A Fresh Look at High-Protein

Young People Having Fun At Barbecue Party.Ten years ago, I ate a high protein diet. I regularly ate and recommended a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. That meant I was putting down 160, 170 grams of protein a day myself.

Later, I moderated my protein intake and focused more on my fat intake, thinking that I’d be better off in the long term eating less protein and using my muscle mass, physical and mental performance, and overall vitality as a “signal” for when protein was too low. Researchers were looking at high protein intakes, noticing they could raise IGF-1 and trigger mTOR, which in some animal models have been linked to cancer and reduced longevity, and positing that lower protein intakes were healthier. I was never “low-protein,” but I certainly ate less than before. I will say that throughout all this time a major determinant of my protein intake was my instinctual hunger for it. When I ate a lot of protein, I did so because I desired it on a base, Primal level. When I ate less, I did so partly because of the research but also because I wasn’t as hungry for it (and my performance never indicated I was lacking).

But in recent years, I’ve been eating more protein again. In fact, I eat by most accounts a high-protein diet. Why? What changed?

I took a fresh look at the research.

I’m always researching. That’s the nature of my work here, and it never stops. As I read more into the protein/IGF-1/longevity connection, I became skeptical of the idea that protein is harmful because it “spikes IGF-1.” It turns out that elevating IGF-1 isn’t necessarily a bad thing; resistance training spikes IGF-1, and the beneficial effects of resistance training are largely dependent on the IGF-1 increase. It turns out that the majority of human research into IGF-1 and longevity shows either a positive relationship (higher IGF-1, longer lifespan) or a neutral one.1 Really low levels of IFG-1 are bad for longevity, while really high levels are linked to cancer—and even those relationships aren’t totally clear. If protein was spiking IGF-1, that might actually be a good thing. After all, the more protein an older person eats, the longer they live and the healthier they live.

The more I looked, the more the evidence for limiting protein seemed to fall apart. The more I realized it consisted almost entirely of myths and misconceptions.

I know meditation is good for me, but I don’t know how to start.

I’ve tried to meditate before, but my mind is too busy.

It sounds easy, but it feels hard.

Not sure what the hype is all about? Find out why millions of people have been meditating for thousands of years.

Meditate with us for 21 days, complete with video meditations, a tracker, and community support!

Common Myths about High Protein Diets

What are the most common myths and misconceptions about high protein diets?

High protein damages your kidneys

I’d already covered the myth that protein is bad for your kidneys. It’s not, it’s actually good for them, and it protects against many of the maladies that do increase your risk of incurring kidney disease. While an unhealthy kidney may have to limit protein, a healthy kidney will not.

High protein creates toxic gut metabolites

Another popular trope was that protein fermentation in the gut creates toxic “fecal water” that has carcinogenic effects. Eating more protein than you could digest was supposed to trigger protein fermentation, which would lead to toxic fecal water and colon cancer. Also false: studies show that while high protein diets can increase protein fermentation, they do not increase fecal water carcinogenicity and may actually decrease cytotoxicity.2

High protein destroys your bones

Another myth is that protein “leaches” calcium from your bones and causes osteoporosis. The opposite is actually true. Human research consistently finds that higher protein intakes protect against osteoporosis, improve healing after bone injuries, and help prevent falls and fractures in older adults.3

Turn up your grilling game with Primal Kitchen® Buffalo Sauce, Hawaiian BBQ Sauce, Steak Sauce, No Soy Teriyaki and more! 

High protein converts to sugar

Several years back, you could hear people say that eating extra protein is “just like eating chocolate cake.” They were wrong.  Gluconeogenesis—the creation of glucose from protein—is demand driven, not substrate driven. Your body will only convert protein into glucose when it needs the glucose. It will not turn protein into glucose just because it’s laying around and available. One study even found that eating 160 grams of protein in a single meal had no effect on blood glucose levels.4 If anything, high protein diets will improve blood glucose control.5

So if high protein diets don’t decrease longevity (and maybe even increase it), don’t damage healthy kidneys, don’t give you colon cancer, and don’t worsen blood glucose levels, is there even a good argument against them?

