vs. vegan. There also appears to be an increased awareness for organic and whole foods. Which provides comprehensive information to better understand the benefits of the Paleo or Cave Man diet.
    From my research, paleolithic era had many classes of diets depending upon region. Contemporary Paleo diets tend to focus on hunter-gatherers consumption habits. I find this diet to be superior to post-agricultural diets, but am not convinced that it extends longevity or prevents disease. Evidence shows that mankind lives longer now than those during the paleolithic period, and it is unclear whether the effect is due to diet or lifestyle (modern medicine). Regardless, Paleo’s still suffered from cancer and heart disease.
    Another problem is that organic does not equal wild. The distinction can be made through the following comments: selection of the strongest applies to plant life, today we cultivate our organic crops; pollution and cultivation has diminished crop potency, resulting in a need to increase caloric intake to achieve similar nutrient value; plant genome has been artificially altered in ways that are not fully understood how they will effect health. For the same reasons, animal meat is different now than during paleolithic periods. Conclusion, it is extremely difficult to mimic an authentic paleo diet, meat or vegetables. At best we can mimic but not duplicate the paleo diet.
    How much protein did the caveman consume per pound body mass? Even if we knew, it wouldn’t do us much good, and it probably varied throughout the seasons. Today’s global market provides everything we want, regardless of the season. Question: Should we vary our diet to mimic regional foods by season, or enjoy an abundance of variety.
    Personally, I diet is predominantly organic vegetables (focus on greens and roots) and fruits, with 5% meat sources (mostly non-predatory fish), supplemented with seeds and nuts. I am sure that unconsciously, due to price fluctuations, I am attracted to seasonal harvests. This is my mimic of the paleo diet. Bon Appetite!

    Duane wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • This makes sense to me. Food today is not the same as the food our prehistoric ancestors ate. It isn’t even the same as the food our recent ancestors ate.

      The ancient Celts, who were admired for both their physical prowess (a “fat tax” was levied on warriors), and their innovative genius, thrived on a diet that included both meats and grains. They were also well known for their fondness for grain-based alcohol. And fruit-based alcohol. ANY alcohol, really.

      The Romans created a massive empire on a diet that included copious amounts of bread and wine.

      The wheat, barley, meats, etc. these cultures ate, were most definitely NOT the same as the ones we find today on our supermarket shelves.

      Helga wrote on April 24th, 2013
  2. Per Dr. Steven Gundry…Cardio-Thoracic surgeon; author Diet Evolution
    “Sadly, we think that we require large amounts of animal protein for health. Nothing could be further from the truth! We have no ability to store excess protein, converting any extra to sugar, and taxing the kidneys to get rid of the ammonia! Sound fun? ”
    ” The amount of protein you need daily is equivalent to 3 eggs! “

    CK White wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • Sorry, you’ll have to try again. Do 12 pullups and 50 pushups and 30 squats 3 times in 25 minutes and go eat your 20 grams of protein (for the whole day)…you’ll be dead in no time! You won’t be storing any excess protein, you will be using every precious gram of it and be screaming for a shitload more!

      Nocona wrote on April 24th, 2013
  3. I had to smirk at the comment of 750 calories for an overweight woman desiring to lose weight. That kind of starvation diet would only cause her body to go into surval mode and hang on to the fat. As one who was formerly in that state – I lost 85 lbs and have kept it off for going on three years now…simply by changing the color of my dinner plate to be primarily greens, reds, orange – complex carbs. With lean meats, primarily organic/grass fed in terms of red. We no longer char our meats on the grill due to the carcinogens. RAW nuts are satisfying.
    Also, I have found a vegan protein (blend of 3 plant proteins) that scores 100% of all essential amino acids that is not whey or soy based. I know CrossFit folks who use it to build mass, but I use it for the benefit of cellular health and anti inflammatory benefits. It is much easier on the kidneys/liver and easier to digest than whey or casein proteins.
    I encourage anyone who goes primal to regain their health and lose the weight not to starve your body and give it the nutrient dense calories it needs for optimum success – not that Mark was suggesting anyone go on a 750 calorie diet…

    RitaS wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • Rita S, what’s the name of the vegan protein you use please?

      royalpriestess wrote on April 24th, 2013
      • I’ll go out on a limb and say this mythical “vegan” protein doesn’t exist. (The product probably does, but it’s not vegan if it’s effective.) Crossfit promotes the Zone diet and the rest are Paleo. Most of the Crossfitters I’ve met have no problem with animal products.

