5

votes

What is the going consensus on how much protein and dietary fat is required daily for their basic functions like maintaining muscle mass and hormonal homeostasis?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 20, 2013 at 6:59 AM

I have read that 20g of dietary fat (essential fatty acids) and 0.7 to 1.0g per pound of bodyweight of protein a day is standard minimum for healthful function. Anyone have any clarifications or expanded info on this?

Thanks!

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:32 PM

@eric, exactly.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:32 PM

Hey, thanks for calling me fit man, people used to just call me skinny, lol. Yea, like I said, everybody is a little different. I could probably concede though that my protein intake is above maintenance, though I definitely don't agree it's 3-4 times above maintenance by any means. Eric could be a 12 year old 95 pound boy or a 300 pound bodybuilder, he didn't stipulate in his question. My biggest point is that accurate answers will vary from person to person, what's right for me might be wrong for you.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:13 PM

I thought that first on was interesting too , because there are a lot of articles out there stating matter-of-factly that overconsumption of ANY protein leaches calcium from your bones. I've learned that when statements are made matter-of-factly like that, there are a lot of missing, incongruent, or downright misleading information involved.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:11 PM

The fact is, unless we experiment on ourselves, we'll never really know what is too little or too much depending on our lifestyle and goals.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:01 PM

And I'm sure that level of protein works for you, individually. In general, your level of protein is excessive, you are an outlier.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:59 PM

I've seen your other posts, I know you're "active" and assuming that's you in your av picture, you look fit. Protein needs don't scale with calorie intake. So where 25% of calories as protein might work for somebody with a low-calorie need (such as a deficit when dieting), at maintenance or when energy expenditure is high, that number drops to 10-20%. 3-4 times the maintenance protein levels seems excessive, but then, I'm about being frugal and highly efficient.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:35 PM

@matt, you are assuming I'm not physically active doing activities that are extremely intense. That I don't eat a 3500+ calorie diet. Assuming that I'm not actively trying to put on size. Assuming that I don't have an extremely fast metabolism. 200 grams of protein is less less than 25% of my daily value of calories, combined with intense physical exercises this seems reasonable to me. I've been vegan and I've been Atkins, I've been vlc and I've been vlf, now I eat what feels good to me eating. You're entitled to your opinion, But ask more about me before you assume or generalize please.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:15 PM

You know how much I hate waste and inefficiency... Consuming 200+ grams of protein and simply breaking much of that down to urea for calories.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 20, 2013
at 04:29 PM

@ Matt- "I try to get," which isn't the same as "I need."

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:50 PM

Really think you need 200+ grams of protein daily?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:43 PM

Eric, check the author on that second study: T. Colin Campbell. I've seen the first study and it's an interesting one, actually looking at real folks and the real effect on bone density, as opposed to population-based correlations as Campbell relies on.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:14 PM

Wow, and then this article totally refutes the one above! http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Nov96/osteoporosis.ssl.html

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:10 PM

Found an article which makes a case for 85-90g/day (animal protein not plant protein) based on preserving bone mineral density. Interesting. http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2011/02/does-protein-leach-calcium-from-bones.html

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 07:34 AM

It would appear that the USRDA is set at 60% carbs / 30% fat / 10% protein as the RECOMMENDED macro ratio. This is the ratio that appears on the Nutrition Facts label on the products that we buy (the actual Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet). I am sure alot of you already knew this, but it's been awhile since I looked those up, so I thought I'd share after the number-crunching.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 07:28 AM

It would appear that the USRDA is set at 60% carbs / 30% fat / 10% protein as the RECOMMENDED macro ratio. This is the ratio that appears on the Nutrition Facts label on the products that we buy (the actual Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 kcal diet). I am sure alot of you already knew this, but it's been awhile since I looked those up, so I thought I'd share.

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4 Answers

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 02:48 PM

The question is what's the minimum level and what's the optimum level?

The oft quoted 1 gram per pound weight or 1 gram per pound lean mass is much higher than the minimum level, and might even be higher than the optimum level. That number is a good number to shoot for when in an energy deficit as it hedges one's odds that lean mass is preserved.

The minimum level is pretty darn low. The oft-quoted 'conventional' minimum is 0.8 gram protein per kilogram bodyweight (0.37 grams per pound). For a 150 pound man, that's just 54 grams. Seems to be a reasonable number to me, particularly when a full grown individual has no growth to fuel and only has to maintain body condition.