The thing about the arguments against high-protein diets is that they were always theoretical. The supposed consequences of eating more protein were off in the distance, yet to be realized, but “they just had to be true.” You could never pin them down. They were based on some plausible mechanisms whose plausibility crumbled as time wore on. They never materialized.

Nor did the supposed benefits of low-protein diets ever appear. On the contrary, low protein diets have been shown to have unabashedly negative effects. Low-protein diets:

  • Slow the metabolism, increase insulin resistance, and cause body fat gain.6
  • Impair the immune system and make infections more severe.7
  • Reduce muscle function, cellular mass (yes, the actual mass of the cell itself), and immune response in elderly women.8
  • Impair nitrogen balance in athletes.9
  • Increase the risk of osteoporosis.10
  • Increase the risk of sarcopenia (muscle wasting).11

Those are proven effects. Those are realized consequences.

The Benefits of High-Protein Diets

Meanwhile, pretty much all the research we have on high-protein intakes finds or suggests benefits.

Less hunger

Of all the macronutrients, protein increases satiation the most.12 This means a low-carb diet replete in protein can help control your appetite naturally—without you even trying. You just aren’t as hungry, and that makes it much easier to control calorie intake.

Lean mass retention during dieting

Weight loss from dieting is often non-specific. People lose muscle as often as they lose body fat. But with extra protein in the diet, you’re more likely to lose body fat and retain muscle mass during weight loss. In women, for example, a low-calorie, high-protein diet was better than a conventional high-carb, low-fat diet at promoting lean mass retention, even in the absence of exercise.13

Better cognitive aging

In older adults, high protein intake in excess of calories was the only macronutrient that was not associated with dementia. Those who ate excess amounts of fat and carbohydrate were at greater risk of dementia, while those who ate “excess” protein were not.14

Good safety profile

We know that athletes eating up to 3.3 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight each day for over a year have no negative effects and only positive ones.15 Lean mass increased, fat mass decreased. Kidney and liver function were fine. Blood lipids were good. Now, you could say that “a year of high protein dieting isn’t enough to show all the negative effects,” but you’d be pontificating about the future again. About unrealized potentialities. “Just you wait!”

There are caveats, of course.

High protein should always be paired with physical activity. Throughout human history, you couldn’t get protein without working for it. Meat and physical exertion have always been linked. You expend energy, engage your muscle fibers, obtain meat, eat the meat, activate muscle protein synthesis. It’s the same cycle. Only today, you can divest from that relationship. You can step out of the cycle. You can have a delivery guy drop off a crate of frozen steaks. You can stumble into the kitchen and whisk 40 grams of whey isolate into your water. It takes no physical effort, and that’s going to have ramifications.

One potential ramification of inadequate strength training is the buildup of ammonia, a toxic metabolite of protein digestion that we normally clear by converting to urea and expelling through the urine. If we “overload” the system, the ammonia may linger and cause health issues like brain fog. Resistance training has been shown to reduce serum ammonia in rats. They tied weights to their tails and had them climb ladders—the rat equivalent of lifting weights—and found that it reduced serum ammonia.16 If this holds true in people, then resistance training increases your protein “ceiling” by improving ammonia clearance and urea metabolism.

So make sure you’re lifting heavy things and moving around frequently—these activities increase your “protein ceiling.”

Another factor that increases your protein ceiling is dieting. The more calories you cut, the more likely your body is to start catabolizing muscle tissue. Eating a high-protein diet can mitigate this effect and stave off muscle loss.

And then there’s bed rest and injuries: both increase the amount of protein you should be eating. If you’re on bed rest or recovering from an injury or illness and can’t exactly make it to the gym, you should still eat extra protein to stave off lean mass attrition and improve healing. The binding principle is “protein ceiling.” Anything you can do to increase that protein ceiling and increase your “need” for protein, whether it’s physical activity or calorie restriction or injuries that require more healing, will make higher protein intakes safer and more effective.