        And raw nuts cause seriously bad reactions in me. And no one’s ever seriously proved the whole char = cancer bit. It’s almost a rumor as far as i can tell. But hey, it’s all good. 😉

        Amy wrote on April 25th, 2013
    • Did Mark actually mean a 750-calorie a day diet? Or was that a typo and he meant a 750-calorie DEFICIT a day?

      scribbler2013 wrote on April 29th, 2013
  4. It really does come down to listening to your body.

    Does anyone recall that gem of a film, “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? Years ago I read that during filming, N!xau (the Namibian San farmer who played “Xi”), ate an entire goat. Jamie Uys had to shoot around N!xau’s scenes until his distended stomach returned to normal — in about 3 days!

    He must have needed the protein.

    Helga wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • “Jamie Uys had to shoot around N!xau’s scenes until his distended stomach returned to normal — in about 3 days!”

      N!xau’s stomach was distended, not Jamie Uys’s!

      Helga wrote on April 24th, 2013
  5. Art Devany just blogged that the body builder protein mixes have too much free glutamate…causing cell death programs

    Mark…maybe a warning is due to your readership if you agree.

    David wrote on April 24th, 2013
  6. My husband and I started eating this way about a year and a half ago. He has actually gained quite a bit of weight. He thinks calories are to be ignored and he can eat as much as he wants to – especially meat (aka protein). I haven’t lost a lot of weight but clothes fit a lot different and I went down in jeans sizes, but then again, I’m paying some attention to calories too.

    Cat wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • Carbs and calories are important if you’re losing weight, even on Paleo You’re not ahead if you’ve decided tubers are Paleo and eat more calories in those than you did on bread.

      If you combine the Atkins plan with Paleo, you’ve got an extremely healthy way to lose weight. (That’s what I did)

      Amy wrote on April 25th, 2013
  7. Thank you for bringing this up. Denise Minger presented on this subject at AHS 12, as I’m sure you know, and Ray Peat has the best article written about the different amino acids in muscles versus connective tissue and their physiologic roles differences. This is a huge missing link in the average paleo diet and consuming only muscle is clearly not optimal and will probably lead to problems. I don’t know why mentioning Ray Peat seems so taboo. Have you read his work?

    Alex wrote on April 24th, 2013
  8. For those of you (athlete types) who eat high-protein while on a slight calorie deficit, how do you manage to hit the 1 gram/per pound lbm benchmark without overeating?

    To build muscle, my protein requirement calls for 150ish grams a day. To hit that total, I’d need to down 2 pounds of meat daily (bordering on absurd). Factor in some tubers post-workout, and I’ve quickly surpassed my calorie limit.

    Supplementation seems to be the only way of staying lean while attempting to add lean mass–two contradictory goals, it would seem.

    Max wrote on April 24th, 2013
  9. interesting article on protein requirements and I have dropped protein to around 132 grams a day and have not lost any muscle that I can tell in fact many people assume I am gaining.

    silas wrote on April 24th, 2013
  10. This is a great article, and I’m loving reading everyones comments!

    The post is quite timely too, and I’m wondering if anyone can help me with a weight training / diet related question?!

    Here goes:

    – I followed a strict paleo diet routine for about a year after leaving the military, and lost loads of weight and size (including around belly regions!).

    – I have been lifting weights again regularly over the last 6 months, with the goal of ‘bulking up’ with some lean muscle-mass up top, keeping the belly off too.

    – My natural body type is a cross between ectomorphic and mesomorphic. I am quite tall and slim, though did bulk up a bit whilst in the military, which lends me the benefit of some ‘muscle memory’ now.

    – Various personal trainers are telling me that my diet needs to be predominently carbs (60%), of various sorts (not purely vegetables) if I want to add more size to the definition I have already developed…

    – Following their advice, I just seem to have developed a belly again! I am now unsure how to proceed… do I keep taking their advice and see where it leads? Or should I move back towards a more paleo approach (though I’m slightly worried I’ll lose my muscle gains!).

