How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Almost everyone trying to build muscle has heard that they need to eat a lot of protein, so they pack on the meat and eggs hoping for the best. There is truth to this, but experts say you need to be careful with this.

A study conducted at the University of Texas was conducted to see how much protein our body really uses to make muscle. The researchers studied how fast muscles were produced by different people eating different amounts of lean beef.

“We knew from previous work that consuming 30 grams of protein—or the equivalent of approximately 4 ounces of chicken, fish, dairy, soy, or, in this case, lean beef—increased the rate of muscle protein synthesis by 50 percent in young and older adults,” said associate professor Douglas Paddon-Jones, senior author of a paper on the study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. “We asked if 4 ounces of beef gives you a 50 percent increase, would 12 ounces, containing 90 grams of protein, give you a further increase?”

They did this by feeding 17 young and 17 elderly volunteers either a 4 oz or 12 oz portion of lean beef. Using blood samples and thigh muscle biopsies, they then determined how much of the protein was turn into muscle.

They found that only the first 30 grams (just over an ounce) of protein consumed was used to produce muscle.

Douglas Paddon-Jones, a senior author of a paper on the study, shared the findings of the study and what we should take away from it.

“In young and old adults, we saw that 12 ounces gave exactly the same increase in muscle protein synthesis as 4 ounces,” Paddon-Jones says. “This suggests that at around 30 grams of protein per meal, maybe a little less, muscle protein synthesis hits an upper ceiling. I think this has a lot of application for how we design meals and make menu recommendations for both young and older adults.”

“Usually, we eat very little protein at breakfast, eat a bit more at lunch and then consume a large amount at night. When was the last time you had just 4 ounces of anything during dinner at a restaurant?” Paddon-Jones said. “So we’re not taking enough protein on board for efficient muscle-building during the day, and at night we’re taking in more than we can use. Most of the excess is oxidized and could end up as glucose or fat.”

“You don’t have to eat massive amounts of protein to maximize muscle synthesis, you just have to be a little more clever with how you apportion it,” Paddon-Jones said. “For breakfast consider including additional high quality proteins. Throw in an egg, a glass of milk, yogurt or add a handful of nuts to get to 30 grams of protein, do something similar to get to 30 for lunch, and then eat a smaller amount of protein for dinner. Do this, and over the course of the day you likely spend much more time synthesizing muscle protein.”

Another important thing to note is that the protein used was lean protein. Basically, lean protein gives you the most bang for the buck. It has the least amount of bad fats and it still delivers the same amount of protein. Even if you are not into physical training or body-building it is still important that you get your lean protein. In fact, elderly people seem to be the most deficient.

Spresd the protein around. Have smaller amounts but frequently throughout the day. Add a protein snack instead of a carbohydrate snack between meals.Buy some good quality protein powder to have a protein drink between meals. Learn how to make a smoothie with added protein. Where can you get good quality lean protein meat?

Click here to find good sources for quality lean protein.

Resources

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (2009, October 27). Moderate Amounts Of Protein Per Meal Found Best For Building Muscle.

4.9 stars out of 17,000+ Reviews

  • Great place to go to when you need medical attention. The staffs are very attentive and friendly. I am very pleased w... read more

    Amarilis E. Avatar
    Amarilis E.
    5 months ago

    I cut my finger and took my self to the urgent care. The experience was great. Very friendly staff and the place was e... read more

    Kathy G. Avatar
    Kathy G.
    5 months ago

    This was a very easy and pain free experience. Hopefully I will have my test results back quickly as I am flying to Arub... read more

    Debbie M. Avatar
    Debbie M.
    5 months ago
  • I have been sick for almost 10 weeks and have visited you now several times. At 60 I should probably get a doctor but yo... read more

    Geno E. Avatar
    Geno E.
    5 months ago

    The whole staff was fabulous! Dr. Moore really listened to what I had to say about my symptoms and what works best for m... read more

    Karen G. Avatar
    Karen G.
    5 months ago

    They were very thorough in examining me. I am so thankful for them. I could not get an appointment with my regular ph... read more

    Jonnie S. Avatar
    Jonnie S.
    5 months ago
  • Really nice doctors and nurses. We went for a rapid Covid test. We got the results in timely manner. It was an overall g... read more

    Roxy A. Avatar
    Roxy A.
    5 months ago

    The admitting agent was very informative and even helped me with completing the necessary documentation on my phone. I a... read more

    Kevin H. Avatar
    Kevin H.
    5 months ago

    extremely professional, took appropriate actions regarding my health immediately and accurately. Highly recommend Summit... read more

    earl j. Avatar
    earl j.
    5 months ago

Newnan (Crossing)

2084 Newnan Crossing Blvd, Newnan, GA, USA

(678) 695-6960

Get Directions

Carrollton

909 S Park St, Carrollton, GA 30117, USA

(678) 782-9994

Get Directions

LaGrange

1524 Lafayette Pkwy, LaGrange, GA 30241, USA

(706) 530-2151

Get Directions

Newnan (Hwy 34)

1825 GA-34, Newnan, GA 30265, United States

(770) 502-2121

Get Directions

Peachtree City

100 Line Creek Drive, Peachtree City, GA 30269, United States

(770) 847-8786

Get Directions

Fayetteville

749 W Lanier Ave, Fayetteville, GA 30214, USA

(770) 835-4925

Get Directions

East Point

3515 Camp Creek Parkway, East Point, GA 30344, United States

(404) 344-7337

Get Directions

East Cobb

3120 Johnson Ferry Rd, Marietta, GA 30062, United States

(770) 835-4741

Get Directions