Optimal protein intake to lose fat and build muscle, according to science

how much protein do adults need

There’s one thing nearly all older adults have in common: a way-too-low daily protein intake.

The benefits of protein are no secret.

Protein helps with:

1. Muscle Building and Maintenance

2. Weight Management

3. Improved Athletic Performance

4. Aiding Muscle Recovery

5. Preservation of Muscle Mass

6. Metabolic Health

So, what’s the optimal amount of protein you should be eating each day?

It depends on your goals and current body composition. Physically active adults can optimize and maintain body composition, performance, and recovery with a daily protein intake of 1.4–2.0 g/kg (0.64–0.91 g/lb), with a preference toward the upper end of this range.

The most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength found that the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg.

To optimize muscle gain, active adults should shoot for a daily protein intake of 1.6–2.4 g/kg (0.73–1.10 g/lb). To lose fat, active adults who are already lean may maximize fat loss and muscle retention with a daily protein intake of 1.6–2.4 g/kg (0.73–1.10 g/lb).

People who are overweight or obese should consume at least 1.2–1.5 g/kg (0.54–0.68 g/lb) … and I advocate for even higher than this because considering the health risks associated with overweightness and obesity, eating a diet higher in protein significantly reduces several cardiometabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides, while also increasing satiety.

Higher protein consumption also has a thermic effect on metabolism, meaning our bodies use more energy to process protein compared to fats and carbohydrates.

Long story short, most people would benefit from eating .75 – 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

If you’re struggling with your protein intake and need some help, then protein powder like Pure Food can be a huge asset!

Sources:

Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2016 Mar)

Jäger R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2017 Jun 20)

Morton RW, et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med (2018 Mar)

Antonio J, et al. The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2014 May 12)

Kim JE, et al. Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev (2016 Mar)

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