I’m 28, 5’10” and weigh 170 lbs.
I work my butt off in the gym 4-5 times a week and am in good shape but like everyone else out there – I’m always looking to bulk up more.
My question concerns protein powders. I eat a protein bar and down a protein shake each day religiously and also eat lean chicken, turkey and tuna. But I don’t know how much protein I should be taking in each day.
One friend tells me I should aim to consume 2 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight, another says it’s one gram and a third says too much protein can affect your kidneys and is dangerous.
So what do you say Alfonso? I’d love the Angry Trainer’s take. Everyone seems to have a different opinion!
Hey Tim, how are you?
You ask a good, yet very controversial question. There are a lot of different theories regarding just how much protein athletes should consume. You’re right, the old 2 grams per pound of lean bodyweight is the industry norm, but truthfully I don’t think it needs to be that high. I’m guilty of consuming even more than that in my bodybuilding heyday. Nowadays, I only plan to eat 1.5 grams per pound of lean bodyweight at most. Most people actually overeat protein and I’m sure even you only count your shakes, chicken and other known protein sources in your daily count.
But protein is also found in a lot of other foods like rice, beans, nuts, milk, cheeses and such. You could easily be eating dozens of additional grams and not even know it. I eat a lot of whole, natural foods so I’ve actually dropped my portion sizes of meats to no more than 5oz. I don’t think it’s any secret that excessive proteins, especially from meat sources can constipate you. Plus, you have to remember that your body can only process and use so much of any nutrient at one time, so I don’t think monster servings of protein are efficient, or productive for muscle maintenance, repair and growth.
As for the ever–circulating story of kidney damage due to a high protein diet, my recollection of those findings came from a study in which patients with existing kidney disease suffered more damage by eating high protein diets. Well duh! It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. For all we know high fat diets, or high sugar diets may have had the same effect. As far as I know or have read, there is no link or correlation between moderate to high protein diets in healthy individuals and kidney damage or disease.
I think your best bet is to concentrate on quality sources of protein and not worry so much about the quantity. I believe as the quality of nutrients and food goes up, the amount you need to consume can go down. You didn’t say which kinds of bars and shakes you’re using, but make sure they’re name brand and made with quality ingredients. You can’t go wrong with products from big names like Muscle Milk, EAS and MetRx. Good luck and keep up the good work.
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