Provided you get adequate physical activity, eat a nutrient-dense diet, and have good kidney health, there’s no reason not to try eating more protein if it appeals to you. The results may pleasantly surprise you—especially if you’re trying to lose weight and retain (or gain) lean mass.

What’s your protein intake like these days? How much protein do you eat?

TAGS:  protein

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

75 thoughts on “A Fresh Look at High-Protein”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. There’s been so much bad information to come out of food and health research over the years that I pay zero attention to it. I just eat according to what I feel best on, which is some type of protein with every meal. I’ve done this for years and have never had a problem with it, although I do eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit as well. Protein tends to be self-limiting for me. When my body has had enough I lose interest in eating more.

  2. Myths are the poetic, archetypal, yes Paleo/Primal foundation of Sapien consciousness. Please reconsider using myth as a synonym for false belief.

      1. But health myths aren’t the poetic kind; they’re not mythic.
        The second definition in Merriam-Webster:
        a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone

  3. Mark,

    What’s your thoughts on Dave Aspreys protein fasting 1x per week?

    I really like this article and have always known intuitively that I feel good on high protein. Of course I’m super active too.

    Thanks for your thoughts

  4. As a recovering vegetarian (I started eating meat again 8 years ago) I feel like my body STILL craves protein even though I’ve been high protein for years now. Thank you for this updated research, Mark!

  5. I consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. It’s mostly coming from eggs, fish and beef, and includes the collagen peptides in my morning coffee. I also get some from plant sources like chia and hemp, but it’s primarily animal protein. I find that it keeps me satisfied and helps me maintain my body composition without working too hard. I am a 54 year old woman, recently went through menopause. No weight gain or other struggles and I give my lifestyle a lot of the credit.

  6. There’s a huge push of late to shift towards plant-based protein over animal protein with claims that raising animals over plants has a greater carbon footprint. But that is a false dichotomy, particularly because when we talk about animals, we’re talking about smaller, independent farms raising grass-fed, pastured cows, pastured pigs, and free-range chickens. Not big Ag feed lots with animals living in abhorrent conditions. If the comparison is between locally, humanely raised animals and the big Ag corn and soybean production covered in Monsanto pesticides and fertilizers that is used for Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat, the there is no question which is more environmentally sound. I think it would be good to address the environmental impact of increased protein consumption in this light to nip those arguments in the bud.

    1. Mark, you make great points regarding Big AG vs free range grown “meat”. The problem is that Big AG accounts for 97% of meat sources and to have the amount of free range production would require two earths to provide the amount of protein needed to feed the world. Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat and their competitors are growing fast. At the moment both are not that healthy but they are quickly changing ingredients to make them more healthy. You will see tremendous growth in Plant based “Meat”. Vertical farming both on land and sea will be the wave of the future and whether we want to or not will see more plant/sea food proteins in our stores.

  7. I discovered Keto 6 years ago when battling cancer. I evolved toward a keto/carnivore mix a few years ago.

    I’m 58 and have never felt better. My most recent blood work at the oncologist was PERFECT! Including cholesterol, inflammation markers, etc.

    I was vegetarian, sometimes vegan, for 15-ish years at a younger age (30s) which coincided with being in the worst health of my life – aside from not feeling well mentally and physically, my blood work was all over the map.

    My spouse wonders if this contributed to my cancer in later years…who knows?

    But anyway, I’m a high-protein convert for life….

  8. Thank you for an interesting article. What are you thoughts on protein consumption if you have are battling an active cancer?

  9. Thank you for sharing your growth mindset on this (and past topics). We are given the choice to learn and grow OR stagnate and well, you know…

    1. Re battling cancer, i am currently battling breast cancer. The dr said no soy ever (that was the old advice) and the medical nutritionist was pushing plant based, going vegan, upping the whole soy. I was reading up on the soy debate, a d much literature was with Chinese universities (where i assume soy consumption is much higher than here). Is that a biased situation? Who knows. Everyone is guessing. We are made to eat plants and animals. My own experience has been decidedly in favor of animal protein in every meal. If it is carbs I feel like throwing up. No more pizza and soda for me (sad).

