A normal body building diet does not need to include massive amounts of protein, in spite of what the fitness experts currently say. The average currently suggested is one gram of protein per pound of body weight. That means a 200 pound man would have to consume around 200 grams of protein per day. The body building magazines recommend an even higher number compared to this.
The Recommended Daily Allowance for Protein consumed by the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
This calculates to about 64 grams of protein intake a day for a 175 pound person. So why are these numbers so vastly different? The RDA’s suggestions are based on research studies using college aged men. The studies found that this was the proper amount of protein to keep a correct nitrogen balance in these young men. However, nitrogen balance has not proven 100% effective in predicting muscle loss or gain. This would indicate that the RDA’s protein intake estimate wouldn’t be appropriate for the body building diet.
The AMDR recommends between 10% and 35% of all calories consumed daily to be protein.
So depending on what your daily calorie intake is, this will affect how much protein you should be eating. The acronym AMDR stands for Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range and the Institute of Medicine established it in 2005. The main problem with the AMDR’s recommendation is that it covers a rather large spread. Neither the AMDR or the RDA take exercise into account with their recommendations. A person who is exercising actively needs to incorporate this factor into their body building diet plans.
So when it comes to creating a good body building diet, neither the RDA nor the AMDR seem very helpful.
Many of the body building magazines use numbers as high as 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight as a suggestion. That means a 175 pound man would have to consume 350 grams of protein per day! Let’s face it, body building magazines aren’t the most neutral parties. Their main source of income is by selling advertising. And the number one product advertised in body building magazines is protein supplements. So it seems logical that 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is far more than you really need.
Did you know that the more protein you eat, the better you are able to digest it?
Here’s a weird body fact; if you eat large amounts of protein at every meal, your body becomes used to it and has an easier time absorbing it. If your body is accustomed to eating smaller amounts of protein, then a high protein meal will make your stomach upset because your gastro-intestinal system won’t be able to digest it all. Most people associate being able to digest more protein with building more muscle, but it is more complicated than that.
Just because you consume ten times more protein than you normally would doesn’t mean you will build ten times more muscle.
Research has demonstrated that the more protein your body consumes, the more likely it is to convert amino acids to fuel instead of fat and carbohydrates. The human body is fueled by carbs, fat, and protein. Depending on what goes into your system, your body adjusts its fuel burning needs to output energy. So there is a certain level beyond which more protein just won’t make a difference – so how do you determine how much is right for your body building diet?
There are studies which show that consuming 70-120 grams of protein per day is optimal for muscle gain.
Brad Pilon is the author of “How Much Protein”, a book on this very topic. By comparing several different studies, he found that if a person eats between 0.55 and 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day, that is a good balance for increasing muscle. He quotes several of these studies which found that a protein intake of over 120 grams per day didn’t contribute in any way to additional muscle gain. So who’s advice would you rather follow; solid scientific research or the supplement companies? It’s up to you. I would suggest eating around 100 grams of protein per day, which is easy to achieve without making expensive protein shakes part of your body building diet.