Have you ever heard the claim - Your body can only digest 30 grams of protein? Or too much protein at one meal will turn into waste and most likely turn to fat or damage your liver?
This is what many so-called fitness “gurus” tell others. I was told by another lifter that my protein shake of 40 grams was a waste because my body will only digest 30 grams of it and the other 10 grams will turn to fat. True story.
So let’s smash this little confusion that you may believe in or come across someday.
I’m hoping you already know the importance of protein, especially if you’ve been following my blog. There are many benefits of protein but to quickly highlight a few, protein is important for muscle growth and maintenance, as well as recovery from a training session.
Back to the lifter telling me that the extra 10 grams of whey is going to turn to fat. You see, he isn’t the only person out there who thinks that. Logically, this never made sense to me.
My most favorite piece of steak is a Ribeye and I will grill up a nice sized portion whenever I get my hands on one. I did some digging around and found that 4 oz of a ribeye steak comes out to nearly 30 grams of protein. There is no way that I’m going to grill up an at least 8 oz ribeye steak, which has 60 grams of protein, and eat less than half of it.
You must be crazy!
This sort of belief all came from a research that tested out how to maximize muscle protein synthesis. Obviously the scientist found that protein builds muscle, but then he also saw that the subjects who consumed 30 grams of protein had the same amount of muscle protein synthesis as the ones who consumed 90 grams.
So ifso facto, your body can’t digest more than 30 grams of protein.
Easy tiger, don’t get ahead of yourself.
Eating a high protein diet can help build more muscle, increase satiety, and also burn fat because it takes more calories to break down protein in your digestive system.
Should we get a little sciencey here?
A research done in France, took participants and placed them into two groups. One group was given %80 of their protein in one meal while the other group’s protein was spread over multiple meals. After two weeks of evaluation, the results showed no differences between the two groups in terms of nitrogen balance, protein synthesis, or protein breakdown. And not that it’s a big deal, but the participants for this test were females.
The breakdown of the protein for this test was 1.7 grams per kilograms of fat-free mass per day. For the 125 lb test subjects, that means the 77 grams of protein in one meal had the same effect as spreading it out.
77 grams in one meal, and no difference. 77 grams is more than double of what some people believe you can absorb.
Just like my view on the whole 6 meals per day. The important thing to pay attention to is your daily protein rather than per-meal protein.
So don’t hold back the next time you have a slab of meat straight off the grill placed right in front of you.
Now when I get all meatheady with my wife and tell her she should eat more protein, she doesn’t really go for it. That’s fine because 1) she’s the boss and can secretly kick my ass and 2) we came to an agreement that she would have some sort of protein during each meal.
Suggested Protein Intake:
Since I’m a fitness addict/bodybuilder/strength coach/author and a bit nerdy, here are a few numbers to take note of when it comes to protein.
If you are currently on an consistent resistance training routine and want to gain lean mass, then consume around 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per lean body mass (LBM).
If you are looking at making sure you are intaking the right amount of protein and are not following an exercise plan or don’t really care about getting muscle (why not?), then I’d suggest 0.5 – 1 gram per LBM.
Any thoughts? Concerns? Leave them in the comment section below.