  10. Mark,
    I love that you are willing to change your viewpoints when presented with new research or new interpretations of old. That’s why I listen and trust gurus like you and Noakes. Keep up the strong work old man.

  11. What about research into the Blue Zones? People seem to live to a very old age in splendid health on a low protein diet and researchers claim that these persons have less cancer because of it.

    1. In blue zones there could also be more to high age than diet. Here in Loma Linda (USA blue zone), Faith, family, rest, outdoor time, walking/exercise, mental health, and lifelong learning all seem to be just as important and emphasized around here as the Seventh Day Adventist lifestyle of vegetarianism, no caffeine, no alcohol, and no smoking 🙂

      1. Thanks Alaina
        It‘s great to hear from an ‚insider‘. 🙂 I saw a documentary lately where they emphasized the diet and warned about protein intake and cancer growth. It‘s good to be reminded that diet is not the only factor and maybe not even the most important one (as long as it‘s natural food and not processed/poisoned).

  12. Good article. What about the question of how much protein the body can absorb/utilise from one meal?

  13. At 72 I aim to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (140) per day. Not difficult with the carnivore diet. I also take plenty of salt, which I think very important. The results have been: improvement in exercise stamina, better sleep, a general feeling of calmness and well-being. Highly recommend it! Thank you for this very important post .

    1. Gary, just curious, what were your sleep symptoms before? I have some sleep issues of my own & wonder if a bulkier protein intake would help.

      1. Bret: Actually I’ve always slept reasonably well, but in recent years I’ve had to get up to pee every night. Now I never do, except sometimes after my long hikes, probably due to over-hydration. I also sleep more soundly. Seven hours every night (this is optimal for longevity), dead to the world. Even the cats moving about don’t wake me. One thing I’ve also done is to completely eliminate all light sources in the bedroom. I really think as we age we need more protein. Also I can’t say enough about the carnivore diet. It has improved my health in so many ways. All high-quality pastured animal foods, and wild-caught seafood.

  14. “People lose muscle as often as they lose body fat.”
    I always thought the body would burn fat before it would burn muscle. It doesn’t make sense to me that the body would burn muscle if there is fat to burn.

    1. Hi Carol Ann, if a person is eating a decent amount of carbs all day (even ‘only’ 3 meals a day), insulin is raised and circulating, and that prevents access to the stored body fat. If this is happening every day, your body fat is protected and your muscle mass isn’t; and if you’re not EATING enough energy to support the body’s needs, it WILL go to the stored protein for survival.

  15. Hi, you missed one: red meat has large amounts of highly absorbable iron which is an oxidant.

  16. My mother, 88, recently had a long hospitalization and ended up with a very bad pressure sore. Once home, she increased her protein to help healing. The sore, her doctor said would take months maybe up to a year to heal, is pretty much gone in 3 months. The power of protein!

  17. I’ve been wondering which method helped to heal muscle tears fastest. I had a terrible calf injury a couple years ago and could not walk more than a block before having horrible pain. I tried pouring extra high density nutrition and extra protein to help the healing. But there seemed to be absolutely no healing at all for several months. Then I saw a video on how fasting could help by increasing the release of growth hormone. So I started fasting regularly and in a month my injury was healed. I reasoned that all the extra protein and nutrients in the world would not help if there weren’t any “workers” – the growth hormones to take that protein and build new muscle fibers. So I would be interested if there’s ever been any comparison between these two healing approaches.

    1. Clayton Buerkle: Thanks. Very interesting. Please describe your fasting regimen. I generally fast from about 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. I don’t do well with fasts longer than that. I lose weight (and surely muscle mass, since I have little body fat), and I can’t afford to lose weight. I’m only 140 and 5’8″.

