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How much protein is too much

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 01, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I'm only 115 pounds, so from what I've heard I should only be eating 115 grams, but I find it so easy to take in much more. I'm trying to gain weight how much protein is the maximum per day. Please put a link leading to a trusted article supporting your answer

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 02, 2013
at 12:46 PM

If by optimum, you mean minimum to maintain nitrogen balance. I'd agree with that number. As activity levels increase, so does the minimum for nitrogen balance. And if he's wanting to gain mass, he needs positive nitrogen balance. He doesn't need a shit-ton more than this, certainly doesn't need 100+ grams.

14b8422e9b449a21e06fa3349953d4f7

(220)

on August 01, 2013
at 11:26 PM

Raw vegan, I train so hard I'm almost about to puke after I'm done. The amount of protein you suggest would be barely enough to ensure I don't get sick if I were to sit in bed all day and not work my muscles at all

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 10:49 PM

Only if you want to look emaciated like a raw vegan.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 01, 2013
at 10:46 PM

50 grams of protein with at least 50 grams of carbohydrate is pretty hard to mess up. Those are just the essential amounts. The remainder can be whatever you want it to be protein, fat or carbs. Large excess of protein as advocated by body builders are largely unnecessary.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 01, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Well those paltry numbers are used in 500 calorie PSMFs. It's the actual grams of stuff that matters for nitrogen balance, not necessarily a certain number of calories. The carbs are necessary because without them you will convert amino acids to glucose and you'll have negative nitrogen balance.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on August 01, 2013
at 09:53 PM

That's only 400 calories Matt, would you recommend someone get the rest from fat or what kind of split would you suggest on 3k calorie diet?

C16e2e3642960bfaabee1c1c7fbf9df1

(384)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:54 PM

It's satiating enough that you wouldn't probably want to eat much else, unless you start blending steaks up or something. Mmmm, steak smoothies.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I think the OP is worried about getting too much protein. Your breakdown is spot on though, and yes the protein supplement industry is a waste.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:47 PM

About 200g or so.

14b8422e9b449a21e06fa3349953d4f7

(220)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:38 PM

So for a 5'5 115 pound person what would the maximum be?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Unless someone is supplementing with protein powder it is not easy to get much above those numbers anyway.

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6 Answers

1
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:38 PM

  • ~40g - you are getting enough bioavailable nitrogen to not have complications
  • ~60g-80g - you are likely getting enough protein to maintain mass under very light exercise (possible only weekly or so). Depending on body size, this should be considered "minimum" protein. V*gans hit this with ease - you can, too.
  • ~70-150g - you are getting enough protein to provide your body ample building blocks to take part in the repair process from regular, intense/heavy exercise. (This is a simplistic view of how protein is metabolized, but it works for this discussion.) This range is wide, because it is based on body types and sizes.
  • ~100g-280g - you are wasting your money, if you think this amount of protein is going to be helpful; and again, this range is based on body size.

The best calculation I've found is 0.8g per lb of lean body mass. So, knowing your BF%, you can calculate your LBM. My example ... 185lb @ 11BF% = (165lb LBM + 20lb fat) ... 165 * 0.8 = 132g. I get this much protein easily. Some days I get more, and I don't fret too much.

It's so easy to hit these amounts from real food, that it should make you appropriately skeptical of the entire supplemental protein industry.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I think the OP is worried about getting too much protein. Your breakdown is spot on though, and yes the protein supplement industry is a waste.

1
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:33 PM

I personally don't count my macros, I just eat real healthy foods, and my hormones and appetite controls the rest, just like animals in the wild.

But Dr. Cordain says "Protein toxicity can be calculated by using pre-determined figures for maximal urea synthesis in the liver. These values are expressed as milligrams/Nitrogen/hour/kilogram body weight ^0.75. Using another equation, it is then possible to calculate a range of values for the maximal protein ceiling in grams per day. For example from the spreadsheet I have developed to do these calculations, a 60 kg (132 lb) person would have a maximal protein ceiling ranging from 178 g to 245 g whereas a 75 kg (165 lb) person would have a range of 210 to 290 g of protein per day."

