The protein debate: How much is enough? Anyone with personal experience?

Verity1111
Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
edited April 2018 in Health and Weight Loss
I am so confused. I am finally succeeding at upping my intake and I felt good until I was getting conflicting responses. Is it 0.8-1lb per lb of goal weight since you can't end up with more lean mass than your goal weight anyway? Or per lb you WANT lean of your goal weight? OR per pound of lean mass I have now? It's so overwhelming to keep getting different answers. All I want to do is not be a big blob of jello when I am done. I want to maintain the little muscle I have now because I have a lot left to lose.

Goal weight: 115lbs-135 (depends on final my body composition and how I feel so I can't say
Height: 5'4"
Age: 28 on Friday.
Current Weight: around 165lbs

I know not a darn thing about Carbs or Fat anymore (I forgot all of that - whoops) so I focus more on protein... Plan this week so far not including future exercise (assuming not much cardio exercise for tomorrow or Thursday...I only walked a couple miles today)

for today 1,363 calories 164 carbs, 36g fat, 99g protein
for tomorrow 1,262 calories, 77g carbs, 73g fat, 91 g protein
for thursday 1,314 calories 145g carbs, 45g fat, 90g protein

No I am not carb cycling on purpose. I'm a vegetarian and I was getting no joke 0-40g per day and it varied when I didn't try. I had days as low as 12g....so for me this is a big step. Am I even close to where I need to be to maintain muscle by the time I reach my goal weight area? I was hoping to get comfortable here and then slowly work my way to 95-130g per day, aiming for the upper end. Thanks for the opinions... again just keep getting conflicting information so trying to see what the consensus is or majority believe is the minimum.

P.S. I may eat more, but that is what is pre-logged. My goal is 1200-1500 depending on activity and how I am feeling unless I do a lot of cardio.

Replies

  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,491 Member
    Per current lean body mass (or per goal weight):
    Protein: 0.8 to 1g
    Fats: 0.35 to 0.6g
    Carbs: The rest

    Are you doing any strength training? If you are this is great. This combination of both protein intake and strength training will assure that you are able to maintain as much muscle as you can.

    Happy Birthday .. early!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,801 Member
    You're doing fine, IMO.

    It's confusing because people have different opinions and different ways of expressing them.

    Lean body mass is the most accurate base, as the point of protein is maintaining/increasing LBM.

    Since many people don't know their LBM, some of us suggest using healthy goal weight as the base, but we (ideally) adjust the multiplier to implicitly include an estimate of typical fat mass at healthy body weight, and assume that'll give a protein goal that's close enough.

    Personally, my opinion is that 0.6-0.8g per pound of healthy goal weight is a decent target for an active person who's losing weight, and that that's close enough to 0.8-1g per pound of LBM for most people. It's well above the US or WHO RDA, but my opinion is that more is beneficial for us lucky enough to be able to afford it, especially when active, losing weight, aging, and/or vegetarian.

    You don't need extra protein to maintain your fat mass, it's for maintaining LBM. Using current weight as a base can lead to crazy high protein goals for seriously obese people, especially if they're in a calorie deficit and are trying to hit other nutrition goals at the same time on those limited calories. Why make things unnecessarily difficult?

    For me, at 5'5" with a goal of 120 (currently low 130s after Winter regain, so working toward a small deficit, but generally theoretically in maintenance), I shoot for a minimum of 100g daily, and most often exceed it. I got a bit less, on average, while losing. I'm vegetarian, too (ovo lacto, for 43 years), plus active and kinda old (62 - old people need solid protein ;) ).

    Hope this helps. :)
  • Verity1111
    Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    Per current lean body mass (or per goal weight):
    Protein: 0.8 to 1g
    Fats: 0.35 to 0.6g
    Carbs: The rest

    Are you doing any strength training? If you are this is great. This combination of both protein intake and strength training will assure that you are able to maintain as much muscle as you can.

    Happy Birthday .. early!

    Thank you!! I will be. I have a lot on my plate. Three kids the younger two are nonverbal and have autism and I am a full-time pre-pharmacy student with no car. Lol. I decided to spend a week or two getting comfortable eating more protein and then up my strength training routine to something more consistent.
  • Verity1111
    Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    You're doing fine, IMO.

    It's confusing because people have different opinions and different ways of expressing them.

    Lean body mass is the most accurate base, as the point of protein is maintaining/increasing LBM.

    Since many people don't know their LBM, some of us suggest using healthy goal weight as the base, but we (ideally) adjust the multiplier to implicitly include an estimate of typical fat mass at healthy body weight, and assume that'll give a protein goal that's close enough.

    Personally, my opinion is that 0.6-0.8g per pound of healthy goal weight is a decent target for an active person who's losing weight, and that that's close enough to 0.8-1g per pound of LBM for most people. It's well above the US or WHO RDA, but my opinion is that more is beneficial for us lucky enough to be able to afford it, especially when active, losing weight, aging, and/or vegetarian.

