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How much protein is too much protein?

Protein is such an emotive topic and one that sparks hot debate. Largely though, this is the result of clever marketing by supplement companies as opposed to being evidence-based.

For the most part, a Western diet actually contains more than sufficient amounts of protein both for the average person and an athlete. And whilst many would have you subscribe to the mantra that more is better, there is limited value in consuming more than about 20-25g of actual protein in a single sitting because your body can't process more than that at once. So in actual fact, it really is a wasted opportunity.

If you are an athlete, the recommended protein intake for the general population is still sufficient, however you can optimise your training, whether your sport is a strength or an endurance sport with higher amounts of protein. This might be about supporting harder training sessions or body composition. Either way, with your overall higher energy needs, your diet is still most likely meeting (and possibly exceeding) what a Nutritionist would typically prescribe.

The most effective way to utilise protein to support your training, exercise or even just your daily routine, is usually not about counting grams. I'd suggest to most people that they simply ensure that they have a variety of protein sources evenly spaced throughout the day. In fact I'd argue that timing is just as important a consideration, and can promote better training adaptations as well as being a useful aid in managing hunger.

Most importantly though, maintain focus on whole-food sources of protein. We don't eat single nutrients, we eat meals and that's the way it should be. If we focus on whole foods, we meet a range of our body's nutrient needs simultaneously and more cost-effectively.

Finally, don't forget that whilst there are the obvious sources of protein like seafood, meat, dairy, and eggs, bread, pasta, legumes and rice also contribute to your daily protein intake. And they provide a range of nutrients that are also important for performance.

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