      1. Greg,
        I am now doing a 24 hr fast one day a week and sometimes extending it to 36 or 48 hours. I also will skip breakfast two other days a week. On days when I have a breakfast around 7am, I then try to have a second meal early in the afternoon around 2-3. But I let up often and have a little dessert later. One other thing I learned is to not have a meal near bedtime because that suppresses the release of Growth Hormone at night, which was part of the things I was doing wrong. I’m over 60 now and so don’t need as many calories. It took a while to get used to reduced skipping meals but now it’s no problem. But when I do eat they are usually meals on the large side.

  18. Does anyone have thoughts on the Sherzai’s research that high meat intake is correlated with Alzheimer’s disease specifically?

    1. My thoughts? It’s more fake news about red meat, which has been blamed for just about every disease . you can think of. There are a lot of risk factors correlated with Alzheimer’s, but nobody knows for sure what actually causes it. If I had to guess, I’d say prescription and OTC drug use/overuse would be a much more likely culprit. It’s the 800# gorilla in the room that nobody wants to address.

  19. I was JUST about to write about this very thing in my own blog! And so happy to see you address this! My health has improved SO much by doubling protein (in the form of beef) that I can’t help but think it’s good! I always worried about the longevity thing and the IGF-1 and MTOR things, so I’d fast some as it was. And these other issues. Mark is my favorite fitness fellow, so am so h appy to see him confirm my experience. I am a 66 year old 125 pound woman and I eat between a poung and a pound and half of beef every day and some eggs, a little cheese, some bacon and fish and things on the side. And I am getting more fit by the day! I think red meat is part of the improvement. Less chicken and fish. I eat mostly carnivore, but i do eat a little sugar and monkfruit in ice cream once in a great while and I eat a few salads, mushrooms. But not often. I can’t wait to see how I feel in another month. My husband is doing carnivore as well and losing weight fast and feeling much better. But high protein is important, maybe a bit less fat. I do eat herb butter and Hollandaise on my shirred eggs. MMM. Bernaise. A few spices as well. Thanks, Mark! Love everything you do, especially Sundays! Don’t stop!

    1. This is very interesting to me. Would you be willing to share your blog? Thanks.

  20. I am a vegetarian for religious reasons. Just started fasting and following the sage advice of the group here. Any thoughts from the team on suggestions for maintaining high protein intake?

    1. When you say vegetarian, are you allowed to eat eggs, yoghurt and cheese?
      If you’re allowed to eat eggs then you can work out how many eggs each day will give you at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight.
      Also, eat lots of butter for your fat-soluble nutrients.

      1. For example if Manny weighs 175 lbs. and there’s 6 grams of protein in an egg, that would be 29 eggs every day. That would be very difficult to do!

      2. Thank you, Joanne and Patrick. yogurt, cheese, dairy allowed! Just no eggs. 1g/lb protein is a lot. What do you think of protein shakes to make up the difference?

  21. Interesting article but how much protein do you currently consume on a daily basis and what are the guidelines others should follow. In addition, is there a limit on how much protein should be consumed in one sitting?

  22. I’m using a high protein diet for refeeding my daughter with anorexia. She’s 50kg (needs to be around 55) and eats on average 2800 calories per day, consisting of 15g carbs, 160g fats and 250g protein.
    She is tolerating this diet well and gaining around 100g per week. I can’t get her to up the fats or carbs. She does resistance training but no cardio. She now no longer has postural drop or tachycardia. Do you have any input or suggestion regarding refeeding?

    The majority of medical professionals are totally against low carb for refeeding, recommending 60% minimum carbs and between 3000 and 5000 calories per day …. for a weight (mostly fat) gain of .5 to 1kg per day. To me this is crazy and just about weight, not health restoration, especially as many who are weight restored are still very ill, both physically and mentally.

  23. From the title i thought this was going to be a ‘they were right, protein is bad’ admission! Glad it isn’t. Appreciate Mark’s dogged researching. There is so much misinformation out there, to find someone honestly looking for the answers without an agenda is like an oasis in a desert.

  24. I am delighted to see this! I have always loved all meats and proteins, and had to defend it from many criticisms. I am not a carnivore, and am presently eating about 9 cups of veg every day per the Wahls protocol. But the protein has always boosted my strength and energy. Now that I am aging (62), I remind my contemporaries that older people need extra protein to fight sarcopenia.

