The debate has gone on for a while now: how much protein should I consume? 1g per kilogram of bodyweight? 1.5g per kilogram of body weight? Twice these amounts?
Consensus on an appropriate quantity of protein seems hard to find, let alone consensus on which system of measurement to use; imperial or metric?
So here’s a different approach: what is the minimum effective dose?
What is the research saying?
Let’s work backwards. Given protein’s role in muscle building and maintenance, the minimum dose is that which allows people to maintain muscle mass. However, the importance of consuming enough protein intake goes beyond simply maintaining muscle mass. If you consume enough high quality protein, daily, you will also help support hormonal processes, strengthen the immune system and the list goes on.
So, how much should I consume?
Generally speaking, one should aim for 1g of protein per kg of body weight.
However, for those that are elders or have absorbability issues, you should aim for 1.5g per kg of body weight. Campbell et al ran a great study analysing the effects of the RDI on elderly populations (around 1g per kg of body weight) and found that over 14 weeks, their participants lost more muscle mass than normal.
However, just consuming enough protein is only half the battle. It is very important to also pay attention to the quality of the protein and the frequency at which you consume it. Your body, daily, to function optimally requires all 21 amino acids. However, your body needs to outsource nine of these. Therefore, it is important to make sure you consume enough protein daily to ensure you replenish all nine of these amino acids.
But, ensuring you get all nine is not as easy as it may seem. Some of these get denatured when the protein is being cooked. Here is an article that explains what quality protein entails and how you can get it.
If you ensure that you consume enough high quality protein daily, it will provide your body with the tools to function optimally. This includes supporting the immune system, improving sleep, focus, reducing fatigue and regulating blood sugar.
Take your protein seriously!