These two studies have revealed how much protein (amino acids) you should eat per each meal to maximize your muscle gain.
So, what did these studies actually reveal?
Well, the first study looked at the effects of different levels of protein consumption in university-aged, male weight training athletes. They were given servings of whole egg protein, ranging from 0 to 40g after a weight training session. The results found that there was no greater increase in MPS at the 40g dose.
The second study looked at comparing the effects of anabolic efficiency in response to a moderate serving of (30g) and a large serving (90g) of 90% lean beef. The results were similar to the first study and found that 30g was the optimum serving needed to maximize MPS, with no greater increase at 90g.
How Many Grams of Protein Should You Eat Per Meal?
According to these studies (and many others), the optimum amount of protein you should eat per meal is around 20-30 grams. This is the amount that your muscles are actually able to absorb during a meal.
What might 20-30 grams look like in a meal? Here are some examples:
- 1 cup cottage cheese (28g)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt plus a handful of nuts (25g)
- A palm size portion of steak, fish and/or poultry (28g)
- 3 whole eggs + 3 egg whites (27g)
- 1 scoop of whey protein (25 g)
So, is eating more than 30g of protein per meal a waste? Not necessarily. Protein has other benefits too, not just muscle growth. For example, protein increases satiety which is a great way to help you regulate your weight. If you’re feeling fuller for longer, you won’t be overeating and gaining unnecessary weight.
It also increases thermogenesis more than fat or carbohydrates, which has a strong effect on helping you lose weight and stay lean.
Still, what matters most is your overall protein intake throughout the day. Instead of consuming large servings in three meals a day, try cutting back to eating smaller meals with 25 to 35 grams of protein, but have 4 or 5 meals per day!
Why Is Protein So Important?
Protein is important because it is literally the building block of every cell in our bodies. It is involved in many metabolic processes in our bodies and is absolutely essential for all tissue growth and repair.
Here are some quick protein facts:
- It’s is needed for growth and repair of your body tissue.
- It provides you with energy – 1g = 4 kcal.
- The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein is 0.75g per kilogram of body weight per day in adults.
- Protein from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain a complete amino acid profile. However, vegans and vegetarians can get all the essential amino acids (EAA) they need by mixing various plant sources of protein, such as pulses and cereals.
The Other Benefits of Protein
Consuming protein isn’t just going to be good for gaining muscle and recovery. It comes with a range of other benefits related to athletic performance and your overall health.
Here are some examples of the other benefits of protein:
The thermic effect of protein is double that of fat and carbohydrates. This means that eating protein can lead to a higher metabolic rate, which results in more fat loss and less fat gain.
Amino acids increase blood levels of the hormone glucagon. This hormone is involved in the fat storing processes, particularly in driving insulin in your fat tissue. Insulin inhibits breakdown of fat, which can lead to greater fat loss when you’re on a diet.
IGF-1 is a powerful anabolic hormone that’s related to muscle growth. Amino acids have been shown to increase the levels of IGF-1 during exercise and feeding.
Reduction of CVD risk
It has been shown that a lower intake of carbohydrates in conjunction with a higher intake of amino acids lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol in the blood, therefore leading to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Weight Loss & Muscle Gain
When it comes to fat loss, many people advocate for high protein, low carbohydrate diets. There’s a lot of contradictory evidence for this, especially in terms of your overall health. Still, it’s worth remembering that fat loss in the body can only occur when you’re in a calorie deficit.
One of the most popular diets for weight loss remains the “If It Fits Your Macros” or “IIFYM”, also known a flexible dieting. We recently covered this topic in an article, which you can read here.
Now that we have uncovered how much protein you need to gain muscle, you might also find it useful to know when the best time to consume it is. According to studies, the best times are:
- In The Morning
If you would like to learn more about it, be sure to read our article on this topic here.
For all of your sports nutrition and whey protein needs we recommend you check out the MyProtein range.
For all of your plant-based nutrition and protein needs we recommend you check out the MyVegan range.
All products shown in this article are independently selected by the editor. However, if you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 9th September, 2020.