How much protein do I need day to day?

 

So the other day I took a smoothie into work to share with a co-worker. When I came in the next day he told me how good it was but then also informed me that he added Greek yogurt and protein powder to the smoothie. I cringed.

My friend informed me that he "needs" protein. My usual response to this type of statement is to ask "What is protein?” most of the time people don't even know what it is. On the rare occasion when someone does know, they have no idea that fruits and tender leafy greens provide complete proteins.

I then ask "How much protein do you think you need?” the responses usually very depending on what muscle magazine they are reading that week. In the bodybuilding world I have observed 1 to 2 grams of protein per body pound of weight being the most recommended doses.

So for example a 200lb man should consume 200 to 400 grams of protein per day. That is 800 to 1600 calories a day from protein. On a 3000 calorie a day diet this would be 27% to 53% of the diet calories coming from protein. On a 2000 calorie diet it is 40% to 80%.

This is way too much. Please allow me to explain.

"How much protein do I need day to day?"

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Do you know at what point in your life you need the most protein? It is from the time you are born until around 6 months of age, at this time your body actually doubles in size.

There is no greater need for protein than at this time in your life.

So what do you think would be a good indicator of how much protein we need at this stage of our lives? How about our mothers' milk? Our mothers' milk contains about 10 to 14% protein and reduces as we grow older.

So why do we think we need more protein than this?

Well, we have social influences, the media, the medical system, friends and relatives generational advice, and the list goes on, just pick one.

Allow me to give an example of just what we are doing to ourselves in terms of protein.

Imagine if you will a construction site. When the building is being built semi-tractor trailers bring in raw materials by the truck load. This is the protein of the building.

When the building is completed do they still need to ship in truckloads of materials? Of course not, but they do need to occasionally bring in supplies for maintenance and repair.

We are bringing truckloads of protein into our already built bodies when we only need to bring in a little for maintenance and repair.

The damage that too much protein can cause can literally be quite painful. My personal experience of drinking 3 protein shakes a day for a couple of months landed me in the emergency room with 3 kidney stones.

Not to mention the energy drag that I lived in because my body was so busy trying to process all that protein.

Proteins are hard to digest; this is why Casein protein is recommended to body builders to take at night because it takes so long to digest. It is believed to keep fueling you as you sleep.

Bodybuilders know that muscles build when your body is at rest. If your body is working to digest food while you are sleeping are you truly resting?

Ever wonder why you wake up tired?

It doesn't take a genius to figure this one out.

Why do body builders get so big drinking protein?

I will give you a hint: It's not the protein!

Resistance is what makes muscles big, period.

Your body will adjust to the weight being put against it, the more weight the bigger the muscle becomes to handle it. No weight, no muscle. Simple.

Muscles will take from the 10% pool that fruits and tender leafy greens provide and build your muscles better than when you dump a ton of protein in because it will spend time building the muscle instead of dealing with digesting all that protein.

What is the right amount of protein?

Amazingly the amount that you need is the amount found in your natural diet (almost as if someone had planned it that way!).

Fruits and tender leafy greens provide complete proteins, are delicious and contain all the vitamins, minerals and calories that our bodies need and nothing that it doesn't.

Fruits are also already in the form of sugar that your cells can accept so you don't waste a lot of time or energy digesting food.

It's amazing that in our culture people consider you crazy if you eat your natural diet, like you are depriving yourself in some way. Truth is when you eat these foods you provide your body with everything you need.

When your body has what it needs it stops storing fat, greatly improves or cures diseases, and provides energy to help you really live your life instead of just trudging thru it.

Your body is constantly, even while you sleep, trying to reach a state of perfect homeostasis with its major roadblocks being what we put in our mouths.

Remove the roadblocks and watch what happens!

Food for thought:

I find it interesting that our body makeup is very similar to the foods we eat. I.e. People who eat mostly fruits and tender leafy greens whose nutrient content looks something like this: 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fats are relatively skinny, healthy people. And then we have people who eat the Standard American Diet whose nutrient content looks like this 20% carbs, 30% protein and 50% fat and they are fat, sick and just generally unhealthy.

Are you a Christian?

What does 'thou shall not kill' mean to you? I know to me, it means that I shouldn't kill. It doesn't give a list of exclusions so I am going to assume that there aren't any.

So for me I don't really want to kill anything and honestly we really don't need to. When we do kill something to benefit from it we are actually hurting ourselves because along with the benefit comes the consequences of eating something that was not designed for us.

This is what our food system is based on, they promote the benefit without concern for the consequence, and the result is the sick society in which we live.

When we eat fruits and tender leafy greens there is no death to the plant, we are actually working along with the plant to help it reproduce and we get the benefit of being completely nourished with no negative effects, immediate or long term.

Do you believe that your food should cause you harm, either immediately or long term?

I’m guessing your answer is no, but do you suffer from any ailments or are you overweight?

Does that tell you anything about what you consider to be food?

Or do you believe you have to harm something to be satisfied nutritionally?

Does it feel good to harm things? Really?

Does it feel good to be harmed? When something harms us don’t we consider it to be bad?

