How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?” and provide information on what the general protein requirements are, how much protein to be taken in lactation/ pregnancy, and some high-protein foods.

How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?

A protein of 1.6-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight should be eaten to gain muscles. The amount of protein to be consumed can vary depending on the age and fitness level of the person. 

The protein intake of the individual would also depend on their calories as well. According to a narrative review, a higher protein intake (2.2 to 3.4 grams per kilograms) balanced by a surplus caloric intake, helped in gaining the muscles.

The amount of protein that needs to be consumed would vary depending on the individual’s fitness levels, age, and body composition. 

Some individuals recommend 1 gram of protein per pound, however, others disagree. As a result, there is no proper amount of protein to be given as this would vary from person to person.

Athletes or even bodybuilders would require a lot of protein to gain muscles but this might not be true for an average person. An average person would not require that much protein as excess protein converts to fat and leads to weight gain.

What are general protein requirements?

According to the Institute of Medicine, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram is enough for an individual (weight in pounds divided by 2.2 would give you your weight in kilograms).

However, aging adults would require more protein because of muscle loss. Individuals start losing 3-5 percent of muscles after age 30. As a result, individuals over the age of 65 would need to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram.

Individuals suffering from chronic illnesses would also have higher protein needs as there is muscle loss observed. People who are about to undergo surgery would need higher protein too.

How much protein should be consumed in pregnancy and lactation?

Protein needs would increase during pregnancy and lactation. Around 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram should be consumed during pregnancy. In lactation, it is recommended to consume 1.3 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram.

What are some high-protein foods?

  • White fleshed fish are a good source of protein. 100 grams of these fish can give around 20-25 grams of protein. Cod, halibut, tilapia, bass, and grouper are some of the white fish that can be consumed.

There is also a good amount of Omega-3 present in fish that are anti-inflammatory in nature too.

  • Yogurt is another food that can contribute to protein intake. 170 grams of yogurt can give approximately 15-20 grams of protein. It would be better to go for greek yogurt as it is much more nutritious than plain yogurt.

Apart from this, do not go for flavored yogurt. This is because flavored yogurt would contain a good amount of sugar.

  • Beans, lentils, and peas are also good protein sources. 100 grams of dry beans can give around 7 grams of protein. 

Apart from this, it would be better to go for whole pulses as they provide fiber. Fiber can help in giving satiety and make you complete thus reducing overeating.

  • Poultry (skinless and white) can be a good source of protein too. Breast, wings, and breast tenderloins are the parts of poultry that make up for white meat. 

Removing the skin before cooking can help reduce the caloric content. Around 8-10 grams of protein can be obtained from 100 grams of poultry.

  • Cottage cheese can be a good protein source too. A cup of cottage cheese can give 20 grams 25-26 grams of protein.
  • Tofu is a good way to obtain protein if you are looking for vegan sources of protein. Around 85 grams of tofu can give 8-9 grams of protein. Tofu can be substituted for edamame and tempeh as well.
  • A cup of low-fat milk can give 8 grams of protein.
  • Egg whites can be a good protein source too. Whole eggs can be consumed but if you want to reduce fat in your diet or suffer from high cholesterol, you can stick to consuming egg whites. An egg white would give 3.5 grams of protein.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How much protein should I eat to gain muscle?” and provided information on what the general protein requirements are, how much protein to be taken in lactation/ pregnancy, and some high protein foods.

References

https://www.trifectanutrition.com/blog/how-much-protein-do-i-need-to-build-muscle

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lean-protein-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

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