Friday, March 20, 2015

How Much Protein Do I Need?

How Much Protein Do I Need?
How Much Protein Do I Need?

Many people enjoy eating high-protein foods because they believe that protein will make them grow big and strong. Is that what you think? Let's take a look at what protein really does.

Unlike carbohydrates and fats which contain only carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, protein also contains nitrogen and other elements essential for life. Proteins are made up of several amino acids which are building blocks that are hooked together. Although there are many different amino acids (at least 20), only 9 are called essential amino acids because the body cannot make them; they must be obtained from the diet. That's why we must eat protein to take in the essential amino acids.

How much protein should I eat?
Most people consume about 150 to 200 grams of protein each day which is more than enough. Protein needs are determined by the following factors: age, body weight, and activity level.

Many athletes think that if they eat more protein their muscles will get larger, but this is false. Excess calories from protein can be converted to fat and stored. Not only that, the liver and the kidneys are put under a lot of strain when processing large quantities of protein.

How much protein do I need?
Suppose you weight 175 pounds and are doing both extreme strength and endurance training. Your protein needs would be 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Check out the examples and how to calculate your protein needs below:

Protein Requirements for Strength Training:
Research has shown that the protein needs of strength athletes and endurance athletes are quite similar. The calculations are the same as the above.

The excess protein in an athlete's diet, not required by the body, is often around 100 grams per day. Because muscle is 20% protein, the additional 100 grams of protein per day should result in a gain of 500 grams of muscle per day, or about 1 pound of muscle per day.

Concerns with Very High Protein Intakes:
- Increases the work load of the kidneys and in the extreme cases result in kidney failure. In some individuals this practice has resulted in hypertension.
- Can be dehydrating especially during endurance events if additional fluids are not consumed.
- High intake of free amino acids may cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
- Creates imbalances of the essential amino acids.

*Information provided by: US Navy Seal Guide to Fitness and Nutrition

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