Workouts & Exercises

Quick Question: Is it true that I should only eat 20-30 grams of protein at a time?

October 9, 2012 by fitnessbaddie


Made up this cool little pic compilation, and had no good reason to post it anywhere, so here ya go.

Short answer: No.

Better answer: From Alan Aragon in this interview here: Interview with Alan Aragon

“You wrote an article regarding protein per meal, could you give the specifics on the research?”

“Wow, it seems like forever ago that I wrote that article (here). The general thrust is that people mistakenly think that there’s a strict limit to how much protein you can have per meal without anything beyond it being wasted. That’s wrong because the body is really good at utilizing nearly all the protein you throw at it, regardless of dose. The rate of entry and progression through the digestive tract is a tightly regulated process. A small amount of protein will take a few hours to be processed, while a Thanksgiving-sized portion of protein can take all day. Either way, it gets absorbed & put to use according to the homeostatic demands of the body at the time.  It’s not like any amount beyond, say, 30 grams magically leaks out of your sweet arse. Those who are a touch more sophisticated will point to research showing that acute (short-term) muscle protein synthesis (MPS) plateaus at a dose of about 25-30 grams – although a recent study showed that it was closer to 40 grams in older subjects. So, the hypothesis is that more of these acute spikes in MPS through the day will translate to more muscle growth in the long-term. Well, it hasn’t worked that way with the majority of long-term studies. There are still more questions than answers in this area, like many areas of nutrition for sports & fitness.”

So basically, stop worrying about eating small amounts of protein spread out throughout the day, you are not “wasting” what you eat above that. Getting your total protein in for the day is what matters most, and if you want to possibly (remember, its a hypothesis, and has not shown to have a significant advantage for muscle growth) stack the odds in your favor, hit that 30 gram limit 2-3 times a day  (for you intermittent fasters).

Want to know more about protein? Check out my post on it awhile ago here:

Here is Layne Norton on protein myths:

Protein Myths – Layne Norton

If you want to REALLY get into it, check out this two part roundtable with Eric Helms, Alan Aragon and Ian McCarthy:

The part two (if you are interested) is more related to bodybuilding contest preparation.

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