Protein requirements of the individual

Protein requirements of the individual

Every human body has a different protein requirement. This depends on many different factors, e.g. age, gender, occupation, physical activity in general and in particular the sport, etc. In addition, it matters whether you exercise your sport the natural way or with legal or illegal supplements and performance enhancing drugs.

 

In principle the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.

This amounts to:

56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.

46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

These 0.8 g / kg body weight are a reference point for a normal, physically inactive person. However, with increasing physical activity, the required amount of protein increases in some cases drastically. In the past it was assumed that primarily athletes in a strength sport such as bodybuilding or powerlifting have an increased need. By now we know that even endurance athletes need a much larger amount of protein. The recommended amount here is 1.5-2 grams per kg of body weight or 0.7-0.9 grams per pound.

This amounts to:

105-140 grams per day for the average man.

87-115 grams per day for the average woman.

 

The need for strength athletes is at the higher end of this recommendation. In my experience and in the experience of many other experts, it has been shown that high protein consumption accelerates muscle growth. The recommendation here is at 1.5g-2g / kg body weight for the natural athlete. The use of anabolic steroids, growth hormone or other performance enhancing drugs increases the need to 3g / kg body weight. This represents a sufficient amount for most athletes, although there are certainly professional bodybuilders who consume significantly more. It has not been proven that extreme high protein diets (4-5g /kg body weight) are more effective and efficient in muscle building. In my opinion, it is not necessary to go over 1.5-2g, because extreme high amounts of protein have diminishing returns. Because of the fact that the body does not store protein in storages like carbohydrate (glycogen stores) or fat (in fat cells) excessive protein is converted into carbohydrates and fat, thus making the excess protein only into a more expensive energy source and not a muscle building block.

The quantities and numbers just given refer to an athlete who is in a muscle building phase. In such a case, the body gets an excess of nutrients, and positive caloric balance, so that the supplied amount of protein can be used completely to supply the musculature and the body with amino acids. Positive caloric balance means, that the body is consuming more calories than it burns.

It looks different when you are on a fat loss diet. In any weight loss diet, it is a prerequisite to get the body into an energy deficit. Energy deficit means that the body burns more calories than it consumes. Depending on the size of the deficit, not only carbohydrates and fats are used for energy production, but also protein. The process of converting amino acids or fats into body fuel (glucose = carbohydrate) in the liver is also called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis, in simple terms, means the new production of glucose as an energy source for the body.

Therefore, one should increase the protein content of the fat loss diet in compared to muscle building phase. In order to ensure an adequate supply of protein, I recommend  An increase of 0.25g-0.5g / kg for the natural athlete.

This amounts to:

150 grams per day for the average man.

120 grams per day for the average woman.

 

One thing you should watch out for with an increased protein intake, however, is that the water intake should be increased to the same extent. The load on the kidneys increases due to a higher filtration demand with larger protein intake. A common guideline is 1 liter of water per 20kg of bodyweight.

 

This amounts to:

3.5 liter water per day for the average man.

2.8 liter water per day for the average woman.

 

 

So what is the best and ideal formula then? As with everything in life, the answer is: it is somewhere in the middle. You have to experiment yourself or consult an expert, because everybody is different.

 

Benefits of increased protein intake