By now, you probably know that protein is one of the most important macronutrients for building muscle. If you didn’t know, well, now you do. Protein contains amino acids which help our muscles rebuild and repair after training. To deprive yourself of these nutrients would be catastrophic to your muscular development.
So does more protein equal more muscle? To a certain extent, yes. But eat too much, and you basically risk losing the excess amount through your urine and giving your kidneys and wallet an unnecessary beating. It’s also not as easy as stuffing your face with chicken wings day in and day out just because they contain protein in them.
THERE IS A SCIENCE TO PERFECTING PROTEIN INTAKE
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD YOU EAT?
The question of how much protein you should eat really depends on what your physical goals are. The “Golden Rule” of protein consumption to build muscle is 0.6gm per every one kilogram of bodyweight. This ensures that your body is getting enough protein to prevent muscle breakdown.
But let’s suppose you’re in a cutting phase. You’ve packed on a few kilos over the years and you need to shred some fat. In a calorie restricted diet, you’re most likely going to be restricting your carbs and fats. That means you risk losing precious muscle tissue.
In this scenario, it would be a good idea to increase your daily protein intake slightly, to preserve as much muscle tissue as possible.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I CONSUME IN ONE MEAL?
This question leaves many people confused and there are varying opinions. Once upon a time, it was believed that your body could not process more than 30g of protein at a time, however, this was debunked since after working out, the body can adequately absorb upwards of 50g of protein.
The ideal amount per meal really depends on how well your stomach can tolerate food quantities. Stick with anywhere from 30-50g and play around with the amounts to find the proper balance for you.
WHAT PROTEIN SOURCES SHOULD I CONSUME?
A healthy variety of protein sources are important to keep your metabolism guessing as well as your taste buds content. Aim for lean, unprocessed sources like chicken breast, lean red meat, fish and eggs (go easy on the yolks).
Dairy products also have their place in a diet, and if you’re going the low carb route, cottage cheese can be a great late night option since the casein protein it contains digests a lot slower.
Don’t forget that you can combine foods like rice, beans and other vegetables — since all of these items contain incomplete protein — when combined, forms a complete protein.