    All advice appreciated! Thanks :-)

    Leighton wrote on April 24th, 2013
    • If you are a cross between ectomorphic and mesomorphic, lucky you! Work with what nature gave you. Rather than wasting time “bulking up”, focus on functional fitness and efficient movement and you will put all those Ahh-nold wannabes to shame.

      Helga wrote on April 24th, 2013
      • Thanks Helga. I didn’t get email notification, hence the delay!

        I certainly don’t put myself in the category of an Arnold wannabe, and I agree that would be a massive (and unhealthy) use of my time and energy! My worthwhile goal is to simply have a bit more shape, which I can then maintain as I build my functional fitness. I particularly want to delve more into calisthenics…

        Leighton wrote on April 26th, 2013
  11. Sorry, though I was glad to see this article come out, over all it is confusing, because of the ambiguity between “how much protein?” and nothing being 100% protein, so your words are mostly theoretical, even though you are speaking of different protein sources.
    You are speaking of grams of protein per day, but 100 grams of chicken gives you 23 grams of protein, so you eat 800 grams of meat to get 100 grams of protein?
    Many of us are still clueless, “How much meat/eggs/chicken/fish?”

    Do you see my question?
    “How much protein do you eat?” Requires a chart of how much that means in cheese, eggs, beef, or whatever source.

    harvey wrote on April 24th, 2013
  12. Great post Mark. I have been trying paleo nutrition for 2 years without success. Still had constipation, skin problems, weight problems, depression. I came across the GAPS diet which recommends only bone broth and fermented vegetables in the first stage and straight away I had regular bowel movements, stopped craving sugar, lost weight. I hardly need to eat anything to get through the day now and feel really strong. We need to heal the gut properly before anything else can improve.

    Scott wrote on April 24th, 2013
  13. If I drink bone broth as a meal would that count as my protein for the meal?

    Andrea wrote on April 24th, 2013
  14. Great article, Mark! Thank you for posting it. I think this will end up being one of those classics that is referred to often in future posts. It is a question I get a lot from people who ask me how to “get big” and all that stuff. They assume I’m doing all kinds of bodybuilding-style supplementation and are surprised to hear my responses.

    For myself, I’m a big fan of trying to keep my body guessing a little bit and just try to listen to what my body is asking for (which also implies quitting when it tells me to quit. I don’t do any supplements, but just try to eat quality food.

    As an example, I don’t really plan my feeding times, but eat when I can, trying to imagine myself as an early ancestor whose feedings didn’t come on a regular schedule and weren’t always a “balanced diet” in the way we think of today with all the “food groups” represented. Sometimes I will get busy with work and just work straight through lunch, then have a bigger meal later. Sometimes I will complete a tough workout, but instead of having some kind of well-planned post-workout meal, I’ll throw myself a curve by just hydrating and having a small snack of nuts and veggies. Then I’ll eat a nice big protein meal later. I definitely don’t plan every meal around a balanced diet of food grouips. There are plenty of times when the only thing I’ll have for a meal is animal-based protein with fat, skins, etc. It’s essentially a sort of unprogrammed, randomized caloric restriction, but I’m still getting all the protein I need to maintain my athletic conditioning.

    Anthony wrote on April 24th, 2013
  15. I eat an EXTREME amount of protein and have always wondered what was a healthy amount, but really it depends on each individual. I honestly eat about 2 pounds of meat a day, if not more at times. It works for me because I only eat healthy fats and extremely NON starchy veggies. I work just fine this way, but that being said, others may not. I also feel like it has something to do with my blood type, but that’s just another “fad” that a lot of people don’t believe in… However I believe there is a TINY BIT of truth to it.

    GiGi wrote on April 24th, 2013
  16. I think that this is very personal and I was eating far more meat and chicken before but I found that I wasn’t recovering from exercise (I wasn’t eating enough carbs). Also I noticed my uric acid was way way too high. So I did increase bananas and yams and decreased the amount of protein I ate at lunch and breakfast and magically my uric acids which where way higher than normal are now in the perfect range. I stiff often eat more than 15% of my calories from protein (between 15 and 20%) but aim to get that lower when I increase my caloric intake as I’m doing now.

