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Nutrition

How much protein do you need?

How much protein do you need?

Protein is the building block of our body and is found almost everywhere, including muscles, bones, skin, hair and is also essential for every cellular function our body performs.

It synthesizes various hormones and enzymes that fuel many chemical reactions and also hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. It is used to form enzymes, hormones such as insulin, antibodies of the immune system.

For adults, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg). However, new research and statistical analyzes of the data show that the number should be higher and at least 1.0 g / kg.

It should be noted here that the recommended intake (RDA) does not represent the ideal intake, but the minimum required to prevent malnutrition

In addition to this, there are a multitude of benefits that protein offers:

~ Helps in muscle recovery
~ Increases muscle mass and strength
~ Suppresses appetite and boosts metabolism
~ Strengthens bones
~ Helps your body recover after injury
~ Increases overall energy
~ Helps in weight loss

Protein is one of the "macronutrients" meaning the body needs large amounts of it to function properly. The other macronutrients are carbohydrates and fats. However, unlike these two, protein is not stored in the body, which is why you need to include high protein foods in your diet.

Eating a high protein diet will help build lean muscle in your body and in turn, boost your metabolism. This would result in burning more calories even at steady state! According to research, eating foods high in protein can reduce the level of abdominal fat.

It is used for the formation of enzymes, hormones, such as insulin, antibodies of the immune system, hemoglobin, etc. For adults, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg). However, new research and statistical analyzes of the data show that the number should be higher and at least 1.0 g / kg.

It should be noted here that the recommended intake (RDA) does not represent the ideal intake, but the minimum required to prevent malnutrition

Categories
:

Sedentary people

If you're in this category, aim for 1.2-1.8g/kg. Keep in mind that your body composition is more likely to improve if you add regular activity, especially resistance training, and it's not enough to just hit your protein goal.

Maintaining weight

If you are a healthy weight and active, aim for 1.4-2.0g/kg. People who are trying to maintain the same weight but also improve their body composition (that is, to lose fat), they benefit most from the higher end of the range, ie 2g/kg of body weight.

Increase in muscle mass

If you are at a healthy weight and want to build muscle, aim for 1.6-2.4g/kg.

Fat loss

If you are a healthy weight, active and looking to lose fat, aim for 1.6-2.4g/kg. and increase your caloric deficit (eating less calories/exercise more.

Overweight people

If you are overweight, aim for 1.2-1.5 g/kg. Although losing fat should be your priority, that doesn't mean you can't build muscle at the same time.

Vegan/vegetarian

If you are vegan or get most of your protein from plant sources, then your protein needs may be higher because plant proteins are usually inferior to animal proteins in terms of both bioavailability and amino acid profile.

Optimal protein intake for athletes

Athletes are known to need more protein daily. The main reasons for these increased requirements are the use of protein to repair micro-damages of muscle fibers during exercise, cover energy needs and support muscle growth. Protein needs also depend on the type of exercise performed (endurance vs resistance), the intensity and duration of the activity.

The American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Canadian Sports Guidelines recommend 1.2-2.0 g/kg of protein to optimize recovery from exercise and to promote the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. This recommendation also agrees with that of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN): 1.4-2.0 g/kg.

Optimal protein intake for muscle growth



Resistance training such as weights is essential for muscle growth. It is not enough to get protein, the muscle must also be stimulated to grow. To increase muscle mass, therefore, the goal of daily protein intake is in the range of 1.6-2.4 g/kg. A progressive resistance overload and a slightly hyper-caloric diet (370-800 kcal above maintenance) are additionally recommended.

Optimal protein intake for fat loss

First let's say that a fat loss is possible even with an isocaloric diet (or maintenance diet), as long as a change is made in the macronutrients based on the increase in protein. If further weight loss is the goal, it goes without saying that a hypothermic diet, meaning eating fewer calories than you burn, is essential.

High protein intakes help maintain lean mass in dieting athletes, and an intake of 1.6-2.4 g/kg protein appears to be ideal. For further loss, of course, athletes should increase their caloric deficit, reducing the intake of the remaining macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats) or increasing training.

Note: The above recommendations are for people who are already underweight and trying to lose a little more fat while maintaining muscle mass. For overweight/obese individuals, protein intakes of 1.2-1.5 g/kg are sufficient to maximize fat loss. This range is also supported by the European Association for the Study of Obesity, which recommends up to 1.5 g/kg.

Considering the risks associated with obesity, it is also worth noting that consumption of a diet higher in protein (27% vs. 18% of calories) significantly reduced several cardiometabolic risk factors, such as waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides, while also increasing saturation. These effects are of course also dependent on the amount of body fat lost.

Πηγή: Κλινικός Διαιτολόγος Διατροφολόγος Ν. Καφετζόπουλος