    You don't need extra protein to maintain your fat mass, it's for maintaining LBM. Using current weight as a base can lead to crazy high protein goals for seriously obese people, especially if they're in a calorie deficit and are trying to hit other nutrition goals at the same time on those limited calories. Why make things unnecessarily difficult?

    For me, at 5'5" with a goal of 120 (currently low 130s after Winter regain, so working toward a small deficit, but generally theoretically in maintenance), I shoot for a minimum of 100g daily, and most often exceed it. I got a bit less, on average, while losing. I'm vegetarian, too (ovo lacto, for 43 years), plus active and kinda old (62 - old people need solid protein ;) ).

    Hope this helps. :)

    Yes very helpful. Thank you!!! I want to up it a bit more eventually but it's difficult on low calories. Thanks so much for sharing your experience :)
  • Verity1111
    Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
    It's 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. That's just the recommendation for getting enough for everyday living; you want more if you are training hard. I weigh 160 and need about 60 grams of protein just for normal activities. Maybe 10 or 15 more because I walk ~5 miles a day lately.

    That helps a lot because I weigh close to the same amount. Thank you!!
  • CarvedTones
    CarvedTones Posts: 2,340 Member
    mfp at the free level, which is what I use, can make it confusing because you can only set percentages for macros. The percentage I have was about right, maybe only a little high, while restricting calories to lose the weight. Upping the calories to maintenance resulted in it setting a number well in excess of what I need. Once you get past basic needs, it really doesn't matter much what macros the remaining food has unless you are training hard or running or whatever.
  • whocares2018
    whocares2018 Posts: 25 Member
    I have to watch my sodium intake...unfortunately I have inherited my dads high blood pressure actually most of side has it. It’s one of the reason why I had to get back to tracking my food and exercise regularly...my doctor wasn’t to happy with me the last time I saw him lol. So yes I watch it like a hawk lol however I have noticed it’s not always 100% accurate with this app though...
  • Verity1111
    Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Verity1111 wrote: »
    It's 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. That's just the recommendation for getting enough for everyday living; you want more if you are training hard. I weigh 160 and need about 60 grams of protein just for normal activities. Maybe 10 or 15 more because I walk ~5 miles a day lately.

    That helps a lot because I weigh close to the same amount. Thank you!!

    Actually no it doesn't because the context of his advice is for someone at maintenance calories and not training.

    For optimum levels you need more because you are training (to support your muscle repair) and also you need more because you are in a calorie deficit (higher protein level is muscle sparing in a deficit).

    I thought he accounted for that when he said when there is exercise involved you add extra g. But even so that doesn't really tell me how high I need it lol
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,863 Member
    Verity1111 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Verity1111 wrote: »
    It's 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. That's just the recommendation for getting enough for everyday living; you want more if you are training hard. I weigh 160 and need about 60 grams of protein just for normal activities. Maybe 10 or 15 more because I walk ~5 miles a day lately.

    That helps a lot because I weigh close to the same amount. Thank you!!

    Actually no it doesn't because the context of his advice is for someone at maintenance calories and not training.

    For optimum levels you need more because you are training (to support your muscle repair) and also you need more because you are in a calorie deficit (higher protein level is muscle sparing in a deficit).

    I thought he accounted for that when he said when there is exercise involved you add extra g. But even so that doesn't really tell me how high I need it lol

    You have been given great advice already on the amount (range is probably more accurate) for someone doing exactly what you are doing.
    Base it on either estimated current lean mass (doesn't have to be anywhere near precise) or goal weight - either works.

    Your comment about fitting it in to a limited calorie budget is a good insight. There comes a point of balancing diminishing returns from a theoretical optimum protein intake versus having a diet that is sustainable and enjoyable.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 11,050 Member
    edited April 2018
    If you don't know your current lean mass, and most people don't, and you're above normal BMI, the easiest thing to do is to look at what your weight would be at BMI 24.9, the top of the normal BMI range.

    Let's call that number 145 lbs.

    Protein minimum = 145 * 0.6g
    Fat minimum = 145 * 0.35g while keeping saturated as low as possible and fish based omega3 as high as possible
    Carbs = no minimum or maximum. However ideally people should eat at least 5x 85g portions of variably coloured vegetables or fruits a day with increasing benefits showing with consumption of up to 8+ portions. The balance of the portions should be tilted more towards vegetables without discouraging the consumption of fruit. (A dried fruit or vegetable portion would be about 40g)
    Fiber = 27g for women, 38g for men

    Yes you can go above these numbers for satiation or preference.
  • whocares2018
    whocares2018 Posts: 25 Member
    Apparently I posted in the board sorry...I would delete it but I can’t lol
    I have to watch my sodium intake...unfortunately I have inherited my dads high blood pressure actually most of side has it. It’s one of the reason why I had to get back to tracking my food and exercise regularly...my doctor wasn’t to happy with me the last time I saw him lol. So yes I watch it like a hawk lol however I have noticed it’s not always 100% accurate with this app though...

