How Much Protein Powder Should I Take?
The debate about how much protein powder you should take is one that's been around forever. Bodybuilders, Athletes, Doctors, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers and everyone in between seem to have their own take on the 'ideal' dosage when it comes to how much protein you should take, but what do we think about it?
Well the truth is, your protein requirements should reflect the goal you're aiming for. After all there's not much point taking protein at all if you're taking too little, or taking too much and not getting the most out of it
Before we give you our recommendations on how much we think you should take, there's a few important points you should consider first:
- For highest nutritional value, optimum amino acid profile and the most health-boosting antioxidants - your should aim to choose a Whey Protein from a Grass Fed source.
- It's thought we have only 1.5 hours to absorb whey protein in the part of the gut that absorbs it, meaning it's important not to take too much otherwise you may end up wasting it.
- A study you can see here showed that taking at least 2.5 - 5g of digestive enzymes with each whey protein shake can increase absorption by up to 127% - certainly something to consider if you want to maximise the effects of taking whey protein.
- The recommendations we make below are total daily protein intake recommendations and not just whey protein intake requirements. For example, if you had a daily protein goal of 140g per day (which is likely for a male of average weight) and you consumed 80g of protein from food, you may then decide to consume 60g of protein from whey protein powder to make up the rest of your target.
Now that's cleared up, let's take a look at the recommendations we suggest.
1. Athletes or Regularly Active People Looking To Build Lean Tissue:
Athletes and highly active people need more protein than people who are less active in order to support recovery, lean tissue development and connective tissue strength. The demands and stress of a regular strenuous training programme can take it's toll on the body, and without adequate protein intake - you'll not be able to recover efficiently in between each sessions and your performance will suffer.
Our Recommendation: 1.5-2g protein per kg bodyweight (approx 0.7-1g protein per lb bodyweight). For a 10st person that would mean 98 - 140g of (food + whey) protein every day.
2. Athletes or Regularly Active People Looking To Lose Fat
If fat loss is more your thing, then high protein intake should still be a high priority as protein is the most satiating nutrient of the 3 macros (protein, fats and carbs) and helps you feel fuller for longer. Not only that but maintaining muscle mass actually burns calories so the better muscle:fat ration you have, generally the more calories you burn when resting.
Our Recommendation: 1.0-1.5g protein per kg bodyweight (0.45-0.68g per lb bodyweight). For a 10st person that would mean a target daily range of between 63 - 95.2g.
3. Minimal Activity or People Not Interested In Changing Body Composition
If you're not wanting to make such changes in body composition and are generally more sedentary, but you still want the benefits of taking protein such as greater satiety, less cravings and more stable blood sugars, your protein intake is still important but will be a lot less than the two groups of people above.
Our Recommendation: 0.8g protein per kg bodyweight (0.36g per lb bodyweight). For a 10st person that would mean a target daily of around 50g.
Now we know some suggested daily targets for overall protein intake, what about individual whey protein serving sizes?
On our whey protein bags we suggest a serving size of around 30g powder (1 scoop) which would give you about 25-27g protein depending on the flavour. According to the study cited above, this would be an ideal serving size to have with some enzymes based on the 1.5 hour "absorption window". At a rate of 8-10g per hour you should be able to absorb 15g in 1.5 hours, but if you then add digestive enzymes and increase absorption by 127% this should mean you'll be able to uptake all 25-27g (in theory) by the 1.5 hour mark.
It's important that we point out that the study was conducted by the company who make the enzyme blend that was tested and that it was conducted on 19-35 year old lean men, so the results may vary if you're not considered within this specific demographic.
It's also important to note that although a 1.5 hour window is optimal to absorb most of your shake, most people who have generally good digestive health will utilise the rest of the protein shake - albeit not necessarily for lean muscle development right there and then. As long as you're hitting your daily target, extra timings and "optimal" tactics to maximise your nutrition are less important, depending on how much of an edge you want to get.
If you want to heed the advice of the study however, then we'd recommend taking 4 of our digestive enzymes to give you enough protease enzymes to maximise absorption. If you're quite happy just making sure you get your protein in - then feel to keep doing that regularly and consistency and you'll still see excellent benefits.
Thanks for reading,
Natural Nutrients Nutritionist