Whether on a weight loss mission, strength training, or an athlete, you will surely be told to increase protein in your diet.
Why is that so?
Protein plays a key role in muscle growth and repair and can be effective in contributing to fat removal efforts. Increasing your muscle mass can make you leaner and stronger, whereas increases in stored fat can increase body weight and size, and potentially impact your physical wellbeing. Besides all this, proteins are essential for many body functions and can boost metabolism.
Proteins are the building blocks for cells and tissue and help the body repair and grow. Many diet plans focus on adequate protein intake for muscle gain. But how much protein should I eat daily to build muscle is the common question by anyone intending to follow a high-protein diet. The daily protein requirement for each individual differs depending on their age, physical activity, gender, weight, and medical conditions.
Read this article to learn all about your daily protein requirements!
Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 20 common amino acids which combine to make the proteins required in the body. 9 of the 20 amino acids are considered essential, as they can only be sourced from food, while the other 11 can be made in the body. The 9 essential amino acids are particularly vital for muscle-building and growth purposes.
Our skin, bones, hair, nails, and muscles depend on protein for their composition and maintenance. Also, protein is required to make all the neurotransmitters, hormones, and enzymes which are crucial for various body functions (16). Hence, eating a balanced diet with ample protein and a variety of sources is essential for your health.
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According to the National Academy of Medicine, protein intake should ideally be 10% to 35% of daily calories consumed (5). This means that for a 2000-calorie dietary requirement, about 200-700 calories should be from proteins. Anything less than 10% could lead to a deficiency, and above 35% might be considered excess or unnecessary. This gives a broad range of acceptable intake based on caloric intake.
The daily protein requirement also depends on each individual’s physical factors, like age, weight, gender, and activity status. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) to avoid deficiency is a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight (8).
Requirements are adjusted depending on activity levels. For active individuals, the requirement is between 1.1-1.5 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight for those who exercise regularly and 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram for a (3).
Similarly, protein is needed to build muscle for people aiming for muscle gain. As we get older, the protein requirement increases because, with age, muscle loss or sarcopenia occurs, and to compensate for that, a higher protein intake of around 1-1.2 grams for each kilogram of body weight is recommended.
High Protein intake is considered to be >2 grams per kg of body weight. 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight has shown to be safe for healthy adults, however long-term consumption above this may cause some side effects such as digestive issues. A maximal limit of protein has been stated at 3.5g protein per kg of bodyweight, however, this amount would be unnecessary for most individuals. (4).
Given that protein is required in specific amounts, and 1g of protein provides 4 calories, an important question arises: does protein make you gain weight? The answer is associated with the fact that anything in excess brings negative effects.
Though high-protein diets are sometimes used in weight loss methods, if protein is consumed beyond individual requirements, the excess energy may contribute to weight gain and be stored in the body as fat. Thus, eating protein in amounts that exceed your individual requirements isn’t necessary and will contribute to your daily energy intake, potentially leading to weight gain (2).
Protein is present in a wide array of foods, including animal products and plant sources, such as legumes. The source of protein can also play an important role, as the amino acids are present in varying amounts, which is why consuming a variety of different sources is important.. However, the most important considerations are meeting total daily protein requirements and consuming adequate amounts of the essential amino acids. .
Another important factor is gender. The requirement of protein intake for females is different than that of males and is typically less for females. Requirements are greater for those that are pregnant or breastfeeding. . Protein requirements are generally higher for males as they have a higher muscle mass and difference in protein metabolism (12).
Whatever your goal is, whether it is to lose weight, build muscles, or even gain weight, the requirement for protein in your diet will vary. Protein-rich diets can make you feel satisfied longer, thereby contributing to eating less and helping to preserve muscle mass. Fatty tissues take up more space when compared to muscles of the same weight, so building muscles and losing fat enables you to get in shape and become healthy at the same time.
Now, how much protein should I eat a day to build muscle? Your daily protein intake to lose weight could be between 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of weight you aim for (7). Eating an even distribution of protein throughout the day can promote best results, especially in every meal. Spreading protein over a day can be more effective than just having all the protein in one go (12).
If an individual aims to build muscle, then calculating the optimal protein intake is essential. The answer to the most common question – how much protein I should eat daily to build muscle highly depends on your activity status and lifestyle. Like all other body tissues, muscle tissues also undergo breakdown and must be repaired, or new muscle tissue must be made continuously. Maintenance is about rebuilding an equal amount of muscle broken down. However, more protein is required to build muscle mass in proportion to the individual’s activity.
According to a 2020 research and review analysis, a dose-response protein intake relationship was observed across the range of 0.5 grams to 3.5 grams per kilogram of weight. This demonstrated that protein intake can help increase and maintain lean muscle mass, however, intake beyond 1.3 grams per kilogram of body weight gave a lesser rate of muscle increment (6). It is also essential to note that resistance training is key for optimizing promoting muscle mass.
Then, later on, in 2022, another meta-analysis found that 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight yielded optimal results relative to muscle mass and strength, in conjunction with resistance training. It also revealed that beyond 1.6 grams per kg of body weight per day there was no noticeable difference in the muscle mass increase rate (15).
To preserve and maintain lean muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, an intake of 1.8 to 2g per kilogram of body weight may be favorable. (3). Therefore, the simple answer to how much protein I should eat daily to build muscle mass is that the required amount of protein per day to gain muscle should ideally be between 1.2 grams per kg of body weight and 2g per kg of body weight.
Adding more protein to your diet can offer some benefits, but keep it within the acceptable range as per your weight, age, gender, and activity level. Include high-quality protein in your diet to amp up your protein intake.
