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Know your Protein Requirements

What happens if you overeat protein? We can’t store it, so excess protein is stored as fat (or excreted). For most people this wasn't the intention of loading the protein. In addition, excess protein will throw out your nitrogen levels in your body, putting your liver and kidneys under strain (ref National Strength and Conditioning Assoc).

Too little protein is problematic, as protein supports growth and repair. But just eating PROTEIN WILL NOT BUILD MUSCLES. First you must exercise to stress the existing muscle. The micro tears to the muscles are then rebuilt using the amino acids from the protein you eat.

So how much protein should you consume immediately after (the right sort of) exercise? A study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" in 2009 found that 30 grams of protein maximally stimulated muscle protein synthesis, the process by which muscles grow and repair. A serving greater than 30 grams offered no additional benefit (and will in fact be laid down as fat).

How much is the right amount of protein daily?

For a reasonably active adult your protein requirement is only 10% of your daily calorie intake. Harvard Health report that the average American consumes 16%. It is usually calculated according to your weight, so an adult female should consume their own weight in Kg x 0.8 (for a 67kg woman this is about 53g of protein per day).

(If you are lactating or pregnant the requirements increase to 70-100g/day. Check with your GP or midwife.)


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