How much protein athletes need each day

Most people know that proteins are good for muscle growth and recovery, but do you know how much protein you need exactly? We did some research and give answer to this common question.

What does research say about the amount of protein intake?

Whey protein for athletesSeveral studies show that athletes who perform strength training, need approximately 1.7 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass. Non athletes only need 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body-weight. So when you regularly perform strength training and weight 85 kilogram, then you should eat approximately 85 x 1.8 = 153 grams of protein each day.

For best results you should not eat this amount all in once, but spread the intake throughout the day. So make sure you eat some protein during breakfast, lunch and mealtime.

What if I eat too much protein?

protein street workoutYour muscles cannot process more than 2.4 grams of protein per kg body-weight. Eating more protein will only count for extra calories, but it won’t help you grow any more muscles. In fact research found some negative effects of eating too much protein:

One study found a correlation between protein intake and a lower production of testosterone. Testosterone is an important hormone for muscle growth. So that means eating too much protein could have a negative effect on your testosterone levels and muscle growth.

When you eat too much protein and too little carbohydrates, then your body will produce certain acids. This will have a negative effect on your performance.

Conclusion

Based on research we can conclude that eating between 1.7 and 2 grams of protein per kg of body-weight is enough for muscle growth. There is no need to eat more protein each day. In fact eating too much protein could lead to lower testosterone levels and acidification of the body.

Sources:
Sallinen, J., e.a. (2004). Relationship between diet and serium anabolic hormone respones to heavy-restiance exercise in men. Internation Journal Sports Medicine. 25 (8) 727-633.
Tipton KD, et al. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. (2001)
Tarnopolsky, M.A., Atkinson, S.A. ,MacDougall, J.D. & et al (1992). Evaluation of proteinrequirements for trained strength athletes. Journal of AppliedPhysiology 73, 1986-95.