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Protein?! Am I going to lose muscle?

Jayj180894
Jayj180894 Posts: 285 Member
If I don't eat enough protein will I lose muscle? Like today I have walked around 25000 steps that includes a 4mile jog. When my fitbit connects my exercise with myfitnesspal the amount of protein goes up. Today I have had 101g of protein, but myfitnesspal says I need another 70g! And that's either 3 more shakes or 3 more meals! And I'm full! I'd be sick! Today has been quite an exceptional day though as I have never run so far and I don't tend to run on days I work. And I haven't eaten as much as usually would, but I don't really hit my protein goal when it adjust my exercise and I'm worried I am not losing weight but muscle. I hope that makes sense!

Replies

  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,416 Member
    There are two popular methods of estimating protein needs. MFP uses the ~30% of calories needed method- which for menu people is actually quite high.

    The other method is .8 g of protein per kg of body weight.

    So someone who weighs 150 lbs or about 68 kg only needs 68 kg X.8 g of protein = 54.4 g of protein per day.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,395 Member
    Well . . . some people (me, for one) think 0.8g per kg is the level for avoiding malnutrition, but that someone very active may benefit from more, based on recent research. Levels like 1.8g per kg, for example (0.8 per pound), calculated using healthy goal weight. Protein needs are a point of opinion and controversy! πŸ˜† (Some people recommend 1g per pound of bodyweight, i.e., 2.2g per kg).

    Even so, unless you're an unusually tall/large-framed woman, 101g may well be sufficient. At 5'5", 125 pounds, and active, I use 100g as my minimum, in maintenance.

    These links, from a site generally regarded as evidence based and neutral, have more info:

    https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/
    https://examine.com/nutrition/protein-intake-calculator/
  • Jayj180894
    Jayj180894 Posts: 285 Member
    Thanks guys that is really helpful! I'm always like blooming hell when the fitbit updates myfitbesspal. The last thing you want to do is drink 3 shakes or piles of chicken with greek Yoghurt when you are stuffed. Can only just fit in my Ganache! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜„πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,395 Member
    Afterthought, from last night: A rare day here and there with too low protein is not a big deal. You body won't start burning muscles instantly, they're important, and it will avoid doing that.

    If you get adequate nutrition in general, on average, with reasonable (not obsessive) consistency on the overwhelming majority of days, it's not something to worry about. Our bodies are flexible and adaptable, within limits, having been "programmed" to be that way by millennia of human history characterized by uneven food supplies, including periods of famine. Our bodies try to keep us alive, strong, if they can.

    A modern developed-world person with adequate resources would have to mess up their eating pretty majorly to create big risks (and some people do that, sadly . . . but being off your protein goal for a rare day isn't a big risk).

    It's also fine to eat above your sensible protein goal, regularly if you want to, as long as you don't have a health condition that makes that inappropriate (you'd know).
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,145 Member
    When it comes to building muscle, there's evidence to suggest that dosing protein periodically throughout the day is beneficial. It stands to reason that would also be beneficial to retaining muscle and logistically makes it easier to get more total in for the day if you have some at every meal.
  • extra_medium
    extra_medium Posts: 1,524 Member
    anytime you lose weight you're going to lose some muscle along with fat, but not enough to concern yourself with unless you're getting ready for a body-building competition. But as Ann mentioned it's really about keeping your macros reasonably close to goal over a period of time more than making sure they hit perfectly every single day. the best way I've found to make sure I keep as much as possible is to do resistance training along with getting enough protein
  • lillyy23
    lillyy23 Posts: 125 Member
    edited May 18
    no you will not lose muscle, most people dont even need that much muscle, it's actually 0.8-1g protein x lean body mass. To find lean body mass you subtract your bodyfat from your weight, 100g should be enough and if its not, it all balances at the end of the week just try your best. Also I was studying nutrition for some time to be a dietician, also too much protein isnt good for your body cause our body doesnt have a "protein" reserve like carbs do. when we eat carbs, the remaining carbs that dont go into our muscle get stored as fat, and protein doesnt have a reserve like that, so no worries try to stay as close as you can to your goals:)
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,245 Member
    This question illustrates why using a % of calories to set a protein goal is about as useful as a broken clock. It will occasionally be correct, but good luck guessing when that occurs.

    Does it make sense that if you go from maintaining to trying to lose weight, you need less protein (which is what % of calories method tells you)? No, it doesn't. If anything, you'd probably benefit from getting a few more grams of protein to maximize your chances of preserving muscle in a deficit.

    Does it make sense that if you burn a bunch of extra calories doing cardio, you need 30% of the calories you add to fuel that activity to be protein? No, it doesn't. You probably need some of the extra calories to be protein, especially if you didn't start with a generous protein cushion, because a hard cardio is likely to contribute to some incremental muscle stress and breakdown/rebuild. But it's not like you just added 5 or 10 pounds of muscle that needs to be maintained by doing a cardio workout.