FitDay's Best of Series: How much protein?

Old 01-04-2010, 06:51 AM
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Thumbs up FitDay's Best of Series: How much protein?


The following is a collection of the best tips that FitDay members have to offer, taken from many threads over a long period of time. Thank you to all of the contributors!

This thread can be used as a "one stop shopping place" for reference.

If you have any suggestions for other posts to be included, you may always PM one of the Forum Moderators.

NOTE: There's a lot of talk on this thread about Lean Body Mass. The calculator will help you determine yours. And FYI, many people say "weight" when it's actually "mass".

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:03 AM
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Exclamation Too much may be harmful

Originally Posted by grizzly51
I'm trying to keep my carbs down (40%) as well as the fat (30%) and so protein should be 26%. These are the recommendations from alli. In keeping the carbs down, my protein is shooting up to more like 45%.

How much protein should I be getting? Will too much keep me from losing weight if the exercise stays the same?

Thank you.

I was just researching how much protein is 'normal' and found this article on Web MD's Medicine.Net Too much protein can harm your body - on

Find out how consuming too much protein can harm your body.

By Miriam Nelson
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Gary Vogin

Seems like everyone at the gym is doing it: filling up on protein to bulk up those biceps. But it's a misconception. Eating extra protein actually doesn't do much toward boosting your muscle mass and strength.

In fact, medical research shows that consuming too much protein -- more than 30% of your total daily caloric intake -- could actually harm your body, says protein expert Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Nutrition Studies at the Palo Alto Veterans' Administration Medical Center and nutrition lecturer at Stanford University.

She says that a diet containing excess protein can have the following adverse effects:

* Adding more protein but not more calories or exercise to your diet won't help you build more muscle mass, but it may put your other bodily systems under stress.
* .
* Eating more protein and increasing total caloric intake while maintaining the same exercise level will build an equal amount of additional fat and muscle mass, according to a study published in 1992 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Too Much Protein

So think twice when you consider sacrificing the carbohydrates for a protein-dominant diet, Butterfield says. Drastically cutting carbohydrates from your diet may force your body to fight back.

She says that's because a diet in which protein makes up more than 30% of your caloric intake causes a buildup of toxic ketones. So-called ketogenic diets can thrust your kidneys into overdrive in order to flush these ketones from your body. As your kidneys rid your body of these toxic ketones, you can lose a significant amount of water, which puts you at risk of dehydration, particularly if you exercise heavily.

That water loss often shows up on the scale as weight loss. But along with losing water, you lose muscle mass and bone calcium. The dehydration also strains your kidneys and puts stress on your heart.

And dehydration from a ketogenic diet can make you feel weak and dizzy, give you bad breath, or lead to other problems.
How Much Protein Do I Need?

The amount of protein you require depends on your weight and your daily caloric intake. Most Americans consume more than enough protein in their daily diets. A few specific groups of people are at risk for being protein-deficient, including elderly women and people with illnesses or eating disorders. A protein deficiency is defined as eating 50% to 75% of the recommended amount of daily protein, Butterfield explains.

Ideally, you should consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, according to recommended daily allowances (RDA) set by the Food and Nutrition Board. So if you weigh 170 pounds, you need about 61 grams of protein each day.

Protein should also make up approximately 15% of your total daily caloric intake, also according to the RDA. In a diet of 1,800 calories a day, for example, about 270 of those calories should come from protein.
It's Essential

Although limiting protein intake is important, you should also realize that protein is essential to our bodies' normal functions. It assists in synthesizing enzymes and hormones, maintaining fluid balance, and regulating such vital functions as building antibodies against infection, blood clotting, and scar formation.

Protein is also a building block for our muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood. Protein-rich foods include meat, cheese, milk, fish, and eggs. For vegetarians, protein can be found in soy products such as tofu as well as in combinations of foods, such as rice or corn with beans.

Whether you are an avid strength trainer, a marathon runner, or just an average exerciser, a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and complex carbohydrates is what nutritionists recommend.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD, May 29, 2002.

©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 10:56:15 PM

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-03-2012 at 07:13 AM. Reason: added quote
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:59 AM
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Default 0.8-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight

Originally Posted by desertmountain
I was just researching how much protein is 'normal' and found this article on Web MD's Medicine.Net Too much protein can harm your body - on

I'm not sure if that article is entirely correct. Eating greater than 30% protein won't throw you into ketosis nor is a high protein diet "ketogenic". A ketogenic diet is about 75% fat and any excess protein will throw you out of ketosis via gluconeogenisis. I like 0.8-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. I'm about 123 pounds and like at least 90-100 grams of protein per day to feel satisfied although some days can be as low as in the 60's, the next day I'm seem to want to eat a whole roasted chicken! My protein is about 25-30% of my caloric intake but I don't feel as well when it gets over 30%.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-03-2012 at 07:15 AM. Reason: added quote
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:20 AM
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Default I aim for a minimum of 0.5g of protein per lb of body weight

Originally Posted by dizzy_44
I know this is probably a silly question but please bear with me , I'm still sorta new here.

1) Can a person get too much protein?
2) Will protein cause a stall in my weight loss efforts?

At 81 g of protein, the RDA guide says I am at 176%. Is this too much? (I'm not overly active thing at a time).

March 28, 2010 - 217 lbs
May 1, 2010 - 202.2 lbs (first goal missed by 2.3 lbs)

Hi Dizzy,

The average American doesn't get enough protein as it is, so props to you for getting as much as you do! My personal rule of thumb is to shoot for as much protein as possible. I aim for a minimum of 0.5g of protein per lb of body weight, and I usually get more. The body uses protein in a multitude of ways, like muscle building, tissue re-building (like after an injury), hormones, enzymes, strengthening the immune system, and a bazillion other things, so it's important to get enough.

