What Every Person Should Know about Protein

What Every Person Should Know about Protein

The magical unicorn of muscle building...

Protein isn’t it. Unfortunately, when it comes to increasing muscle mass and shedding fat, the only answer is old school real food and hard work. Consistency and commitment in diet and exercise, as boring as it sounds, are as close as you can get to the magical answer to looking and feeling like the beast that your body was designed to be. As Katherine Tallmadge put it in her 2015 article on Livescience.com, “While nutrition is important, the quality of your strength-training workout is a key factor for building muscle mass.” (Tallmadge, 2013)

The amount of protein you need...

10-35% of total caloric intake (Medicine, 2005). Consuming more than 35% of total calories from protein is futile. As shown in the chart below, the range is very large. The take-home lesson here is this:  know that you should not get caught up in the numbers. You are more than likely already getting enough protein. For bodybuilders, this chart below can give you a good insight into the upper effective limit of protein intake so you don’t waste time, money and other resources obsessing about extra protein when it adds no additional benefit.

Calories Grams of 
Protein
at 10-35%
1200 30-105
1300 33-114
1400 35-123
1500 38-132
1600 40-140
1700 43-148
1800 45-158
1900 48-167
2000 50-175
2100 53-184
2200 55-193
2300 58-202
2400 60-210
2500 63-219
2600 65-228

The amount you already eat every day may surprise you

The typical American dietary intake of protein is between 15-16.5% of total calories. (Statistics, 2015) If you are like any other typical American, you are already eating more than the minimum required amount of protein. Try recalling a typical day’s food intake to see how much protein you are consuming. This will enable you to see if you should be taking in more protein.

Breakfast 2 Scrambled Eggs (12g) with ½ cup oatmeal (5g) and 8oz milk (8g)
Snack 2 Tbsp. peanut butter (7g)
Lunch 2 packs tuna (32g)
Snack ¼ cup Almonds (7g)
Dinner 4oz Chicken breast (26g) with brown rice (5g)
Approximate Total 100-105 grams of protein

Over 20% of total calories for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Great sources of protein from foods...

Eating a variety of these foods will ensure you are maintaining an adequate intake of protein.

Dairy Greek yogurt (23g per 8oz)

Cottage cheese (14g per ½ cup)

Swiss cheese (8g per 1oz)

Eggs (6g per 1 large egg)

2% milk (8g per 1 cup)

Whey protein (17g per scoop)

Meat Steak (23g per 3oz)

Ground beef (18g per 3oz)

Boneless pork chop (26g per 3oz)

Chicken (24g per 3oz)

Turkey breast (24g per 3oz)

Yellowfin tuna (25g per 3oz)

Halibut (23g per 3oz)

Salmon (23g per 3oz)

Tilapia (21g per 3oz)

Anchovies (23g per 3oz)

Sardines (21g per 3oz)

Vegetables & Beans Edamame (8g per ½ cup)

Green peas (7g per 1 cup)

Navy beans (20g per 1 cup)

Dried lentils (13g per ¼ cup)

Grains Wheat germ (6g per 1oz)

Soba noodles (12g per 3oz)

Quinoa (8g per 1 cup)

Snack Foods Beef jerky (13g per 1oz)

Peanut butter (8g per 2 Tbsp.)

Mixed nuts (6g per 2oz)

(Kadey, 2016)

Timing is everything

When you eat protein is equally as important as what you eat. Every time you work out, muscle tissue is broken down. In order to repair and build new muscle, protein intake is essential prior to or immediately following high-intensity exercise to optimize protein utilization in muscle building. Taking in high-quality protein within 1 hour prior to exercise offers the maximum benefit of “increasing amino acid delivery to the muscle” and stimulating muscle repair, recovery, and growth. (Tipton, 2001)

References:

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Sarah is a Registered Dietitian, health coach, blogger, presenter, writer and founder of Simpletic Nutrition. Sarah holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Middle Tennessee State University. Sarah resides in Nashville, TN, with her two sons, Eli and Ethan, and her husband, Scott. Contact: www.simpleticnutrition.com/contact

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