2

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How much is "too much" protein?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 23, 2012 at 9:22 PM

I'm wondering how many grams of protein per day is healthy and recommended for a young, active female?

Should I follow the .8-1.2 grams/kg of body weight ratio? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

9d142ffae34c518722ea67d4cfb89a19

on April 25, 2013
at 04:54 PM

Yea to be clear about PHD book: it's an ammonia toxicity problem (not protein per se) and related to your body's ability to eliminate the digestive byproducts of protein synthesis (ammonia). Which is what people are thinking about when they hear high-protein and kidney strain.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 24, 2012
at 04:28 PM

I just pulled out my PHD book and saw I got the number wrong - they say protein toxicity (in the form of ammonia production) can start at 150g-200g protein/day, not 100g. This is a much more lenient range, and I've edited my answer to fit. The numbers were taken from a study that measured the body's conversion of ammonia to urea as a result of protein intake. I'm sure that figure can be adjusted if you're bigger (height/muscle-wise) than the average person, but that's over 2 lbs. of meat per day, so I doubt many of us will be walking that line.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2012
at 04:07 PM

I wonder what evidence PHD has that protein toxicity starts around 100 g/day. Seems like more hoodoo...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Where's the **scientific** evidence that 50/70 grams is all folks really need?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on March 24, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Don't forget that meat contains things other than protein--fat, water, etc., that increase the total mass of what you're eating. 50g protein =/= 50g meat.

65bba2aa1de77b31c373c1a390c43ca8

(423)

on March 24, 2012
at 12:06 PM

Am I converting right? 50g is equal to 1.7636981 oz... Isn't that CRAZY low? I was thinking you usually want 3-4 oz (at least) per serving!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on March 23, 2012
at 10:50 PM

I should've added though that I don't think there is any research that has shown that something higher, like 1.5 grams protein per pound of body weight, is detrimental. I think all that kidney-damage stuff is for special populations, not athletic people

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7 Answers

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on March 23, 2012
at 10:48 PM

For males involved in anything athletic I'd say 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is enough for fueling recovery, assuming of course that all dietary calories are there. I'd say that even for those looking to add muscle mass that same ratio is fine, all you'd then do is make sure again dietary calories were high enough overall.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on March 23, 2012
at 10:50 PM

I should've added though that I don't think there is any research that has shown that something higher, like 1.5 grams protein per pound of body weight, is detrimental. I think all that kidney-damage stuff is for special populations, not athletic people

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2012
at 03:03 PM

It's particularly hard to over-do protein. You have to exclude everything else and stick to extremely lean protein to actually see the negative effects of it all. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation

1
A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 23, 2012
at 11:39 PM

The Perfect Health Diet advocates keeping protein under 150g/day (about 1 lb. of meat) to avoid toxicity, but there's nothing wrong with eating 75g-125g even if you don't "need" it. Muscles are built with fat & carbs too, and your actual protein "needs" are very low, around 5-20g/day! I eat about an lb. of meat a day, not because I need protein but because meat is a delicious, nutrient-dense calorie source.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 24, 2012
at 04:28 PM

I just pulled out my PHD book and saw I got the number wrong - they say protein toxicity (in the form of ammonia production) can start at 150g-200g protein/day, not 100g. This is a much more lenient range, and I've edited my answer to fit. The numbers were taken from a study that measured the body's conversion of ammonia to urea as a result of protein intake. I'm sure that figure can be adjusted if you're bigger (height/muscle-wise) than the average person, but that's over 2 lbs. of meat per day, so I doubt many of us will be walking that line.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2012
at 04:07 PM

I wonder what evidence PHD has that protein toxicity starts around 100 g/day. Seems like more hoodoo...

9d142ffae34c518722ea67d4cfb89a19

on April 25, 2013
at 04:54 PM

Yea to be clear about PHD book: it's an ammonia toxicity problem (not protein per se) and related to your body's ability to eliminate the digestive byproducts of protein synthesis (ammonia). Which is what people are thinking about when they hear high-protein and kidney strain.

0
E753cf7753e7be889ca68b1a4203483f

on March 24, 2012
at 01:03 PM

No more than a quarter of total calories on a maintenance diet, meaning up to 125g/day on a 2000 kcal diet.

0
9ba98ff40c0c4045be98682fa3e4d819

on March 24, 2012
at 02:00 AM

Wondering if the precise weight in grams would be different depending on the source of the protein. Seems like you'd have to consume more nuts and seeds to get protein comparable to a quarter-pound of beef or chicken or fish. What do you make of the rough heuristic that a serving of protein at any meal shouldn't exceed the amount you can comfortably fit into your palm ?

0
324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on March 23, 2012
at 09:49 PM

~50g/day for average sized females and ~70g/day for average sized males. If you are exceptionally tall or muscular, you may need up to 30% more, but that's about it. People who are not trying to build muscle need even less. The figure of 1g per lb of bodyweight was made up by supplement companies so they can sell more supplements. There's no scientific data to back it up.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on March 24, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Don't forget that meat contains things other than protein--fat, water, etc., that increase the total mass of what you're eating. 50g protein =/= 50g meat.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 24, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Where's the **scientific** evidence that 50/70 grams is all folks really need?

65bba2aa1de77b31c373c1a390c43ca8

(423)

on March 24, 2012
at 12:06 PM

Am I converting right? 50g is equal to 1.7636981 oz... Isn't that CRAZY low? I was thinking you usually want 3-4 oz (at least) per serving!

0
D12142c8cafb16d9af10b3362cb8fb62

(1590)

on March 23, 2012
at 09:36 PM

Depends on your carb intake.

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