Yet our current food choices are not only harming us but down right killing us and we will defend our right to eat these things because of our heritage, society and just plain ignorance.

It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

My advice:

I recommend everyone that I work with to do a 3-day smoothie challenge which I outline for free on my website.

This is to give the body a break from the years of bombardment from the things most of us call food.

For most people 3 days is long enough to let the body get some things back in order to where when you eat a 'bad' food your body will be able to give you signs to let you know.

In other words if you eat a 'food' that makes you feel ill then do you think you should keep eating it?

The smoothies on my site are complete meals; you can literally survive on them for the rest of your life.

My hopes are that you implement 1 to 2 smoothies a day to your daily regime and inspire others to do the same.

Things to expect:

If you decide to take the 3-day smoothie challenge some things you might experience are bursts of energy, rapid weight loss, relief from ailments, soft comfortable stools, mental clarity, solid sleep pattern, etc.

If you experience any cravings please understand that these are going to be mental cravings and not physical cravings.

Big food companies spend millions of dollars to have you addicted to their food.

Now is the time when you are going to find out who they are.

You will also find yourself going to the bathroom more. This is quite normal. You have years and years of crap trapped in your body and it needs to come out.

This is actually one of the reasons why I don't recommend juice diets, there is no fiber to help remove the built up toxins in the body and if they are released without the aid of fiber to get them out of the body it could result in trouble for you (you could literally poison yourself trying to get healthy).

The reason it’s like this is because when you eat a chemical (like those found in processed foods or chemicals sprayed on food) they often get stored in your fat.

Losing a great deal of fat quickly without the aid of fiber to absorb the poison and get it out of the body safely, you would be flooding the system with these chemicals which could be more than you can handle and land you in the emergency room or at the minimum leave you feeling really sick.

This is where most people say that healthy food makes them sick because they don't understand what is really happening.

I STRONGLY believe that if you give your body what it needs and what it was designed for, your body will safely remove all toxins from your body and will keep them out as long as you don't keep reentering them into your system.

Remember your body is always trying to be the best that it can be.

One last word on recommended amount of protein:

Believe it or not the recommended amount for an average person is .5 to .75 grams per body pound of weight. So for a 200 lb man that would be 20 to 30% protein on a 2000 calorie diet.

Do you see a problem here?

The problem is that they are basing the averages on what a sick society consumes instead of basing the recommendations on what they are supposed to be consuming.

You would think with our level of intelligence we could figure this stuff out. Or maybe we have but the powers to be just have way too much money to influence.

After all there is no money in healthy people.

Learn more about the effects of food on our bodies with these great books:

21 Comments on “How much protein do I need day to day?

  1. While I agree with your assessment protein is only one of the building blocks for a healthy body and to build muscle. You also need carbohydrates and healthy fats. A healthy combination of all three. This is a good review on protein but it leaves me wanting for more information. What is a muscle composed of?

    1. I think it is absolutely amazing that our natural foods have the perfect balance of protein, carbs and fat! Almost like someone designed it that way?

      Muscles are composed of connective fibrous and elastic tissues, called epimysium, perimysium and edomysium. The fibers of the muscle are classified as white fast twitch fires, red fast twitch fibers and the red slow twitch fibers. They now have ways to test your children to see what sports they would be best at based on what types of muscles fibers they have in certain areas of their body.

      Muscles are built by slightly tearing the muscle fibers and then given time to rest with proper nutrition to create a bigger muscle. Your body will always do its best to adjust to the load that’s being put against it. There is no other way to build muscle, the muscle must be stressed enough to encourage growth.

  2. This is a very interesting article. I have been under the false illusion that we need more protein than we do.

    I’m a naturally skinny girl and struggle gaining weight. That’s the way my body is – I’ve had my thyroid checked and everything else, that’s all fine. My main concern with cutting down on protein would be that I would get too skinny and end up losing more weight (I really don’t want or need to!). Would the 3 day smoothie challenge do me any good?

    Thanks for the interesting read.

    Hannah.

    1. Hannah,
      The challenge is absolutely perfect for anyone. What it does is flush your body with vitamins and minerals and removes waste from your body safely. In terms of your weight I would like to tell you a few things I know. First, the people who eat the least are the longest living people on the planet. Second there is someone you should meet. Its you! Do you know how often our bodies talk to us and we just don’t listen? A LOT! Here is a great way to explain it. The first time I smoked a cigarette I coughed and coughed and my eyes turned red and watery. I couldn’t catch my breath, I felt nauseous and sick. My body was telling me this was not for me! But of course I didn’t listen because of some stupid reason and I spent the next 25 years trying to quit.

      My point here is that if you eat your natural foods, your body will tell you when you have had enough. We should listen to our bodies, they are way smarter than we are. So in other words, eat when your hungry, don’t when your not and don’t worry about it! Really!

  3. This is a very interesting piece on proteins. I like the mathematical evidence! So if I want to excercise but not gain muscle, how much fruit and vegetable is ideal for an average build?