  25. So, pardon my French Mark, but how the hell do these “myths/wives tales/misinformation” gain traction in the first place??! My God…if we didn’t have “nutritionists” and supposed “experts”, America would be much better off health wise (if they listened to you/paleo/keto)…how can you, me, us get the truth out and make America healthier??? It’s akin to big tech deciding who gets heard…how do we get the SCIENTIFIC truth out???

    1. By rejecting that way of thinking. There is rarely “truth”. Accepting a narrow “Truth” is how you get “experts”.

  26. I’ll be 65 in a month. I eat between 75 and 100g protein daily at 5’9″ and 153 lbs. Been Primal/Paleo for 10 years. Feel great and my muscle mass stays exactly the same and right where I want it. I’m a lean, mean fat burning machine. I just don’t see how ya’all are doing 2 meals a day now and are eating 1g of protein per lb. of bodyweight. My goodness, that’s like me eating 80g protein per each meal. I don’t need that much and could probably not eat that much anyway. How do you guys do it? I’m not fixing what isn’t broken. Are you really eating 80+ g of protein per meal?

  27. How does Atkins jive with this?
    I was under the impression the consensus was his health and heart failed because he consumed too much protein?

    1. Nope. Robert Atkins slipped on an icy sidewalk and hit his head. He underwent surgery to remove a blood clot but went into a coma and died from complications. Protein consumption had nothing to do with it.

      1. Yeah but there is still apparently a good deal of controversy around his heart disease. Apparently he had congestive heart failure and a heart attack. Some say he had a “virus in his heart muscle”. Well (being a doctor myself) it could be true, but that’s rather unlikely.

        1. Well, true or not, Atkins was no spring chicken. He was 72 when he died–not that old by present-day standards, but not everyone lives to be 90+. And maybe he just wasn’t very good at following his own diet if he had heart disease. Protein gets accused of being a bad actor, but is it really? I doubt it..

          1. I hope not…
            I just wonder about these all or nothing diets…
            All meat, all plants. Both seem out of balance to me.
            But one size does not fit all..,,

            Also I wonder on the phrase Mark said about high protein and activity level: how much activity is needed for a high protein diet to be ok?

          2. Also 72 is rather young for nowadays especially, IMO. And not a great endorsement….

  28. Eating adequate amounts of protein is actually more difficult than people realize, especially with only 2 meals per day. Even based on the “unbiased research” recommendation of 0.8g of protein per pound of body weight, at 200lb of body weight, that means 160g of protein per day.
    Now considering that most meat is no more than 25% protein, the 200 lb person would have to eat about 640g of meat. That’s about 1.4 pounds of meat every single day (on average). One egg is about 6 grams of protein. So you’d have to eat more than 2 dozen eggs a day. Yeah.

    1. If you are talking about the RDA, it’s 0.8g of protein per kilogram per day, not per pound. A 200lb person weighs 90kg, so that’s 72g of protein.

  29. Do you see the need to take digestive enzymes as we get older? And do you include collagen as part of your protein intake?

    1. Yeah, I’d like to know as well, does collagen/gelatin count towards the overall intake?

  30. I’m currently breastfeeding my 6 month old, plus doing heavy lifting about twice a week, so I’ve been trying to get about 1g/lb body weight of protein (especially on lifting days, sometimes less on non lifting days), by supplementing with whey protein. It can be hard to get enough protein without whey, I can’t imagine how a vegetarian would fare!

    Btw I bought the fitness guide from Examine, which is a wealth of information, and has a useful protein calculator which takes into account pregnancy/breastfeeding as well as activity/gender etc

    1. Reams: Yes, difficult to reach 1g/lb., so I’ve added 20g whey protein and gone back to 3 meals a day.

  31. How much is too much protein (percentage wise)? What it the threshold where it becomes detrimental? Asking for a friend with a very finicky stomach who sometimes just craves dry lean white fish like an oddball ? lol

  32. I am a 31 year old male, and consume around 120 – 130 grams of protein each day while at a 20% deficit.

  33. Thanks Mark, I’ve been toying with the idea of decreasing my protein intake, having heard (from some keto fans) that nobody needs more than 70 grams a day (barring body builders, I suppose).