    I just don’t feel I need to have protein in the mornings or if I do it’s a tiny amount of protein powder in a smoothie after I exercise and I eat probably about 3 or so ounces of meat or chicken at lunch time. At night I have a can of sardines in my salad and I still call myself primal but I think one needs to ensure that things are working for your own body. I enjoy the food and the lifestyle. I do find that when I eat too many nuts to cover my caloric needs I find it hard to digest or don’t feel so good but I’m getting there I think.

    Anne wrote on April 24th, 2013
  17. When they say ‘x grams/lb bodyweight’, is it grams of meat, or grams of protein in that meat??

    Damian wrote on April 24th, 2013
  18. VERY IMPORTANT POST! Thankyou. I see so many paleo enthusiasts using it as an excuse to to eat absurd amounts of meat. Sure our ancestors ate lots of animals, but it wasn’t 2 pounds of sirloin every day…
    By far the most critical element is eating to your needs, and knowing those needs.
    I especially like the part on gelatine and organs. Eating all parts of an animal also respects its life and sacrifice, guaranteeing a spiritual experience while eating. That’s paleo.

    Barnaby wrote on April 25th, 2013
  19. Good article. Not only does less meat do your own body good, it is also better for the environment to eat less meat!

    David wrote on April 25th, 2013
  20. Eat less meat, that is good for your body, good for animals, good for the environment! (Cows emit a ton of methane and CO2)

    David wrote on April 25th, 2013
  21. Couldn’t agree more with the ‘listen to your body’ school of thinking.

    Try experiementing with different foods/proteins and monitor how you feel.

    Eat more protein than you normally would – how does that make you feel? How does it effect your workouts?

    Eat less protein than you normally would – any difference?

    Your body WILL let you know what it needs!

    Peter wrote on April 25th, 2013
  22. Mark — How about using lbs & ozs.

    Dan Geralsky wrote on April 25th, 2013
    • thank you…. i want lbs. and ozs. too!!!

      Mary wrote on April 28th, 2013
  23. Great post Mark. Protein intake is not a problem. I need to work on the vegetable intake. Haven’t found any that taste as good as a steak.

    Mark wrote on April 25th, 2013
  24. Thanks for opening my eyes Mark, this is an area that really confuses me because some say eat lots of protein and others say eat minimal protein.

    Maria Roberts wrote on April 25th, 2013
  25. I wonder how it is with women who are in (peri)menopause and would like either to loose weight or at least don’t gain. I always miss that part in these kinds of blogs. What could you advice to them?

    Wilhelmina wrote on April 25th, 2013
  26. Interesting article! I’ve found that my protien intake varies quite a bit. Some days I can eat a grassfed TBone & a grassfed Ribeye at one sitting & not feel stuffed, especially if I have been intermittent fasting. Other days, I only seem to want a much smaller portion of grassfed beef or lamb or fish or duck or shellfish or other meat.

    I, too, have been enjoying more short ribs, neck bones, ox tail, marrow bones, etc. In fact, I now ask the processor leave the bone in the ribeye steaks (aka club steak) & when processing lamb, I ask them to save all of the lamb’s short ribs.

    With that in mind, it’s interesting that my favorite beef “cut” used to be a big, thick “hamburger” covered with cheese. However, I recently realized that I dont consume nearly as much burger anymore… Even those real good grassfed cheese burgers. :-) I seem to crave the bone in cuts more. I guess it’s the minerals, gelatin, etc.

    TJ wrote on April 25th, 2013
  27. I’m glad you’re addressing this because I’ve been trying to eat more protein and I’m struggling with how much. Eating on my own, sometimes I really want meat, in particular red meat. And then I go through days where I’m almost a vegetarian (never vegan!) and eat relatively little meat.

    Also, this gives me a good excuse to try the demi-glace recipe I got a few weeks ago!

