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Confused by protein intake recommendations


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Hi everyone,

I've been reading these forums throughout the week and there's a lot of fantastic knowledge being shared. This place is awesome!

I'm new to strength training. I'm looking to lose weight and build muscle and I found a bodyweight program that suits me called You Are Your Own Gym. However, reading here, talking to the local Nutrition shop and reading YAYOG, I'm still confused. The YAYOG book says

Eat a diet that gives you 1.5 grams of protein per pound of your ideal bodyweight, and split the remaining calories between mostly unsaturated fats and carbs with a low gly-cemic index.

If 85kg is my ideal bodyweight, that's 187lbs. 1.5x makes for 280g of protein.

I'd say I get about 30-40g a day usually. I bought some pea protein isolate. One 30g serving has 23g of protein. I would need ten or more servings of this protein powder to get to 280g of protein in a day.

From reading on this forum, I know what Mark Lauren (YAYOG) is recommending sounds like more than what most people on here tend to be saying but even 1.5x ideal kgs would be 127kg of protein. The guy at Vitology said take one or two servings a day but that'd still not be enough.

I've been reading posts, but really I'm still confused and if these are the numbers expected, I can't afford to eat!

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After reading so many things in so many books, journals, websites, forums, etc. I think best results come from self diagnosis. Experiment with different amounts and ratios and types of foods, journal and document it and figure out what gets you the best results for your body.

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Well, the sources I read were saying that it's enough to get 1-1.5g of protein per LBM (lean body mass). Which means that you don't have to get protein for you fat. For instance, if you weight 200lbs and have 20% of body fat, than your LBM would be just 160lbs.


So 160lbs x (1-1,5g) is 160-240g of protein.


Myself I consume somewhere between 1-1.2g per 1lbs and that seems to work.


You said:

I'd say I get about 30-40g a day usually.


Maybe you meant per meal?


For protein I usually eat a lot of beans, lentils, seeds, nuts and green veggies. They are quite high in protein. Also I believe it's not very good idea to get protein only from powder (I try to limit it to up to 25% of my protein intake)... After all, powder is not a whole food and it's highly processed. I believe that it's the same like "getting carbohydrates from sugar" - too much sugar is simply unhealthy.

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I also agree with C.O., in that you need to try out a few different ratios to find out what works out best for you and your goals. Personally I think that eating that much protein is ridiculous for most people - not including strongmen, bodybuilders, etc. I believe that part of the high protein recommendation in your book might be to aid in weight (fat) loss, as protein requires more energy to metabolize than carbs or fats.


Personally, my goal was overall strength with moderate lean mass gain. Over the past 2.5 years from when I started lifting again I've gone from 178# (~81kg) to 206+# (~94kg) while remaining at ~15% bf (maybe slightly less, but probably not more). At first I ate between 125-150g protein per day (~.70-.83g per # BW). I currently average around 150-160g per day Monday-Friday (~.75g per # BW), and probably around 75g or less(!) on weekend days. However, I also currently eat almost 4000kCals on weekdays. Oh yeah, practically all my daily protein is whole foods - NO protein shakes except on the rare occasion that my meals for the day are really low on protein. Oats, beans, rice, tempeh and tofu, for the most part.


This is what works for me. I give it as an example that you do not need to stuff yourself with super high levels of protein to support strength increases and muscular growth.

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