This will be a relatively lengthy post; but to summarize, do you actually require approximately 1g/lb of protein as a bodybuilder to maintain muscle? (1g/lb is a generally given guideline; and in my opinion guidelines are totally fine. But I am looking for facts)
I was watching some Youtubes on bodybuilders and had seen people in countries, in living conditions that I can't imagine are conducive to actually being able to obtain - much less ingest - 1g/lb of protein daily; yet they had incredible "ripped" results and a large mass. I have also seen vegan body builders and wonder if they are actually getting that 1g/lb per day -- it's hard enough on a standard diet let alone vegan (excluding the use of supplemental powders).
I decided to look into it and found some debates on Reddit claiming that the recommendation is actually 1g per kg, not lb. Others were saying its 1g per lean body mass pound (worded much better, I'm sure, lol). I stumbled upon this link... https://mennohenselmans.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/
Points of interest:
"• Tarnopolsky et al. (1992) observed no differences in whole body protein synthesis or indexes of lean body mass in strength athletes consuming either 0.64g/lb or 1.10g/lb over a 2 week period. Protein oxidation did increase in the high protein group, indicating a nutrient overload.
• Walberg et al. (1988) found that 0.73g/lb was sufficient to maintain positive nitrogen balance in cutting weightlifters over a 7 day time period.
• Tarnopolsky et al. (1988) found that only 0.37g/lb was required to maintain positive nitrogen balance in elite bodybuilders (over 5 years of experience, possible previous use of androgens) over a 10 day period. 0.45g/lb was sufficient to maintain lean body mass in bodybuilders over a 2 week period. The authors suggested that 0.55g/lb was sufficient for bodybuilders.
• Lemon et al. (1992) found no differences in muscle mass or strength gains in novice bodybuilders consuming either 0.61g/lb or 1.19g/lb over a 4 week period. Based on nitrogen balance data, the authors recommended 0.75g/lb.
• Hoffman et al. (2006) found no differences in body composition, strength or resting hormonal concentrations in strength athletes consuming either 0.77g/lb or >0.91g/lb over a 3 month period.
In fact, the finding that the more experienced you are, the less protein you need, has been replicated in several studies (Rennie & Tipton, 2000; Hartman et al., 2006; Moore et al., 2007).
A perhaps even more telling study is by Pikosky et al. in 2008. The researchers took a group of endurance trained subjects and had them consume either 0.41 or 0.82g/lb of protein per day. They also added a thousand calories worth of training on top of their regular exercise. So these guys were literally running on a 1000 calorie deficit while drastically increasing their training volume. Talk about a catabolic state… Of course the nitrogen balance in the low protein group plummeted. However, the protein intake of 0.82g/lb in the other group completely protected the subjects from muscle loss. Nitrogen balance, whole-body protein turnover and protein synthesis remained unchanged.
Also, the supposed difference in nitrogen sparing effects of carbs and fat are negligible (McCargar et al. 1989; Millward, 2004). Neither actually spares protein though. Only protein spares protein. I think the protein sparing idea came from a wrong interpretation of the nitrogen balance literature showing more lean mass is lost in more severe caloric deficits. A simple explanation for that finding is that the more total mass you lose, the more lean mass you lose. No surprises there."