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4 Top Myths About Protein To Know
Myth 2: You Need to Eat 1-2 Grams of Protein Per Pound of Bodyweight, Every Day
You might be shaking your head at this one if you’re not a regular gym-goer. There’s a long-held belief among certain athletes, as well as in the bodybuilding community, that the best way to gain muscle mass is to eat enormous quantities of protein, ranging from 1 gram to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, every day. So following this model, if you weighed 150 pounds, you would have to eat at least 150 grams of protein each day during your “bulking phase” to gain muscle. Many bodybuilders will double the number, so our hypothetical 150-pound man would be stuffing 300 grams of protein down his throat every day.
This is what happens when “bro science” gets out of hand.
The truth is a little more complicated. If your goal is to gain pounds of muscle mass, then yes, eating huge quantities of protein, along with a heavy lifting regimen, is going to help you achieve that. However, you probably don’t need to eat THAT much protein in order to gain muscle.
A lot of it depends on how physically active you are. If you’re an average person who doesn’t engage in vigorous exercise on a regular basis, it would be absurd to be eating that much protein all the time. It just isn’t necessary. If you’re a serious athlete or bodybuilder, however, you’ll need more protein than the average person, because your body will actually put it to good use.
A study at McMaster University concluded that approximately 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is sufficient to maximize protein synthesis. It does, however, vary depending on genetics. Everyone’s body is different. Some people may indeed benefit from eating extra protein, but for many others, there’s a point of diminishing returns beyond which it simply isn’t necessary to eat that much protein.
Final verdict: it depends on your body, but most people can eat a little less than 1 gram per day to maximize muscle gains while trying to bulk up.
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