Recommendations for How Much Protein

My Best Recommendation

Probably the very best recommendations I can give you are to eat a variety of protein containing foods. As long as you are eating meals with a wide variety of foods you should be able to reach the 70-120 gram target very easily (the average intake in North America is already around 90 grams).

What I DO NOT Recommend

Please note that I have not given recommendations as a percentage of your daily calories or as a percentage of your body weight. This is because neither of these equations have ever made any sense to me.

Take for instance, the idea of eating 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If a man weighs 180 pounds at 15% body fat when you exclude the weight of his fat he actually has 153 pounds of lean mass. If he eats 180 grams of protein, then he is actually eating 1.17 grams per pound lean body mass assuming your fat cells do not need any measurable amounts of protein. Now if over the next year or two this particular man happens to gain weight at a rate of 20 pounds per year (difficult, but not impossible to do) then after two years he would weigh 220 pounds. So now he should be eating 220 grams of protein per day by this logic.

But what if the weight he gained was entirely body fat? He would be 220 pounds with approx 30% body fat and would still have 153 pounds of LEAN mass. So now he is eating 1.43 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.

It doesn’t make sense that his protein requirements increased by 40 grams per day if the only thing that changed was the amount of fat on his body. Another example of a confusing protein recommendation is eating a certain percentage of your calories as protein. If a person who eats 2000 calories follows the recommendation of eating 15% of their calories as protein this would mean they would eat 300 calories from protein, or about 75 grams of protein (each gram of protein contains approximately 4 calories).

Now if this same person starts to eat 4000 calories per day, and still follows the recommendation of eating 15% of calories from protein they are now eating 150 grams of protein per day. Again, I see no logical reason why doubling your calorie intake would cause a need for a doubling of protein intake.

How Much Protein by Brad Pilon

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