Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are responsible for all growth and repair processes. The body needs regular protein intake to build and restore its tissues. Protein accounts for 20-35% of the daily calorie intake, being one of the three major nutrients. Yet the average Indian diets are mostly deficient in proteins providing nearly 30-40 g protein per day. This is because of several reasons such as availability of a few high protein vegetarian food sources, poor quality and low bioavailability of protein foods, etc.
Proteins, however, have gained a lot of eminence in today’s world. But even after understanding the significance of proteins, either people are unable to meet their individual protein demands or some are exceeding their requirement. This is because of the lack of information about the recommended protein intake per day.
Understand, some random person cannot tell you your calorie and protein requirement just by looking at you. Suppose if you and your friend go to a gym and ask the trainer about your protein demands, and he suggests the same requirement for both of you which may be as high as 150 g per day or maybe more, irrespective of your credentials; is there any way possible by which he can predict your correct requirement! The answer is no. This type of incidences occurs because of a lack of awareness amongst the general public.
Protein Intake Per Day
Protein requirements of a person depend upon a lot of factors such as height, ideal body weight (ideal weight as per the height of the person), medical history, physical activity level, etc. For an Indian having a sedentary lifestyle, protein requirement ranges from 0.8 g- 1 g per “kilogram” of his/ her ideal body weight. This requirement goes up as the activity level changes to moderate or heavy. Because of this person indulging into intense workout need to have extra protein per day through diet and supplements to prevent muscle loss and promote growth and repair. However, a lot of people mistakenly calculate this requirement as 1 g protein per “pound” of ideal body weight, whereas it should be 0.36- 0.4 g per pound of ideal body weight (for sedentary workers).
Protein Intake Calculator
To calculate individual protein demands, the goal needs to be specified first.
It is not mandated that everyone seeking extra protein in diet wants to become a bodybuilder. It can be for the purpose of fitness, muscle retention or even weight loss. It is very obvious that the protein demand for a person working out for long hours a day will be immensely higher than somebody exercising even less than an hour a day.
Supposedly, an Indian male (ideal body weight 65 kg) exercising two and a half hours a day needs approximately 118 g of protein every day, whereas another person with same credentials exercising less than 1 hour a day will require nearly 80 g protein per day. Both might not be able to meet their protein demand through diet alone and need a protein supplement, but obviously, the dosage will differ.
Say if both consumes nearly 68 g protein through diet so the first person will need to consume 50 g protein through supplement and the second will have to take 12 g protein through the supplement. This is why it is very essential to know your recommended dietary intake of protein.
You can more easily understand with the help of specific brands:
Optimum Nutrition (ON) Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein (1 Scoop provides 24 g Protein): The first person mentioned above will need approximately two scoops of it per day, whereas the second person will just need half Scoop of it every day.
Nutrabay Pure Series Whey Protein Concentrate (1 Scoop provides 23.4 g Protein): Again, the first person mentioned above will need approximately two scoops of it per day whereas the second person will just have to consume half Scoop of it every day.
How Much Protein Per Day to Build Muscles?
It is very essential to have adequate calories and proteins for healthy living. But especially when it comes to muscle building, one needs to have recommended calories along with additional protein intake per day. The requirement may go up to 2 g per kilogram of ideal body weight or even higher for a person working out hard for long hours to build muscles. The calorie requirement increases simultaneously.
But there is something very important to note here. There are two categories of people elaborated below:
1. Professional Bodybuilders: These are the people who either have or plan to take bodybuilding as a career (full time or part-time). Professional bodybuilders prepare for competitions and devote a major part of their day to workout. Their targets are high and they need to do extreme intense workouts to achieve their goals. Such high-intensity training lead to enormous muscle tissue breakdown. Hence the requirement for calories and proteins is very high for these people. The requirement for them ranges from 1.5- 2.2 g per kilogram of ideal body weight.
For example, A person working out hard for the last 4-5 months with the goal of professional bodybuilding; has an ideal body weight of 80 kg and does intense strength training 5-6 days a week, for 2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. He would require somewhere around 130 g of protein at this time. As he grows more muscular, the protein requirement would increase further in order to maintain the muscles he possesses and gain more muscle mass. He would need to have a high protein diet (consisting of eggs, chicken breast, fish, tofu, medium fat milk products, soy products in recommended dosage etc) as well as approximately two scoops of a good quality protein supplement (such as Nutrabay Pure Series Whey Protein Concentrate, Myprotein Impact Whey Protein, BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder etc) every day.
2. For Individuals seeking fitness and muscular physique, but are not professional bodybuilders: The primary difference between this category of people and the professional bodybuilders is that these people do not take bodybuilding as their career, but they just want to remain muscular and fit. They generally cannot afford to devote long hours for a workout as the professional ones can do. Hence comparatively smaller workout durations and lesser muscle tissue damage create a smaller demand for protein for them than for the first category. Remember, if non-professionals want to imitate the body of a professional bodybuilder, they need to work out as them first and then have high protein dosages as they do.
For example, A person working out in the gym for last 1-2 months with the goal of fitness or slight muscle gain, has an ideal body weight of 70 kg and exercises 4-5 days a week for an hour every day. He would require somewhere around 80-84 g of protein per day to gain and maintain muscle mass. It would be necessary for him to have a high protein diet along with approximately one scoop of a good quality protein supplement (such as Nutrabay Pure Series Whey Protein Isolate, Isopure Zero Carb 100% Whey Protein Isolate Powder, etc) every day.
How Much Protein Per Day to Lose Weight?
People trying to lose weight need to have a low- calorie diet, with adequate protein intake per day so that they don’t lose their muscle mass.
For example, A person targeting weight loss has a current bodyweight of 90 kg (ideal body weight of 70 kg), exercises 4-5 days a week for an hour every day. He would require around 70 g of protein per day in order to prevent muscle loss. Both whey protein (such as Dymatize Iso-100 Protein etc) and plant-based protein with low carbohydrate and sugar (such as EVLution Nutrition Stacked Plant Protein etc) support fat loss and muscle retention.
Conclusion: Are You Consuming Appropriate Proteins?
After having a clear understanding of the individual protein requirements, it is very essential to know the correct proteins for you. You must have often heard about good quality and bad quality proteins.
Good quality proteins consist of nearly all essential amino acids (which the body cannot produce) making it highly available for the body. There are various parameters to check the quality of proteins such as PDCAAs, Net- Protein Utilization, Biological value of Proteins, etc.
Considering all these parameters, the good quality protein foods include eggs, chicken breast, fish such as Salmon, meat products, soy foods, milk and milk products, nuts, etc.
Whereas poor quality protein foods that lack some essential amino acids include legumes, corn, beans, etc. It doesn’t mean that these foods are bad, but they are not complete proteins. These foods lead to more formation of protein by-products (which the body needs to remove) and hence these foods are restricted for people not having healthy kidneys.
Best Protein Supplement
The most significant parameters to check the goodness of a protein supplement is:
- PDCAAs should be 1
- Should have a high biological value
- Protein “as is” percentage should be high (you can check with the brand).
- Good protein supplements take some time to dissolve in water or milk.
In short whey, casein, soy or a blended protein, either of them can prove to be a suitable protein for you provided that you act smart while choosing the right protein as per your target. If you are not sure about the correct protein and the right dosage for you, then you should consult a clinical nutrition expert to guide you about the same.