How Much Protein Do You Need?

Everyone has an opinion on the best type of protein, when to take it, how much to take etc etc.

Luc Van Loon did a great job of cutting through the hype at the ICST conference in 2014 (see my review) and here's a 2-part paper that sheds light on what some will have you believe is a very complicated subject.

Some of the key take home messages from the papers...

Individuals who regularly perform exercise training have an increased protein requirement from the RDA of 0.8to 1.2-1.8.

Animal sources (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, milk, cheese, dairy, egg,etc.) of protein are considered complete proteins and are recommended.

Plant sources of protein are missing one or more essential amino acids; isolates of soy are the only exception.

Supplemental sources of high-quality proteins, such as whey and casein are popular, but not necessar-ily required. However, regular provisions of amino acids promote a positive muscle protein balance and the added convenience of supplemental proteins may be of benefit.

An optimal protein dose is one that stimulates MPS and promotes a positive balance of muscle protein. Optimal doses of protein are considered to be approximately 20-25g in younger individuals and 20-40g for older individuals.

Any beneficial impact of protein timing seems to be diminished (or eliminated altogether) when absolute intake of protein achieves levels commensurate with activity levels. In a similar fashion, coingestion of carbohydrate with protein has potential to favorably impact rates of muscle glycogen recovery, but this effect is most predominant when absolute daily intake of carbohydrates are not of a level that is commensurate with activity levels.

Available research does indicate that post exercise ingestion of protein may exert favorable outcomes, such as improvements in strength and FFM.When this research is performed in untrained or individuals with only minimal exposure to exercise training, the impact of timing is likely greater, an outcome that is more likely to do with the training status and known changes in protein metabolism.

Consuming multiple doses of protein in intermediate sizes doses (20-25g) throughout the day may favorably impact changes in MPS and overall changes in body mass, fat mass, and FFM.

In combination with a heavy resistance training program, elevated intakes of dietary protein have been clearly shown in the literature to promote greater accretion of strength and FFM.