Most people know that they need protein, and that people who work out need more. But there seems to be confusion on the reason we need protein, and over the amount of protein needed. Protein powder is generally regarded as a “bodybuilder supplement,” but really it is great for anyone who needs to up their protein.
Why Do I Need Protein?
Dietary protein, called the building blocks for muscle, is where your body gets the material it needs in order to repair and maintain muscle tissue. Many people who do not workout have the misconception that they do not need to consume protein because they are not trying to build their muscle, but it’s not just about building muscle. Life, living, breathing and moving, breaks down tissue.
When you sleep, your body does most of its repair from the daily damage to each cell. The nutrients you take in from food, liquids and supplements is what it has to go on to make sure that everything is up to order. If there are not enough materials to get the job done, it doesn’t. In cases where there are repairs that need to be done to vital cells and organs and there are not the proper nutrients, the body will break down muscle tissue itself to use the raw materials to make the necessary repairs.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
The largest protein recommendation ever supported by a controlled study is 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or approximately 0.73 grams protein/pound of lean body mass. You determine your lean body mass by knowing your body fat percentage. Relying on a scale to tell you your body fat is not a great idea. Scales and electronic devices can be up to 20% off. Try and get your body fat tested by an experienced, certified trainer.
Formula to determine your protein needs.
- Multiply your body fat percent by your total weight
- Subtract the two numbers
- Multiply that number by 0.73
- You are left with the approximate number of grams anyone would need
In active people can get away with as little as .4 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
There are many resources that promote consuming more than this, but there is no evidence to date that supports that train of thought. There are also claims made that too much protein consumption is bad for the kidneys, but once again, there is nothing to support that elevated protein consumption, in a healthy individual, is damaging to the kidneys. However, if you are consuming more than 400 grams a day, you are on your own.
Probably the biggest set back of consuming too much protein is that your body will have nothing to do with the extra calories but to store it as fat. Using a protein powder to make sure you are meeting your protein goals is a great way to get quality protein without consuming excess fat and carbohydrates.