    Lea wrote on April 25th, 2013
  28. I have been reading and learning a lot since last fall on primal/paleo/low carb (of course I have both kindle and hard copy of Primal Blueprint). What frustrates me with the “how much protein” discussion is that recommendations are in “grams”. I have no idea how to relate grams to ounces which is how I purchase my meat – in ounces. My eyes glaze over when I’m told I need to eat so many grams per lb of body weight. I’m guessing I’m not the only one. May I respectfully suggest future writings close this gap? Maybe a chart by a person’s weight range to grams to ounces? Just a thought. Thanks.

    Dee NH wrote on April 25th, 2013
    • Dee, it is so simple a caveman or woman can do it. Just google how many grams of protein are in certain foods, and you will get hundreds of sites telling you your answer. Most folks on here already know that an egg has 7 grams of protein (so 3 eggs for breakfast is 21, etc.) and an ounce of hard cheese has around 6-8. Chicken breast the size of your fist has it’s own number ad infinitum. Don’t make this harder than it is. It is really simple.

      Nocona wrote on April 25th, 2013
  29. I’d recently heard that processing protein produces ammonia as a biproduct and that consuming more than 150g of protein daily can cause significant stresses to the body from ammonia toxicity.

    I’m generally not too worried about these numbers, but would be interested in hearing your thoughts on protein, ammonia, etc.


    Rick wrote on April 25th, 2013
    • It’s really not that easy to eat more than 150 a day, so why worry? And if you are real active and lifting heavy things, believe me, you will love eating those grams of protein.

      Nocona wrote on April 25th, 2013
  30. I attempted making home made bone broth on three occasions. The first time was with red wine, tomato paste and apple cider vinegar to pull the nutrients out. It has the worst smell ever that took almost a week to get out of the house. It cooked out and the broth was good, but the smell was unreal. I thought the smell came from the red wine, so next time I just used tomato paste that was rubbed on the bones to roast prior to simmering and apple cider vinegar. It smelled great and the broth was to die for. The third time I used the exact same things as the second time and again it smelled horrible. What am I doing wrong? I would love to make more broth and drink it which is why I started to make it but my partner is going to kill me if I keep cooking something for 40 hours that smells like dirty rotten moldly feet. Thanks!

    Jessica Kluth wrote on April 25th, 2013
    • roast your bones first!
      rub bones with oil of choice (coconut or olive are mine) then roast at 350 for 20 min or so. no smell, and mellows the broth flavor.
      then, add a 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, cover with filtered water, few sprigs parsley, celery, carrot, and cook. I use a pressure cooker, but stove or crock pot, also!

      Mark has a recipe also…search above.. “primal soup”.. fantastic recipe for short rib soup, a staple in my house.

      kittymarie wrote on April 28th, 2013
  31. I make my bone broth from Chicken bones. Today the bones were so crumbly I decided to smash them up (I could do this with my fingers) and pureed them with a bit of the broth. I plan to use it with the broth and the pureed veggies I like to eat. Does anyone else do this? It appeals to me as I am over 70 and wanting to heal an arthritic hip. I have been eating the soft ends of the bones since I started making the bone broth months ago. Does anyone see any contraindications for doing this? I was concerned about chicken bone slivers, but I think the bones were all too crumbly to worry about that. But I could be wrong. Thanks.

    Kathleen wrote on April 25th, 2013
  32. Thanks Mark. This is such an important point to address, that not everyone needs the exact same amount of protein in their diet. I love nuts and seeds as a protein hit and have been making these awesome little raw peanut butter choc protein balls before a workout! Yum :)

    Nat wrote on April 26th, 2013
  33. I truly appreciate the time you take to write these important articles; but I really wish we could all be on the same page with the pounds vs kilograms (lb v kg). There’s a big difference as we all know, and it can get confusing when you use kg one minute and lb the next…just sayin’. Thanks, Mark (and others commenting).

    TeeDee wrote on April 26th, 2013
  34. Wow, 0.8g to 1.2g of protein per pound of bodyweight is certainly a lot. Shikes!! I dont know…I am not a red meat eater type myself. I cannot picture myself gorging down the organs, joints, tail, etc. Personally, I would prefer fish and protein powder but again, each to its own.

    Fitness Joe wrote on April 26th, 2013

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