Of course, there are times when that number increases. Strenuous work will call for more cellular repair, increasing protein needs. Young or old age where growth or repair needs increase again up the protein needs. But... needs don't increase that much, probably not to the point of the popular paleo/bodybuilding numbers.


Not sure on the fat levels. I've not seen any numbers floated around. Essential fats amounts are rather low, and unless on an extremely restrictive diet, the amounts needed are easily met.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:13 PM

I thought that first on was interesting too , because there are a lot of articles out there stating matter-of-factly that overconsumption of ANY protein leaches calcium from your bones. I've learned that when statements are made matter-of-factly like that, there are a lot of missing, incongruent, or downright misleading information involved.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:43 PM

Eric, check the author on that second study: T. Colin Campbell. I've seen the first study and it's an interesting one, actually looking at real folks and the real effect on bone density, as opposed to population-based correlations as Campbell relies on.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:10 PM

Found an article which makes a case for 85-90g/day (animal protein not plant protein) based on preserving bone mineral density. Interesting. http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2011/02/does-protein-leach-calcium-from-bones.html

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:14 PM

Wow, and then this article totally refutes the one above! http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Nov96/osteoporosis.ssl.html

2
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 02:14 PM

I try to get 200+ grams of protein 100-200 grams of carbs and 150 grams of fat per day. But you might need more or less depending on your age, height, weight and activity level.

Tthe amount of fat will vary depending on what fats you are consuming, same with protein. This question would also vary from person to person, there isn't a one size fits all by any means. Listen to your body, find what works for you.

88c82a46d0c35cb4a8cd41d487a2884a

(98)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:11 PM

The fact is, unless we experiment on ourselves, we'll never really know what is too little or too much depending on our lifestyle and goals.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 20, 2013
at 04:29 PM

@ Matt- "I try to get," which isn't the same as "I need."

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:15 PM

You know how much I hate waste and inefficiency... Consuming 200+ grams of protein and simply breaking much of that down to urea for calories.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:59 PM

I've seen your other posts, I know you're "active" and assuming that's you in your av picture, you look fit. Protein needs don't scale with calorie intake. So where 25% of calories as protein might work for somebody with a low-calorie need (such as a deficit when dieting), at maintenance or when energy expenditure is high, that number drops to 10-20%. 3-4 times the maintenance protein levels seems excessive, but then, I'm about being frugal and highly efficient.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:35 PM

@matt, you are assuming I'm not physically active doing activities that are extremely intense. That I don't eat a 3500+ calorie diet. Assuming that I'm not actively trying to put on size. Assuming that I don't have an extremely fast metabolism. 200 grams of protein is less less than 25% of my daily value of calories, combined with intense physical exercises this seems reasonable to me. I've been vegan and I've been Atkins, I've been vlc and I've been vlf, now I eat what feels good to me eating. You're entitled to your opinion, But ask more about me before you assume or generalize please.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:01 PM

And I'm sure that level of protein works for you, individually. In general, your level of protein is excessive, you are an outlier.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:32 PM

@eric, exactly.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 20, 2013
at 06:32 PM

Hey, thanks for calling me fit man, people used to just call me skinny, lol. Yea, like I said, everybody is a little different. I could probably concede though that my protein intake is above maintenance, though I definitely don't agree it's 3-4 times above maintenance by any means. Eric could be a 12 year old 95 pound boy or a 300 pound bodybuilder, he didn't stipulate in his question. My biggest point is that accurate answers will vary from person to person, what's right for me might be wrong for you.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 20, 2013
at 03:50 PM

Really think you need 200+ grams of protein daily?

1
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on January 21, 2013
at 06:57 AM

I think paleo has extremely overestimated protein and fat requirements to say the least. I think 30 - 60g of protein would cover most peoples needs. Fatty acid requirments are rather minute from what I have read. "optimal" probably depends on the person and goals. It could be more or less. The traditional Okinawanan diet was estimated to be about 9% of calories as protein providing about 40g of protein and 7% of calories as fat providing about 12g. In times of illness the protein requirments may increase.

0
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12672)

on January 21, 2013
at 12:36 AM

I think there's decent evidence that an optimal protein intake for most people should be above .75 grams per kilogram of body weight, probably ≥1 g/kg protein for things like glutathione synthesis:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/1/101.short

Bone health:

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/3/855S.full

http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/89/3/1169.full

And nitrogen balance during exercise:

http://jap.physiology.org/content/64/1/187.short

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