Let's Talk About Protein: Part 1
How much protein should you be consuming? What types of protein should you be consuming? Both are good questions.
The USDA Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 g/kg body weight per day for adults. The Institute of Medicine also established an Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for protein of 10–35% for adults. USDA DRI Calulator
Now, lets also examine a couple things. Are you trying to increase muscle mass? How physically active are you?
During the 2007 Protein Summit (which sounds like a bodybuilder’s dream come true), several scientists reviewed the role of protein in metabolic function. Layman et al.(2015) suggests that daily protein intake to ∼1–1.2 g/kg is beneficial for various metabolic functions. Higher protein intake is gaining support from scientists based on studies with measurable outcomes related to muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass, strength, and function. Also, the amount of protein consumed at each meal throughout the day may positively affect muscle protein synthesis and metabolic responses in muscle. Emerging science supports protein intake for adults of 25–30 g/meal and ≥2.2 g of the essential amino acids to achieve maximal muscle (Rodriguez, 2015).
Now, before you start packing more protein into your diet, there are some important things to consider. For one, don’t read “get more protein” as “eat more meat.” Beef, poultry, and pork (as well as dairy and eggs) can certainly provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods, including whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. And of course there is the ever popular, gym staple: protein powder.
Layman DK, Anthony TG, Rasmussen BB, Adams SH, LynchCJ, Brinksworth GD, Davis TA. (2015). Defining meal requirements for protein to optimize metabolic roles of amino acids. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 101(Suppl):1330S–8S
Rodriguez, NR.(2015). Introduction to Protein Summit 2.0: continued exploration of the impact of high-quality protein on optimal health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 101(6) 1317S-1319S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.083980