How Much Protein for Bodybuilding?
The protein argument amongst bodybuilders has been going since Arnold and Franco sat down for steak and eggs. But the truth is that a lot of research has been done on the subject and the most widely accepted amount of good quality protein is also endorsed by the Research Committee of Society.
In healthy, exercising individuals the general accepted protein intake should range between 1.4 grams to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Research tells us that for physically active people that is not only sufficient protein but will also improve training adaptations that occur directly from exercise.
Research confirms that with a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet the protein intakes at this high level is still not shown to be detrimental to the kidneys or bone metabolism. This research was only done on very active healthy persons with no renal insufficiency at all.
There are many different kinds of proteins and the quality of the protein can directly affect amino acid bioavailability. Still today after years of research the superiority of one specific type of protein optimizing recovery over another has not been convincingly demonstrated.
Protein is essential for proper recovery and appropriately timed protein intake is the key component of any good exercise training program. Protein is directly responsible for muscle growth and the correct functioning of the immune system.
Depending on the intensity of the workout and the body’s ability to recover specific amino acid supplements like branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), have shown amongst certain researchers to improve exercise performance as well as recovery from exercise.
Generally it has been accepted that high protein intake is not something that is specifically detrimental to kidney function in healthy active people. The same was found with bone metabolism in normal healthy active people. The current RDA (recommended daily allowance) of protein is 0.8g/kg.
It should be noted that the recommended level protein intake of 0.8 g/kg/day is said to be sufficient for 97.5% of healthy men and women over 19 years. It is important to note that the 0.8g/kg/day of protein will not be sufficient to off-set the oxidation to release amino acids during exercise.
The protein of 0.8g/kg/day is approximately 1-5% total energy cost for exercise, which is not sufficient to provide a useable substrate for lean tissue accretion or the ability to repair any exercise induced muscle damage. These protein recommendations are primarily based on the nitrogen balance assessment and the amino acid tracer studies that have been done.
The various nitrogen balance studies that have been done over the years do not relate to exercise performance. However recent study done on protein suggests that high protein intake may improve exercise performance, which it does by enhancing the energy utilization and stimulating increases in the fat-free mass in exercising individuals.
The bottom line is that high protein intake has only shown to be beneficial in active people involved in the research. The RDA is a recommended dose for normal sedentary people and has not been exclusively studies on active people increasing the demands for repair and immune maintenance.