Connect
To Top


How Much Protein Do You Need Per Meal?


7207-eat7What’s the magic number? Twenty grams? Forty grams? How much protein should you get per meal? The dirty little answer to that is, we honestly don’t know. Not yet anyway.

Clearly, your bodyweight and training goals will affect what your feeding strategy should be. A 400-pound sumo wrestler obviously has greater macronutrient needs than a 100-pound ballet dancer.

A group of scientists recently examined the effect of one of my favorite protein foods—beef. We’ve seen the data on whey, casein, soy and even egg protein. It’s about time we got to the meat of the matter, no pun intended. The researchers examined the dose-response of muscle protein synthesis, with and without weight-training exercises, to graded servings of beef. Thirty-five middle-aged men, average age 59, ate either 0 grams, 57 grams (two ounces, 12 grams of protein), 113 grams (four ounces, 24 grams of protein), or 170 grams (six ounces, 36 grams protein) of ground beef—15 percent fat. They then performed a bout of unilateral resistance exercise to allow measurement of the fed state and the fed-plus-resistance-exercise state for each serving.

Without getting into the complex biochemistry involved, the researchers determined how each amount of beef protein affected muscle protein synthesis. They discovered that protein synthesis was increased with the 170-gram serving of beef—six ounces—to a greater extent than all other doses at rest and after resistance exercise. Furthermore, an isolated bout of weight-training exercise was potent in stimulating muscle protein synthesis and acted additively with feeding.1

So what does the study tell us? First of all, it confirms other studies showing that getting a protein meal after training is good for encouraging muscle protein gains. Second, it tells us that at least in middle-aged men, muscle protein synthesis keeps rising even at the 36-gram dose.

Many have theorized that all we need is a mere 20 grams of protein per meal to maximize protein synthesis. Clearly, that isn’t the case. Though it would be interesting to see what happens in the younger generation, the 18-to-40-year-olds.

On the flip side, it would be intriguing to see if beef protein supplementation had a different effect from, say, whey and casein supplementation postworkout. Once you reach a certain protein consumption level—for example,  40 grams per meal—does it matter if the protein comes from whey, casein, egg or beef? Or even soy?

I would surmise that at lower protein-consumption levels, like a protein-bar snack of 20 grams, the quality of the protein may be more critical. But at higher levels, like 40 grams, it may not matter all that much—assuming your primary goal is triggering muscle protein gain.

The bottom line: I’d suggest getting 40 grams of protein postworkout if your goal is to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

—Jose Antonio, Ph.D.

 

Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University in sunny South Florida.

 

1 Robinson, M.J. et al. (2013). Dose-dependent responses of myofibrillar protein synthesis with beef ingestion are enhanced with resistance exercise in middle-aged men. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (Physiologie Appliquee, Nutrition et Metabolisme). 38:120-125. doi:10.1139/apnm-2012-0092.

 

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Latest

  • Only Constant in Life is Change

    In all areas of life, it is important to have a backup plan which I like to refer to as Plan...

    IronManApril 7, 2020
  • Thinking About Competing? 

      Have you cruised through the pages of Iron Man Magazine, saw the photographs of the fitness competitors, and imagined yourself...

    IronManFebruary 25, 2020
  • Power Rack Training

    The big steel cage placed in front of the mirror at your gym is good for a lot more than just...

    ironashleyJanuary 14, 2020
  • Get Grounded For Good Vibes

      “Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought” – Napoleon Hill   Your...

    irongraphicsDecember 20, 2019
  • Is Bread DEAD?

    Bread is often vilified when it comes to reducing fat, building muscle and overall health, but is bread really all that...

    irongraphicsMay 22, 2019
  • Train Your Mind for Peak Performance

    What is Flow?   Flow is the state of achieving optimal performance by being completely absorbed in the present moment. Individuals...

    ironashleyMay 3, 2019
  • Banana Vanilla Protein Pancakes

    Say goodbye to frozen waffles. We’ve got your new favorite high-protein breakfast option.   In a Blender combine: 1/2 cup old...

    ironashleyApril 26, 2019
  • The WorkOut Session

    We can separate people into two categories in the gym. No, not the dedicated versus the lazy. I am talking about those with genetically blessed calves...

    Cindy MamOctober 8, 2018
  • Pull Ups With Dr. Stuart McGill

    Improve speed, power, and neuro drive with this exercise created by a foremost authority in spinal biomechanics. In May of 2013,...

    Cindy MamOctober 4, 2018