What Is Protein And How Much Should You Get Each Day?
Most people already know that protein goes hand-in-hand with building muscle.
But what many guys don’t know is why this is, or exactly how much protein they should be getting.
Basically, all protein that you eat actually consists of building blocks known as amino acids.
There are about 20 different types of amino acids that are found in the human food supply, and your body uses these amino acids for various different things.
When you eat protein, it is broken down into these amino acids, which are then used to support various important bodily functions.
One of the most important of these functions is the creation of new proteins.
These are used to repair and maintain your organs (heart, liver, lungs, etc), your hair, and also your muscles.
Therefore, it follows that getting an adequate supply of protein is incredibly important if you are looking to develop strength and build muscle properly.
Without sufficient protein, you’ll lack the basic building blocks to do this, which makes developing a lean, muscular body almost impossible.
In this article, I’ll be answering some of the most common questions that people tend to have about protein – including how much protein you need each day, which sources are the best, and if eating too much can be dangerous for you.
Which Type Of Protein Is The Best?
Now many of the supplement companies would love for you to believe that their specific blend of protein is the best one for you to eat.
However, the truth is that there really isn’t much difference from one protein source to another, in terms of their ability to help you build muscle.
Sure, certain types of protein will digest faster (like whey), whereas other types of protein will digest slower (like casein) – but at the end of the day what really matters is that you are getting a sufficient quantity of protein each day, regardless of the specific sources.
At the end of the day, protein shakes and supplements should simply be seen as convenient sources of protein for you to eat, nothing more.
And you certainly don’t need them if you’re getting enough protein from other sources.
If you’d like more information about protein supplements, then check out my ultimate guide here.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
There are lots of different theories about how much protein you should be getting.
If you were to trust the RDA guidelines for protein, you would only need to eat roughly 50-60 grams per day as an adult male.
While this may be enough for guys who don’t work out, it isn’t nearly enough if you want to build muscle properly.
Instead, the amount of protein that you need per day will be based on how much you weigh, how lean you are, and what your current goals are.
However, as a general rule of thumb you should be getting roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
This means that a 185 lbs man should be getting roughly 185 grams of protein each and every day.
Is Too Much Protein Dangerous?
You may have heard that eating too much protein isn’t good for you.
This belief originated from a study which suggested that high protein diets could be damaging to kidney function.
However, as many subsequent studies have shown, high protein diets are only an issue if you have pre-existing kidney problems.
For people with normal kidney functioning, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a lot of protein in your diet, so you can put such fears to rest.
If you’d like more information about the potential dangers of too much protein, take a look at my more detailed article here.
List Of High Protein Foods
When trying to meet your protein requirements, here are some of the main foods that you should focus on:
- Egg whites
- Protein powder/bars
Chicken, turkey and egg whites are almost all protein – hardly any fat.
Beef and pork are also high in protein, but also have higher fat.
Fish is high in protein, and tends to vary in terms of fat content (tilapia/tuna are lean, salmon is more fatty, etc).
None of these foods have a significant amount of carbohydrates.
As a general rule, try to build every meal that you eat around one of these protein sources.
Basically, you should avoid eating meals that don’t contain a decent amount of protein.
However, if for some reason you are low in protein for any of your main meals, you can use either protein powder or protein bars to help meet your targets.
There are a lot of different protein supplement brands out there – but if you’re looking for a high-quality protein powder that tastes pretty good, is affordable, and widely available, I would strongly recommend going with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey.
You can order a tub of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey from Amazon here. Most of the flavors taste pretty good, but I personally like Double Rich Chocolate.
In addition, if you are looking for an easy protein source to eat on-the-go, you should definitely try Quest bars. They taste really good (seriously), have 20 grams of protein per bar, and tons of fiber.
You can order a box of Quest bars from Amazon here. Most of the flavors are great, but I particularly like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookies & Cream.