The body only uses protein as it needs it; if you eat "too much" most of the excess filters out through the kidneys and is excreted as ammonia or urea. A little bit of it also can get converted to blood glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, but this process is dismally slow and only really plays a significant role if you're eating very low carbs. Unless you already have a kidney disorder, I would say there's no such thing as too much protein. If you do have a kidney disorder then talk to your doc about how much you should get.

To address your second point, like I mentioned above, protein is used for many essential processes within the body, many of which are directly involved in losing weight. If the body doesn't have protein on hand to use for these processes, it will get it by breaking down muscle tissue to amino acids and then shuttle these into whatever processes need them, which is a double whammy because now not only is your body struggling to run some necessary actions, but you're losing muscle too, which means you're burning less fat over time.

Long story short, I think your level of protein intake is great, definitely way better than what most people get (in general, not ppl on this forum!), and it won't get in the way of your weight loss.

Good luck!


Last edited by VitoVino; 02-03-2012 at 07:16 AM. Reason: added quote
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:38 AM
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Default I'd say it depends on the individual

I'd say it depends on the individual. Some days I'm over 200% rda for protein. The more protein I get, the less hungry I feel and the more energy I have. I don't do atkins or south beach or count carbs at all, it's just what seems to work best for me.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-03-2012 at 07:18 AM. Reason: added title
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:55 PM
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Default It's on you to sift through the information, take what works, and discard the rest.

If you try to do everything "right," you will most assuredly not succeed, because there is no absolute right or wrong. Instead, there is what works for you and what doesn't work for you. That may be the same or different from what works for someone else on here, your next door neighbor, or your best friend. It's on you to sift through the information, take what works, and discard the rest. Listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel; if something doesn't work, don't keep doing it, even if a hundred books have been written about it. Blaze your own trail in this journey, and that is how you will have success. Trust your instincts and your intuition and have faith that you can.

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Old 06-11-2010, 08:34 AM
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Default It's hard to eat protein in amounts that will damage kidneys

Originally Posted by yauncin
Protein powder is a great source of protein but too much can put a strain on your liver and kidneys.
It's really hard to eat enough protein to do this. As it is, the body has very tight control over protein intake (try to eat more than one plain, dry chicken breast). Only people that have pre-existing kidney conditions need to be concerned about protein intake even at low levels. Ordinary folk increase their filtration rates with increased protein intake, but that doesn't necessarily translate into real kidney damage unless you're getting more than 2-3g of protein/lb bodyweight (something that is easily achieved on the SAD diet with a couple grease-tastic burgers a day, but I think we're all better than that). I shoot for a minimum .75g/lb but my goal is 1g/lb.

Also, protein isn't metabolized in the liver at all, so there's no risk there. If you want to protect the liver then watch out for excessive fructose consumption. It's about as bad for your liver as alcohol is. Check out this lecture by Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist from UCSF about the dangers of fructose.

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Old 07-12-2010, 11:28 AM
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Default Most posters like to keep protein in the 30-40% range

This has been the topic of some debate on the forums. Most posters like to keep protein in the 30-40% range (I personally try to stay at approx 30-35%). There are some who have had success with more and some with less. It comes down to everyones body reacts differently, so you may have to make an educated guess and be willing to change if it doesn't work for you.

I also try to limit my intake of simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, processed foods and sugar. Instead whole grains, brown rice, vegetables and fruit substitute. Complex carbs should make up the majority of your carb intake. If you are going to eat simple carbs eat them for breakfast or after your workout. This is when your body needs the quick replenishment of its glycogen supplies and simple carbs are good for that.

Since I eat few processed foods I don't worry about my fat percentage because most of my fat is mono- or polyunsaturated with what saturated fat coming from foods like meat, eggs, and milk. As someone above stated, fat has been shown to satiate hunger. I am currently at a 600-700 calorie defict per day and I don't normally experiencing cravings. If I do, I eat about 10 raw almonds and drink some water to satisfy the craving.

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Old 08-19-2010, 03:00 AM
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Default Most articles I've read recommend .5 to 1.0g per pound of lean body weight

I am getting about 112g of protein a day. That is about .6g per pound of lean body weight for me (I would like it to be a little higher like .75g). Most of the articles I read talk about getting .5 to 1.0g per pound of lean body weight. I have read of study where participants took in up to 1.5g/pound of LBW with no detrimental health effects. If you are lifting weights, trying to build strength or mass, or if you are doing lots of cardio you should try to stay closer to 1g/LBW as this will help you preserve the muscle your body will other wise catabolize while maintaining a calorie deficit.

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Old 08-19-2010, 05:09 AM
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Default About 30%

Originally Posted by DecemberBlue
there are so many different research articles about how much protein one should eat overall or per kg or body weight....some say it depends on your activity; others say it depends on your goal and others say most women need like 50-60g total. There has been research that support that claim that too much protein is bad for the liver...does anyone know how many grams of protein you're suppose to eat? have you perhaps came across an article that indicates this amount is best vs. higher amounts? how many grams of protein do you eat on an average and what's your fitness goal?

I usually average 90g/day; from various source: lentils;protein shake; nuts and my fitness goal is leaning out. My macronutrient breakdown or goal is C55-60/F20-25/20-30

what is yours?
I try to get 120-160g/day of protein, and keep my protein % at about 30. On days in which I am below 30% protein, I use ON whey powder. It is a good source of lean protein without adding much in the way of calories. One serving of ON whey powder has 23g of protein, 1g of fat, and 110 calories.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-03-2012 at 07:24 AM. Reason: added title
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