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Protein Needs

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Old 04-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default Protein Needs

A few weeks ago I started the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. When it talks about protein it suggests .75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day - but that works out to something like 200-250 grams a day for me, which seems impossible!

On one hand a lot of the advice in NRoWL seems to be targeted at smaller women trying to build muscle, not large women trying to lose weight, and it's completely possible that the linear method of estimating protein needs breaks down at high weights. That might mean that my actual protein needs are much lower.

But if that is not the case and I do in fact need more than 200 grams a day, how do I even begin to get that much protein?
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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I have heard that too, but only that you calculate your weight in kg and multiply by .8-1.2 (depending on how much you exercise - more protein if you work out more). To get your weight in kg divide your weight in lbs by 2.2. Then multiply by .8-1.2 and you will get the range of protein intake for the day. Not sure if that is accurate, but it is what I had heard and it's a lot more manageable to get 90-110 grams of protein a day than 200-250!
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:41 PM   #3
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So I read this on webmd (http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/high...-weight-loss):

"The Institute of Health's Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations allow for a wide range of protein intake - anywhere from 10% to 35% of total calories - for normal, healthy adults. For example, on an 1,800 calorie diet, you could safely consume anywhere from 45 grams (that's 10% of calories) to 218 grams (35%) of protein per day.

However, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 grams a day for men and 46 grams a day for women. Most Americans have no problem getting this much, but would struggle to take in enough protein to make up 35% of their calories.

That said, is it possible to eat too much protein? There are no dangers associated with higher intakes of protein - unless you have kidney disease. To get the potential weight loss benefit, experts advise aiming for around 120 grams of protein a day. If you want to increase your protein intake, do it slowly over the course of a week. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet."

Which makes me think that sticking to a 1800/cal 218gr of protein wouldn't be impossible? I'm thinking you'd definitely use some sort of supplements mix (whey protein shakes etc) and loads of egg whites. But dang, you'd feel pretty full! I use a shake called VHP (very high protein) as a meal replacement and its quite tasty - 250calories/35g protein. The same company who makes it also makes other higher protein snacks.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:46 PM   #4
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The research is all over the place when it comes to protein needs. We know that the RDAs advice is based on some pretty antiquated science. Since then, a wide array of research has come out... most of it pointing towards the need for higher intakes. Especially for active people.

I'd say 1 gram per pound of body weight is a bit overboard unless you're not carrying a lot of body fat. If you are carrying a lot of body fat, I'd aim for 1 gram per pound of GOAL body weight.

If you're doing lots of cardio and/or if you're strength training, that only solidifies my recommendation. And if you're dieting, meaning you're in a calorie deficit, it solidifies it even more so.

When we're shortchanged on incoming calories, protein requirements actually rise. Having sufficient amino acids floating around your bloodstream is good in that it'll be preferentially "tapped into" before tapping into your stored aminos, i.e., muscle.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:53 PM   #5
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I don't recall the source, but I read that it was about 1 gram of protein for every 2 lbs of body weight. So, for a 200 lb person, that would be 100 grams a day. So for you, that would be 100-125 grams per day, which is doable ...

One of the best sources of protein is FISH : 31.8 grams of protein for 4 oz of tuna, or 23.2 for sockeye salmon, or 20.4 for 3 oz sardines. 21 grams protein for 1/2 cup kidney beans. 36.8 for 4 oz chicken breast. 34+ grams protein for 4 oz lean round or sirloin steak. You get the idea.

Over the day, you could get what you need from many different sources.

BTW, I have also heard the recommendation of 1 gram of protein per "goal weight" as Steve mentioned above.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:01 PM   #6
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I think my trainer at the gym would LOVE me to have that much protein, but I just can't. I aim for 30-40% protein and thet's more like 130-140 grams.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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And that's likely perfectly fine, Sandi. Here's another thing I failed to mention above. The more fat you have to lose, the less of a concern protein becomes. I mean it's still vitally important, but you don't need to eat as much of it. The more excess fat you have, the easier your body "gives fat up" without tapping into muscle.

Oh, and to the other comment above about hearing of the 1 gram per pound of goal weight rule before... it's simply a surrogate measure for lean body mass. Most people don't know their lean body mass, and their goal body weight is likely pretty close to their current lean body mass.
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