  4. A wonderful article and I find that most of the views expressed by you are a close reflection of my own belief system about food. I have converted to plant based diets myself and have seen the benefits. I recently also went through a 5 day program without any food except for a glass of vegetable and fruit smoothies, thrice a day – and have felt great afterwards. I also mostly agree with your thoughts on protein intake, but am in favor of consuming plant based proteins – eg. hemp protein shakes, or just naturally as legumes, beans, sprouts etc. Just curious about any views that you might have on including supplements in our diets, in view of depletion of nutrients in most foods today?

    1. Thank you for this awesome comment. I am not in favor of supplements simply because the food that I eat already has all that I need. Only a few doctors who are plant based activist recommend supplements unless there is some medical need to do so. I agree. What we need was already put into these palm sized pills (fruit) that have everything we need in them and in a package that we can best use them.

  5. I’m really glad you asked this question because this is exactly what the Challenge Kit is designed for. I guess I need to add some more information so people know what it is about.

    With the Challenge Kit you will determine your calories needs based on you and where you are now. How active you are and what your goals are. Then it shows you how to calculate how many calories your smoothies should be. Drink 1 or 2 of them a day and you are doing better than 95% of all Americans.

    If you wish to exercise without gaining muscle, aerobics are for you! 🙂

    Thank you for the questions, I hope I was of some help!

  6. Hi
    what an interesting post on protein! I had no idea all of this was involved when thinking of protein. But it makes so much sense! A few years back I tried a high protein diet for a few weeks. And I had no energy! I was at the gym and just did not have any energy, I would get out of breath super easily. Now after reading this, I get why 🙂 I do try to have protein at every meal but I do not go to excess with it. It is all about balance.

  7. Great article shedding light to so many misconceptions of what protein is and more particularly, how much we need of it. I was a ‘gym rat’ before and I took protein and creatine powder with the hope that my muscles will grow bigger – it didn’t they got tougher and gained some mass because of weights. Like you mentioned, it’s the resistance tha tears them apart and rebuilds itself in the right amount from the food we eat anyway. I think this is valuable info for vegetarians out there who might be struggling with their protein levels. Would you have recommendations for high protein greens? I know beans are one.

    1. Thank you for the comment. I don’t recommend high protein anything. My goal here is to get people to stop worrying about it so much. There has never been a documented case of protein deficiency ever. The amount you need is found in your foods. If you do happen to need more you will feel hungry and you should eat more, simple!

  8. Very interesting article about the need for proteins. Clearly, you are practicing what you preach based on your research and personal experience. But let’s cut to the chase.
    You don’t differentiate between animal protein and vegetable protein. I surmise you are no longer eating animal products but you don’t specifically come out of the closet.

    My main insight would be that everyone has a uniquely different body, which means that more or less protein in a diet depends upon the kind of body we have.
    The science of Ayurveda (from ancient Sanskrit texts) deals extensively with food and medicine for different types of bodies, of which there are certain classifications and sub categories. You might be interested to research this branch of diet and medicine.

    1. Thanks for the comment PJ.

      Vegetable protein seems to be less than 10% of the total calories whereas the protein content of meat is around 30% on average of the total calories. As stated in the article I believe this is way to high for us. I don’t want to get into any of the negatives of any diets, I simply want to engage my visitors into thinking about their food naturally and if it would be something that they would eat in its natural state. I think this is the answer to our obesity problem here in our country and the world. I understand if you know what you are doing and you keep doing it, but its hard for me to sit back when there are so many people out there who just don’t know.

      Wow, I think I just wrote my mission statement! lol! Thank you!

      I will absolutely look at the science of Ayurveda, I have never heard of that before. I love learning new things! Thank you!

  9. I really liked your website I remember Juice extractor in the early 1980’s and drinking vegetable juice I wanted to be a vegetarian , But I would eat fish and chicken, I think taking care of my body back then, Helps me in the retirement years, Thank you for your website.

  10. This is a really good article. You recommend that people consume their protein from leafy greens and veggies. What vegetables do you recommend if someone is looking me a complete protein?

    1. Hi Jay, thank you for the comment. As far as going outside of smoothie ingredients I would recommend you to the works of Dr. John McDougall or Dr. Douglas Graham. Both of their books have links in my articles.

      As for the smoothies the lettuce’s have complete proteins. Plug them into any calorie counter and look at the results!

  11. Those amounts of proteins sound sick when the math is done! Many bodybuilders consume more proteins than they need just to be on the “safe” side to not to get too little proteins. What they don’t realize is that they are actually getting too much proteins. Proteins are, like you mentioned hard to break down, and consuming them in excess amounts from protein powders, shakes and protein bars can cause bad side effects to your health. While I’m not a Christian myself, I do believe in eating a varied, healthy and natural diet composed of foods which are found in mother nature, not in factories.

  12. Very interesting read.
    I always had a hunch that protein shakes are bad for you, but I didn’t have the data that you show here to actually support this.
    I think you are right on the mark with the reason why these proteins shakes are so popular. Just follow the money – healthy people don’t generate revenue for protein shakes companies.

    1. Thanks Ido, it feels really good for someone with my passion to hear that someone understands where I am coming from. I really try to make it as simple as possible and I really do try to engage people to have them come up with the answers for themselves. Thanks again for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*