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  1. #1
    Registered User hanzosbm's Avatar
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    Having trouble understanding protein needs

    I'm currently overweight and trying to lose around 40lbs (I'm at 210lbs now). I'm eating at a targeted 1500 cal/day and working out using a 4 day split. Everything I'm reading says I need 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight, but I'm not coming anywhere close to that. The thing is, when I look at the numbers, it's go me questioning how realistic that is. I noticed when I was putting a boneless, skinless chicken breast into MyFitnessPal that 4oz was 110 calories and 23g of protein.

    Chicken breast has one of the highest protein to calorie ratios, and even using that, if I was going to try to get all of my protein from chicken, that would mean that roughly 1000 of my daily calories would have to come from chicken. That equates to 2.3lbs of chicken breast per day. And once again, that would be one of the most efficient ways to get that much protein in my diet.

    I get that the guys who are bodybuilding on the professional or semi-professional circuit might be doing things like this, but for the average guy trying to lose weight, this just doesn't seem realistic.

    What am I missing?
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Use what your bodyweight would be if you were very lean (10-12%). 1.6g per kg of lean weight is the most you need and you can get away with less

    Bear in mind that most heavier don't realise how much of it is actually fat - it's usually more than they think.

    For most average guys, it's unlikely you need more than 150g of protein per day.
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  3. #3
    Registered User hanzosbm's Avatar
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    hanzosbm is offline
    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Use what your bodyweight would be if you were very lean (10-12%). 1.6g per kg of lean weight is the most you need and you can get away with less

    Bear in mind that most heavier don't realise how much of it is actually fat - it's usually more than they think.

    For most average guys, it's unlikely you need more than 150g of protein per day.
    Okay, that makes a LOT more sense. (why do I need protein to support the 40lbs of fat I'm carrying?)
    Based on pictures I've found online, I believe I'm somewhere in the 30% bodyfat range (it gets tough to really estimate at that level. 30% vs 35%? I dunno, I'm just fat). I'm 6'2" 210lbs, and based on 30% BF, that would put my LBM at 147lbs. 12% body fat would put me at 167lbs.
    While that's still a LOT of protein, at least I don't feel AS far off.
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  4. #4
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Yep, those numbers sound reasonable.

    You may be getting more than you think because although meat is one of the densest sources of protein, there is still certain amounts in other foods too - and they all add up.

    In rough order of grams of protein per 100 calories:
    - protein powder: 22
    - lean meat: 18
    - eggs and fattier meat: 8
    - lower fat dairy: 5-7
    - beans, lentils, pulses: 4-7
    - wholegrains (wheat): 4
    - nuts: 2-4
    - oats: 2-3

    etc
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  5. #5
    Registered User hanzosbm's Avatar
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    hanzosbm is offline
    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Yep, those numbers sound reasonable.

    You may be getting more than you think because although meat is one of the densest sources of protein, there is still certain amounts in other foods too - and they all add up.

    In rough order of grams of protein per 100 calories:
    - protein powder: 22
    - lean meat: 18
    - eggs and fattier meat: 8
    - lower fat dairy: 5-7
    - beans, lentils, pulses: 4-7
    - wholegrains (wheat): 4
    - nuts: 2-4
    - oats: 2-3

    etc
    Well, I'm using MyFitnessPal, so hopefully it's capturing most of those other sources, but I know it's not perfect. I've been giving serious thought to adding some protein powder to my diet (obviously I'd be choosing a powder with a high protein to calorie ratio since I'm cutting) but at 1500 calories a day, the thought of ADDING more calories above and beyond food is difficult to digest (pun intended).
    Honestly, if it were just me, I'd probably move to more lean meats, eggs, lentils, fish, etc, but with a pregnant wife and 2 year old, I pretty much need to eat what the family eats. Thankfully, my wife is quite supportive, but a pregnant woman's tastebuds have their limits.
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  6. #6
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    If you have a substantial amount of fat to lose you can err on the low side of protein recommendations... 1.6g/kg is the maximum seen to provide a benefit in studies - but it's less important to have high protein intakes when you are less lean. Also, that number doesn't tell you what will happen at slightly lower intakes. Chances are you will be totally fine. I wouldn't be worried as long as totals are above 120-130g per day.

    You could get a protein shake if you still can't hit those numbers. Whey is the best option unless you have problems with dairy foods. I know its galling to replace (say) a piece of bread with a protein shake but they are actually reasonably filling especially if they thicken up well when mixed (some have thickeners like Xanthan gum added).
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  7. #7
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    1500 kcal isn't enough for you. Go with 2000 first.
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    Originally Posted by hanzosbm View Post
    Everything I'm reading says I need 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight,
    I always crack up at this. So many people say that “everything they have read” says this, when they OBVIOUSLY haven’t read the stickies and the “must read threads” in this section that says otherwise, even though they are posting in this section. Mind boggling...
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    1500 kcal isn't enough for you. Go with 2000 first.
    was gunna say this
    Insta is username snails.r.us
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