how much protein for fat loss and muscle gain?

Answered on December 12, 2013
Created December 10, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Hi:) ive been paleo for about 4 years. Just realized im not eating enough protein ( i think) for my lifestle, and goals. i'm 32 yr old female, 5'2" about 154lb(got relaxed and gain a little).manual labor type job... Should i be eating 154g of protein? My menu today was: breakfast 2 eggs scrambled in bacon fat, 1 slice bacon, (13g protein i think), (then i lifted at the gym) then had 4 sausagepatties (16g protein) and a carrot, i just had lunch, big salad w/ oil and vinegar and chicken breast halve to get another 46grams of protein. I am SO full, couldnt finish my salad....and i still have to get more protein in... is this right? Goals are muscle gain and fat loss. Thanks in advance!!

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2 Answers

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on December 12, 2013
at 05:19 AM

Not necessarily.

This is not from a paleo source, but the info on some general aspects of dieting and working out are right on. The recommended protein chart is a very good reference; after a stupid amount of research and self testing on the topic, I say this is a good chart. Unless your manual labor and workout is very high-end/extreme, you fall in the .8-1 g/lb range.


You need to be working very hard and have a lot of other things in line before too much more protein is really needed, and even then, we're talking about optimization. In my experience, charted results tracking every bit of weight, reps, and gains during months of a hardcore workout routine 4 days per week 2-4 hours per day in a highly optimized state, showed there is a big difference moving up to 1-1.5 to even 2 g/lb max (in certain cases). Too low protein while in that routine, and hair stops growing. However, at 2-3 days for 1 hour quite intense bodybuilding workout, 1 g/lb (male) or .8 g/lb (female) is absolutely plenty of protein.

A critically important question is what is your body doing right now?

  • gaining fat and losing muscle
  • gaining fat and maintaining muscle
  • or gaining both

Combined that thought with:

  • how much are you working out?
  • how many pounds of lean mass do you want to add?

And that leads to a conclusion. If your primary goal is to blast a little fat and maybe pick up just a few pounds of lean mass, protein optimization after a certain amount is really fine tuning it. Unless you're seriously jammin on those weights and going for significant gains, you can get away with .5 g/lb. Rather focus on this:

  • do get .8-1 g/lb protein when you can, but over .5 g/lb is okay
  • focus on a proper paleo diet
  • be in a significant calorie deficit to help lose fat quickly

Now a few paleo key considerations. The paleo diet is such that you can win by not counting calories and letting the proper eating just take it's course. When it comes to the details, it's also true that not all calories are equal and there's certainly more than just calories in and calories out. However, the end result is still about a net energy extraction from your body—ultimately. Using tools like www.myfitnesspal.com (track consumption) and www.bodymedia.com (track burn) are awesome ways to help see what's going on.

Certainly optimize it if that's your goal, but the protein factor may already be just fine where it's at.



on December 10, 2013
at 08:17 PM

I think the bro-science is 1g protein per 1lb lean mass. So at 154, and assuming 35% body fat, that would be ~100g protein. throw in a 6oz steak/burger/etc (or a protein shake or a chicken breast or a 9oz salmon, etc) and you're good for the day.

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