Yes, you read it right! Proteins can be considered high quality or low in quality depending on the number of essential amino acids it has.
Higher quality proteins are also referred to as complete proteins, that contain all essential amino acids, present in animal sources like lean animal meats, seafood, eggs, or dairy, and plant sources like soy, tofu and quinoa. It was previously believed that some plant sources of proteins needed to be paired together to provide all essential amino acids such as lentils combined with rice or beans with rice. However, this concept is outdated, and as long as a wide variety of protein containing foods are consumed, your body can utilize protein efficiently.
Protein is present in nearly all foods, in varying amounts. While some food sources contain all essential amino acids, or higher amounts of protein, an important aspect to understand is that protein is broken back down into the individual amino acids in the body. These amino acids are then utilized by the body as needed, and built back up for various functions. The takeaway here is that foods that are lower in protein or are considered incomplete, still effectively contribute to total protein intake, and as long as total protein intake is met through a range of key foods, essential amino acid intake is also likely to be met. (9).
In short, for 200g of protein, a range of protein containing foods can contribute to this amount. While animal proteins such as lean meats, chicken and fish typically contain high amounts of protein, plant sources can also greatly contribute to overall intake. Some rich plant protein sources include tofu, tempeh, lentils, peas, beans. Incorporating a variety of different sources from both animal and plant, will allow for a balanced-diet and ensure other essential nutrients are also consumed. Furthermore, if you wish to exclude animal products from your diet, it is still entirely possible to consume enough protein. (17).
People aiming to lose weight, indulge in strength training, or want to increase muscle mass should opt for high-protein food. They should plan their diet to be high in proteins and carbs while low in fat.
For this, they can use different dishes that have ingredients with an abundance of protein. This includes eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, lentils, tofu, tempeh, milk, fish, and protein powders. Mix and match these ingredients and prepare a dish according to your taste.
These days many varieties of protein shake recipes are common. People, especially athletes who are strength training or doing workouts, prefer to drink protein shakes very frequently as they are convenient and are loaded with proteins.
One thing to note here is that the claim that drinking protein shakes before or after a workout is essential to increase muscle mass.. While the timing of protein intake can support certain goals or requirements, that detail is more appropriate to athletes. What matters most is the total daily intake of protein (14).
As mentioned earlier, an average person’s minimum of 0.8g of proteins per kilogram of weight is essential to fulfill daily dietary needs. But, if you aim to build muscle, you might require more protein than the minimum intake This is because a considerable amount of protein is used in repairing damage in the previously built muscles. New muscles can be built when the protein intake exceeds the amount required for maintenance (10).
On average, recommendations of about 1.2g of protein per kilogram of weight is optimal to build muscle and maintain muscle mass. Considering this and the fact that the average weight of an adult varies from 75 to 80 kg, we can determine whether 100g of protein a day is enough. Doing simple math and multiplying 1.2 by 75, we know that a person weighing 75kg needs a minimum of 90g of protein daily to support muscle building..
Thus, you can rest assured that if your daily protein intake is 100g, as it is more than enough for muscle building.
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As mentioned above, the ideal amount of protein to build muscles is between 1.2 grams to 2grams per kilogram of body weight. So, between 90 grams to 150 grams of protein are needed by a 75kg man to build muscle. An inadequate protein intake can lead to loss of muscle mass. Consuming enough protein for your individual requirements is essential to maintain muscle mass. Essential amino acids are also a vital component that support maximal muscle growth. Protein is essentially required to rebuild and repair muscles; without protein, growth is impossible. Proteins are needed to build and repair muscles, but carbohydrates also play a necessary role in maintaining muscle mass, as well as recovery. Carbohydrates provide the energy needed to sustain physical efforts and help prevent muscular fatigue. So, a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is required to support optimal muscle growth and repair. Protein lays the foundation or building blocks of muscle mass, but carbs sustain and prevent muscle damage while working out. Therefore, both are needed to build muscles.
How much protein does a 75kg man need to build muscle?
Will muscles grow without protein?
Do carbs or protein build muscle?
As mentioned above, the ideal amount of protein to build muscles is between 1.2 grams to 2grams per kilogram of body weight. So, between 90 grams to 150 grams of protein are needed by a 75kg man to build muscle.
An inadequate protein intake can lead to loss of muscle mass. Consuming enough protein for your individual requirements is essential to maintain muscle mass. Essential amino acids are also a vital component that support maximal muscle growth. Protein is essentially required to rebuild and repair muscles; without protein, growth is impossible.
Proteins are needed to build and repair muscles, but carbohydrates also play a necessary role in maintaining muscle mass, as well as recovery. Carbohydrates provide the energy needed to sustain physical efforts and help prevent muscular fatigue. So, a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is required to support optimal muscle growth and repair. Protein lays the foundation or building blocks of muscle mass, but carbs sustain and prevent muscle damage while working out. Therefore, both are needed to build muscles.
Protein, an essential diet component, is a build-up of amino acids. It plays a critical role in the growth and maintenance of our body parts, especially muscles. Ample protein is needed to increase and maintain muscle mass. Ideally, it is a minimum of 0.8g protein per kilogram of your weight daily.
In other words, 10% to 35% of the total calorie intake in a day should be from protein sources. An intake outside of these percentages, may have negative health effects. However, if you are aiming to build muscle, protein intake should meet your individual requirements and goals, as well as following a well-structured resistance training program.
Considering all these facts while planning your diet can help you gain muscle mass. But other factors like age, height, weight, gender, and activity also play a part. Also, it would be best if you remembered that moderation is the key. Excess of protein beyond the upper limit, is not necessary and could result in adverse health effects.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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