Not sure if that is helpful or very accurate.

14b8422e9b449a21e06fa3349953d4f7

(220)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:38 PM

So for a 5'5 115 pound person what would the maximum be?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:47 PM

About 200g or so.

0
E7c33ad2eb87ac41950b5acf5478b65a

on August 02, 2013
at 02:19 AM

been reading more of Rosedale's research on lowering protein. http://drrosedale.com/healthplan#axzz2am2pAyKx Seems like 1g per kilogram of LBM is his suggestion to prevent a host of ills. Also his debate with Jamminet is a fun read. http://drrosedale.com/blog/2012/08/18/a-conclusion-to-the-safe-starch-debate-by-answering-four-questions/#axzz2am2pAyKx

0
9a03e9be5d6ecb77814482612613be52

on August 01, 2013
at 10:37 PM

If you are 115 pounds, your approximate daily value of protein should be about 41 grams.

0.36 X Your Weight = Optimum Protein Requirement

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 10:49 PM

Only if you want to look emaciated like a raw vegan.

14b8422e9b449a21e06fa3349953d4f7

(220)

on August 01, 2013
at 11:26 PM

Raw vegan, I train so hard I'm almost about to puke after I'm done. The amount of protein you suggest would be barely enough to ensure I don't get sick if I were to sit in bed all day and not work my muscles at all

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 02, 2013
at 12:46 PM

If by optimum, you mean minimum to maintain nitrogen balance. I'd agree with that number. As activity levels increase, so does the minimum for nitrogen balance. And if he's wanting to gain mass, he needs positive nitrogen balance. He doesn't need a shit-ton more than this, certainly doesn't need 100+ grams.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:36 PM

You don't need all that much for growth, lean mass gain on the order of grams per day, means you need only a slight positive nitrogen balance to put on lean mass. A reference point: Nitrogen balance is around 50 grams protein per day with 50 grams of carbohydrate. That's what is fed during PSMFs.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 01, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Well those paltry numbers are used in 500 calorie PSMFs. It's the actual grams of stuff that matters for nitrogen balance, not necessarily a certain number of calories. The carbs are necessary because without them you will convert amino acids to glucose and you'll have negative nitrogen balance.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on August 01, 2013
at 09:53 PM

That's only 400 calories Matt, would you recommend someone get the rest from fat or what kind of split would you suggest on 3k calorie diet?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 01, 2013
at 10:46 PM

50 grams of protein with at least 50 grams of carbohydrate is pretty hard to mess up. Those are just the essential amounts. The remainder can be whatever you want it to be protein, fat or carbs. Large excess of protein as advocated by body builders are largely unnecessary.

0
C16e2e3642960bfaabee1c1c7fbf9df1

(384)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:34 PM

I'd say as a general rule of thumb you don't need to go over 1 or maybe 1.5 grams of protein to lean body mass. The body will just start breaking it down and using it as energy.

Also, you might be putting it ahead of other important macros that will help you bulk up. Not that you can't gain weight being fat adapted, but carbs will help you put on weight. And fat is obviously important too.

I think i read that the small intestine can physically handle up to 500 grams of protein. But i don't have a credible source to back that up.

Basically, stick with 1 gram, that's plenty. And get plenty of good fats, safe starchy carbs (yams, squash, yucca etc) and keep at a calorie surplus :)

C16e2e3642960bfaabee1c1c7fbf9df1

(384)

on August 01, 2013
at 07:54 PM

It's satiating enough that you wouldn't probably want to eat much else, unless you start blending steaks up or something. Mmmm, steak smoothies.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 01, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Unless someone is supplementing with protein powder it is not easy to get much above those numbers anyway.

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