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Protein - Does it really matter THAT much?

Protein shakes, protein bars, 'protein' virtually anything can be found on the shelves of supermarkets these days and the fitness industry is obviously the main pusher of the rhetoric that protein is super important. But is it's importance overstated or justified?


Here are just a few reasons why a protein rich diet could be considered important:


Recovery

With the rise in popularity of regular gym visits over the last decade or so comes the new need to recover from these workouts. A high protein diet helps with exactly that. Allowing the individual to recover more quickly, train more frequently and get better results.


Lean Tissue

Protein also helps you maintain and build lean muscle tissue. So in the pursuit of maintaining a healthy level of muscle mass or the endeavour of a more toned physique, protein is very important.


Satiety

Protein is considered one of the most 'filling' macronutrients you can consume. To contextualise this, compare eating 250kcals of carbohydrates (roughly a small bowl of pasta) vs. eating 250kcals of protein (roughly 1.5 chicken breasts) - which do you think will leave you feeling fuller for longer?


So how much?

As with most answers to questions like this, the answer is multifactorial and should be adjusted to the individual. Some things to consider would be: nutritional goals, lifestyle, training frequency, training intensity.


To give a more practical response, I'll answer this in the perspective of most of my clients who will weight train 2-4x per week, have semi-active lives and are looking to maintain a healthy level of muscle mass. In which case I'd suggest multiplying your bodyweight (in kg) by 1.6-1.8 and that should be the daily protein intake in grams and I'd advise splitting this up into roughly 3-4 meals across the day.


If you scroll the internet for similar articles I'm sure you'll find a variety of answers and opinions stating higher doses of protein but often that comes from a perspective of optimality for muscle growth rather than the lifestyle clients (who like to enjoy their food) that I tend to work with. The reality? For most people, unless you're significantly under that intake, you'll probably be okay.



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