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The Protein Puzzle

Is there an ideal amount of protein you need on a daily basis?

Opinions differ on the ideal amount of protein you need on a daily basis. Discover what you need to do to optimize your protein intake...

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How much protein do you need?

The debate on the ideal protein quantities a typical person requires has been raging for a long time…

So, what’s the ideal amount of protein should you consume for optimal health?

On one hand, you have bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts swearing you need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight a day, or you’ll waste away into skin and bones!

And then on the other hand, you have official nutrition organizations

Almost all of them urge you to limit your protein…usually to less than 30% of your daily calorie intake.

And that’s not all…

There are others claiming that mankind is already overindulging protein!

So, in the thick of this plethora of advice, opinions, and claims, whom should you listen to…whose word should you follow?

The long and short of it is that…

Getting enough protein is key to your optimal health.

Protein is practically essential to every process in your body. A deficit will see your every effort at eating right and going to the gym waste away!

Without adequate protein, you won’t be able to build muscle, or even keep the muscle you already have. You’ll certainly end up weak and unhealthy.

Protein fills you up more than fats and carbohydrates. As such, eating protein-rich meals will keep you feeling fuller for longer…

You end up eating fewer calories and losing weight–with little-to-no effort because your appetite is tamed.

Even better…

Protein speeds up your metabolism, making your body a more efficient weight-loss machine.

Eating at least 25-30% protein out of your total calorie intake can boost your metabolism by up to 100 calories a day compared to low-protein diets.

See, most official nutrition organizations tell you to keep your protein to a modest amount…

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend only 10-35% of your daily calories come from protein.

That works out to about 46 grams a day for the average woman and 56 grams for the average man.

The Board of the Institute of Medicine produced a report outlining the recommended dietary amount for different macronutrients–fat, protein, and carbs.

The recommended daily amount of protein was only 8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults 18 years old and above.

That works out to only 36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Such official guidelines are a decent starting point to figure out your ideal protein intake.

There are, however, a few major flaws that raise eyebrows about such guidelines…

The biggest issue is that they attempt to come up with universal numbers that should ideally work for everyone…

But in reality, different people would require varied amounts of protein.

And besides not taking your unique situation into account, most official guidelines are based on minimum recommended amounts…

Meaning the amount listed is the absolute least amount of protein you should eat to not lose muscle mass…

Yet, a range of studies found that higher protein intake–over the recommended daily amounts–helps build muscle, improve bone and heart health, besides boosting your energy!

The bottom line is…

Your ideal level of protein intake is somewhere above what nutrition organizations recommend.

But then the question begs…

How far above those guidelines should you target?

How to Figure Out Your Ideal Protein Amount

To begin with…

The much touted magic number–the exact amount of protein everyone needs to eat every day for optimal health, just doesn’t exist!

Your ideal amount is dependent on a couple of factors, including:-

Physique Goals

If you’re trying to transform your body by building a significant amount of muscle…

You’ll require an elevated amount of protein.

Eating a higher-protein content diet has been shown to help synthesize new muscles and build strength.

But you don’t need to go to such extremes as some bodybuilders and supplement companies would want to have you believe!

A lot of bodybuilders recommend at least 1 gram per pound of body weight for those trying to build muscle, but that’s in the upper range of the ideal intake.

IF you’re doing strength training regularly and looking to build muscle…

Shoot for .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day.

If on the other hand you’re trying to just maintain muscle, you don’t need to load such amounts of protein.

You’d do well to start with the nutrition organization guidelines…and then scale in response to the other factors below…

Your Current Weight

It may please you to learn that protein-rich diets have also been found to be effective in driving weight loss. So, if losing fat is your top priority, you can deliberately increase your protein intake to speed up the process.

Eating more protein keeps you feeling full, naturally suppressing your appetite and making it easier to eat fewer calories while accelerating your metabolism.

But if you’re not trying to shed weight, you can indulge protein much moderately.

Your Age

In-arguably, elderly people need a bit more protein than younger people to stay healthy and maintain their muscle mass.

As you age, your body gradually loses some of its efficiency when it comes to repairing damaged muscles.

A 19-year-old college folk might be able to hit the gym 3 days in a row without eating much protein and still see amazing results. But a 60-year-old will definitely require more.

A study found that a baseline intake of between .5 and .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight works well for older people.

Physical Activity Level

By and large, the more active you’re, the more protein you require…

And this holds true even if you’re not doing strength-training.

Endurance or long-distance athletes like marathoners and triathletes spend a lot of time training and breaking down muscles. If you belong to that camp, or you hit the gym regularly, aim for .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Your occupation also matters…take it into account as well…

If you’re working on a construction site and then hitting up the Crossfit box 4 times a week, 1.5-2 grams per pound might be just ideal to repair your muscles and take you closer to your physique goals.

But I want to make a disclaimer…

In spite of the many numbers and guidelines herein, you absolutely need not overly worry about how much protein you’re consuming every day…

And especially if you’re already following a Paleo diet and eating animal products with nearly every meal. This habit alone puts you on the right track towards meeting your protein needs.

In any case, a vast majority of you don’t need to track your protein intake every day, unless you’re shooting for peak athletic performance, or looking to put on a lot of muscle.

Endeavor to indulge whole foods more than protein shakes and bars. This way, you’ll get a lot more vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats–without all the processing and artificial preservatives.

Ultimately, your ideal protein quantity will vary over time.

An intuitive style of eating–adjusting your protein intake according to the signals your body emits–is ideal for building and maintaining muscle mass and overall long-term health benefits.

In a nutshell…

Protein is vitally important in keeping you healthy, full, and promoting lean muscle. Of course, there is a lot of confusing and contradictory info out there about the ideal amount you need in order to reap optimal health benefits…

But on the whole, you simply need to follow a Paleo lifestyle focused on vegetables and animal products.

Your individual protein requirements are unique and will definitely change over time.

All you need is to listen to your body so you can make the necessary adjustments along the way. It’s the key to getting just the right amount of protein you need.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences!

And if you like this article, don’t keep it to yourself…

Instead, share it far and wide to spread the good news.

To your optimal protein intake.

Thank you for your patronage.

Stay tuned…

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