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How much protein should you eat?

Protein repairs muscle tissue and helps lower the feeling of hunger. Eating enough protein throughout the day is one of the simplest ways you can do to achieve any body composition goals whether it's weight loss, leaning out or gaining muscle.

If you are a physically active person, eating 1.6g of protein per kilogram of body weight is enough for muscle recovery. Thats 0.7g of protein per pound of body weight is you prefer imperial.

What does that mean?

If someone weights 60 kilograms, they need to consume 1.6 gram of protein for each of these kilos each day. The result is 60 x 1.6 = 96 grams of protein each day.

You get the same result with pound. 60 kilos is 132 pounds, so 132 x 0.7 = 92.4.

If you are not very active, 0.5g of protein per pound of body weight is enough. An easy way to get that number is to divide your body weight (in pounds) by 2.

Example: If I weight 100 pounds, I need 0.5 x 100 = 50 grams of protein.

What protein should you consume?

When it comes to protein, always choose good quality, natural foods. Since the most popular protein sources are from animal product, I refer to good quality as grass fed versus grain fed for land animals and wild caught versus farm grown for fish. For proteins coming from plant sources, you want to make sure it was grown organically.

The best protein sources, in my opinion:

- Salmon

- Cod

- Sardines

- Chickpeas

- Lentils

- Chicken

- Turkey

- Red meat

- Tofu

- Seitan

What happens if you don't eat enough protein?

Not eating enough protein leads to decreased muscle mass. For those of us who aren't trying to put on a lot of muscle that doesn't sound too bad, but then you have to start thinking about your muscles that are controlled subconsciously like your heart and digestive muscles. These are necessary for survival and if you don't eat enough protein, your body will react by prioritizing the needs of those muscles which will make you feel tired, dizzy, not able to digest well (which brings on a whole new batch of issues).

Other effects of low protein intake include nail and hair issues and edemas.

Should you have protein shakes?

Protein shakes should only be used if you cannot reach your daily protein requirements with natural foods. Natural, whole foods will be packed with other good nutrients like vitamins and minerals that protein powder don't have. If we compare 20g of protein from whey powder with 20g of protein for salmon, we can see that whey only provides calcium and potassium as extra nutrients. On the other hand, salmon provides healthy fats, vitamin b6, iron, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.

I always advise my clients to try and get most of their protein from natural sources. Exception to this rule are people with dietary restrictions.

Do you need protein right after a workout?