Depending on goals and lifestyles, the recommended protein intake varies. However, it is essential to find the right balance so as not to consume too much protein and suffer from various physical inconveniences. So how much protein can you eat per day? It is quite legitimate to ask the question and we answer your questions in detail.
- How many grams of protein per day?
- How much protein per meal?
- Muscle growth: a two-sided mechanism
- Growth controlled by its protein intake
How many grams of protein per day?
According to ANSES, an average intake of between 0.83 and 2.2g/kg/d of protein is ideal for an adult individual under 60 years old. Protein consumption should represent 10 to 27% of energy intake. However, this data represents the average vital functions and activities of the entire population. As part of building muscle, the number of proteins to consume during the day is higher.
How much protein per meal?
It is common to hear that you should not take more than 30 g of protein per meal, because, beyond that, the anabolic response of the muscles levels off.
But how much protein per meal can you actually consume?
New research sheds new light on the question thanks to new measurement techniques that are finer than the old ones (1).
Muscle growth: a two-sided mechanism
Muscle size is determined by a double phenomenon: anabolism, which represents the rate at which new muscle tissue is produced, and catabolism, which represents the rate at which existing muscle tissue is destroyed.
It is absolutely correct that the power of anabolism peaks when you reach around 30g of protein per meal. On the other hand, what the new scientific discoveries illustrate is that the braking power of catabolism does not level off with increasing doses of protein (2).
This means that the more protein you eat, the more muscle catabolism will be reduced.
Growth controlled by its protein intake
In order to determine the optimal level of protein to be ingested per meal, it is therefore not only necessary to consider the rate of protein synthesis (anabolism).
What matters is the anabolism/catabolism ratio. Even at constant anabolism, the more we reduce catabolism, the faster our muscles will grow. Several factors must be considered to calculate its protein intake.
According to these factors, it is observed that the protein level depends on the profiles. On average, it is recommended to consume 1.5 to 2.5 g of protein per kg of body weight. In the diet, proteins are found in particular in dairy products and meat. The necessary amounts of protein sometimes represent substantial dietary proportions (for 100g of chicken, there are approximately 20g of protein). We recommend that you turn to protein powder in order to reach your daily rate while limiting bad fats.
These must represent 15% of calorie intake per meal. Knowing how many calories to consume is essential to achieving your goals. To find out how to calculate your necessary macronutrient intake, you can consult our dedicated article.
Maximum protein intake per meal: conclusion
Thus, an intake of 30 g of protein per meal is not enough to achieve optimal growth (2). It is therefore advisable to increase your protein intake especially at key anabolic times such as in the morning and just after training (2). We recommend that you consume 2.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight and increase according to your athletic needs.
Be careful, however, not to exceed 5 g of protein per body weight: excess protein is bad for your health. Additionally, staying well hydrated is key to reducing protein-induced acidity in the digestive system.
(1) Tuvdendorj D. A novel stable isotope tracer method to measure muscle protein fractional breakdown rate during a physiological non-steady-state condition. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Mar 15;304(6):E623-30.
(2) Deutz NE. Is there a maximal anabolic response to protein intake with a meal? Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):309-13.