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Since many people don't know their LBM, some of us suggest using healthy goal weight as the base, but we (ideally) adjust the multiplier to implicitly include an estimate of typical fat mass at healthy body weight, and assume that'll give a protein goal that's close enough.

    Personally, my opinion is that 0.6-0.8g per pound of healthy goal weight is a decent target for an active person who's losing weight, and that that's close enough to 0.8-1g per pound of LBM for most people. It's well above the US or WHO RDA, but my opinion is that more is beneficial for us lucky enough to be able to afford it, especially when active, losing weight, aging, and/or vegetarian.

    This is exactly what I would say (except that I normally use .65-.85 g/lb of healthy goal weight, but it's close enough to be no significant difference).

    My own goal when losing was about 90-100 g, so you are right there. My healthy goal weight was 120-125. At maintenance I don't worry about it much, although I know from habit I'm around that number usually.
  • Verity1111
    Verity1111 Posts: 3,314 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Verity1111 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Verity1111 wrote: »
    It's 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. That's just the recommendation for getting enough for everyday living; you want more if you are training hard. I weigh 160 and need about 60 grams of protein just for normal activities. Maybe 10 or 15 more because I walk ~5 miles a day lately.

    That helps a lot because I weigh close to the same amount. Thank you!!

    Actually no it doesn't because the context of his advice is for someone at maintenance calories and not training.

    For optimum levels you need more because you are training (to support your muscle repair) and also you need more because you are in a calorie deficit (higher protein level is muscle sparing in a deficit).

    I thought he accounted for that when he said when there is exercise involved you add extra g. But even so that doesn't really tell me how high I need it lol

    You have been given great advice already on the amount (range is probably more accurate) for someone doing exactly what you are doing.
    Base it on either estimated current lean mass (doesn't have to be anywhere near precise) or goal weight - either works.

    Your comment about fitting it in to a limited calorie budget is a good insight. There comes a point of balancing diminishing returns from a theoretical optimum protein intake versus having a diet that is sustainable and enjoyable.

    Thank you!!! I will just keep trying my best. Got past 110g today!! ^_^
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    If you don't know your current lean mass, and most people don't, and you're above normal BMI, the easiest thing to do is to look at what your weight would be at BMI 24.9, the top of the normal BMI range.

    Let's call that number 145 lbs.

    Protein minimum = 145 * 0.6g
    Fat minimum = 145 * 0.35g while keeping saturated as low as possible and fish based omega3 as high as possible
    Carbs = no minimum or maximum. However ideally people should eat at least 5x 85g portions of variably coloured vegetables or fruits a day with increasing benefits showing with consumption of up to 8+ portions. The balance of the portions should be tilted more towards vegetables without discouraging the consumption of fruit. (A dried fruit or vegetable portion would be about 40g)
    Fiber = 27g for women, 38g for men

    Yes you can go above these numbers for satiation or preference.

    Thank you!!! So I'd still be safe. and 145 is actually about the top of healthy for me.
    Apparently I posted in the board sorry...I would delete it but I can’t lol
    I have to watch my sodium intake...unfortunately I have inherited my dads high blood pressure actually most of side has it. It’s one of the reason why I had to get back to tracking my food and exercise regularly...my doctor wasn’t to happy with me the last time I saw him lol. So yes I watch it like a hawk lol however I have noticed it’s not always 100% accurate with this app though...

    I know I was laughing but didnt want to call you out!! Same person tho just wrong board ;) haha so it still helped me out!
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Since many people don't know their LBM, some of us suggest using healthy goal weight as the base, but we (ideally) adjust the multiplier to implicitly include an estimate of typical fat mass at healthy body weight, and assume that'll give a protein goal that's close enough.

    Personally, my opinion is that 0.6-0.8g per pound of healthy goal weight is a decent target for an active person who's losing weight, and that that's close enough to 0.8-1g per pound of LBM for most people. It's well above the US or WHO RDA, but my opinion is that more is beneficial for us lucky enough to be able to afford it, especially when active, losing weight, aging, and/or vegetarian.

    This is exactly what I would say (except that I normally use .65-.85 g/lb of healthy goal weight, but it's close enough to be no significant difference).

    My own goal when losing was about 90-100 g, so you are right there. My healthy goal weight was 120-125. At maintenance I don't worry about it much, although I know from habit I'm around that number usually.

    Thanks!!! I am around the same goal so I think I will assume Im safe :) thanks so much!