Protein is probably the most important nutrient for active people, as it provides the fuel to power their muscles and enable post-workout repairs. Without enough protein, your body won’t be able to increase muscle mass or help you recover from intense workouts. Protein is also more filling than fat and carbs, so you’re less likely to overeat. However, there is such a thing as “too much” of any good thing. Below, we’re going to take a look to answer the question, “How much protein is too much?”
For the Average Person
The human body really only needs about .70 to .80 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight in order to function properly. To figure out how much that is, take your total weight, subtract the weight of your body fat, and multiply the remaining number by 70 or 80. The result is the number of grams you should be eating of protein. Example: You weigh 100 pounds and have a 20% body fat percentage. Your lean body weight would be 80 (20% of 100 = 20). Multiply that number by 70 or 80, and you discover you should be consuming roughly 56 to 64 grams of protein per day.
For an Active Person
If you do a lot of physical activity, particularly high intensity or intense resistance training, you’ll need to increase your protein intake. Surprisingly enough, the amount of extra protein you need isn’t a whole lot more. You can stick with 1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight per day and have enough to fuel your muscles and enable faster recovery. Given the example above, a 100-pound person with a 20% body fat percentage will need roughly 80 grams of protein per day. That’s not a whole lot more than you’re already getting if you’re eating balanced meals.
More Doesn’t Always Equal Better
Your body has a limit on the amount of protein it’s capable of processing. Eating more protein won’t guarantee a higher amino acid intake. In fact, in many cases, you’ll end up putting a strain on your organs by eating more protein. The consumption of protein can lead to the creation of byproducts that can be harmful if produced in excess. There is such a thing as too much protein, and you need to remember that moderation is key when it comes to healthy protein intake.
How Much Protein is Too Much?
When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t be consuming more than 1.2 or 1.3 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. That doesn’t mean grams of meat or chicken, as there is only a certain number of grams of protein per serving of meat. That means total grams of protein, without the fat and other calories in the food. To find out how much protein is in the food you eat, read the nutritional labels on the package or do your own research. Find out how many grams of protein is in each of those servings of chicken, steak, eggs, or fish. Limit yourself to a healthy amount in order to reduce the risk of overconsumption.
When is the Best Time to Eat Protein?
There are two times that could be considered the “best” to consume protein. First is first thing in the morning, right after you roll out of bed. A protein-rich breakfast can kick your metabolism into high gear, and will help to keep you full for hours. The second time is within 45 to 60 minutes after completing your workout, when your body needs a dose of protein to enact muscle repairs.