    I do have a question about required amounts though. One gram per pound of body weight is an easy calculation, but what if that body weight is 40% fat? Do I really need to feed all that protein to my fat?

    1. The recommendation used to be only based on your lean mass (so no, you wouldn’t count the body fat). But I don’t know anymore.

      If you feel comfortable eating more protein (so like +/- 1 g per lb of total body weight), that would in theory help you lose weight due to satiety and thermogenesis. Don’t forget to add strength training to justify that protein intake.

      It sounds like you can’t go wrong eating extra, if you’re in fact that protein hungry. I suspect most people (like myself, who is even a bit of a glutton sometimes) will find it a challenge to consistently eat enough quality protein.

      But I’m not a doctor, so please just use this for informational purposes – I’m not giving you medical advice 😉

      1. That makes intuitive sense, Chris. Online calculator puts my lean body mass around 120, which is a protein level that feels pretty good.

  34. Hi Mark,
    I’m using low carb to control my diabetes and lose weight. When I tried to stick to the low to moderate protein recommendations and ate more fat for satiety, it did not work. I was ravenously hungry – until I increased my protein intake. Now I eat around 100 to 130 g of protein a day (mainly animal) and hunger is no longer a problem. My kidneys are fine and I am feeling well with it.
    By now I am convinced that the official recommendations for protein reflect the absolute minimum y body needs to not die. But for good health the body needs more.

  35. I’ve been at around .8 grams per pound for a while. Is this considered “moderate”? high-moderate? 1 gram per pound is a lot of work lol

  36. Interesting that people persist in fearing and/or demonizing protein, specifically animal protein, which the human race has been consuming for millennia (and we haven’t died out as a direct result). Yet we totally, deliberately overlook the truly damaging, often addictive quasi-foods and various questionable chemicals we ingest on a daily basis. What could possibly be wrong with that picture?

  37. Any thoughts on how we might calculate or “Protein Ceiling?”

  38. I weigh 240 pounds (53 year old female, VERY sedentary), how much protein should I be eating? I would like to get down to 175 pounds (I am being realistic). Do I eat a gram of protein per pound for my goal weight 175 grams? Or…?

    If anyone can help me with my question, I’d be most grateful.

    I’m SO confused by all of the shifting sands in diet land, but grateful that people like Mark are out there to help us navigate all of this info/disinfo/etc

    1. I believe it’s usually your current body weight, but if you are over 200lbs, the advice I’ve seen is to cap it at 200g day.

      Personally I wouldn’t sweat it too much; it’s nothing to stress over. Your basic takeaway is that it’s A LOT of protein. That will make you full and prevent you from overeating.

      Just remember Mark said it should also be paired with physical activity.

  39. GREAT update Mark! I love when you revisit topics you’ve talked about in the past and are willing to revise your stance. Everyone benefits from reflection and growth.

    Another reason to consume more protein is that we only absorb 50% of amino acids from protein anyways so we’re better off getting more.

    Personally, as you indicated Mark, I have found my protein appetite to be the best indicator of how much protein to consume. Sometimes I absolutely crave it – meat mostly but also dairy. And other times I don’t. This roughly equates to about 100g per day which is my lean body mass which makes intuitive sense to me.

    Thanks Mark.

  40. I’ve noticed the flipping back and forth on this issue. At least you’re honest about it. In my opinion, this is the issue with wedding yourself to science; you move wherever you think it’s going. The common sense approach is to have historical records as your foundation.

  41. Hello ,
    I live in the Netherlands, The advice for protien intake here is 0,83 gms per kilo bodywieght per day . i worked on an Intensive care unit for cardio thoracic surgery and dietry requirements were based on Ideal body weight .