I am sure everyone who goes to the gym has been told at one point by some trainer that:

You must consume up to 1.0g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

I have heard many arguments on why this is true and many arguments why this ideal is false. Some argue in between. But I want to know if there exist any truths to this statement.

Arguments For It(StrongLifts):

How Much Protein Do You Need? The United States RDA is 0.8g/kg or 0.4g/lbs. This is 80g protein per day if you weigh 200lbs. But this recommendation is based on studies done on average, sedentary people. The minimum if you train hard is 1g protein per pound of body-weight per day. That’s 200g daily protein if you weigh 200lbs. You’ll reach this amount easily by eating a whole protein source with each meal.

But other argue against it (BayesianBodyBuilding):

Protein is awesome… but you’re consuming too much of it. Like most myths, the belief that you should take in 1g/lb of body weight has become so deeply entrenched in the fitness world that its validity is rarely questioned. Strangely, very few people think it’s a bit too accidental that the optimal amount of protein your body can assimilate in a day is exactly 1g/lb. 2.2g/kg doesn’t sound as right, does it?

If you still think you need more than 0.82g/lb because you think you train harder than these test subjects, think again. Lemon et al. (1992) studied bodybuilders training 1.5 hours per day, 6 days per week and still concluded 0.75g/lb is the highest intake at which body composition benefits could occur.

These two statements say opposite things. One argues that training harder and regularly means you should have 1.0g of protien per pound, while the other says no matter how hard you train you should never have 1.0 grams of protein per pound. I included the links, so you may read the whole article.

Some argue that there is no optimal and it varies greatly from person to person(Built Lean):

Popular belief is that in order to build muscle you must consume up to 1.0g of protein per pound of bodyweight. For some of you that might seem high and for others it might seem too low. The answer to that is really, it depends.

It all really depends on your goals, genetics, and the rest of your diet, but aiming to hit between those targets should be sufficient for most people.

Citation I used for quotes:Arguments in support of statement(StrongLifts), Arguments against statement(BayesianBodyBuilding), It depends (Built Lean)

1 Answer 1


Based on available research, currently we really don’t know the exact amount of protein consumption for one pound of body weight. The “optimum” amount of protein for any one individual depends on several factors such as activity levels, age, muscle mass and current state of health. Most studies suggest that 0.7 – 1 grams per pound of lean mass (1.5 – 2.4 grams per kg) is sufficient. However, this amount (0.7 – 1 grams per pound of lean mass) is only to prevent the occurrence of protein deficiency in an average sedentary individual.

For people doing high intensity training such as drug free athletes and body builders, protein requirement can go up to about 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass and protein needs for energy-restricted resistance-trained athletes are calculated to be in the likely range of 2.3-3.1g/kg of fat-free mass.

The recommendation of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that an average individual should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.35 grams per pound of body weight per day for general health.

To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Consequently, the same 75 kilogram individual should increase their protein intake to 75 grams (300 calories) to 128 grams (512 calories) in order to gain muscle mass.

Protein digestion is a very slow process which is complex and there are several sites along the digestive tract where protein digestion takes place. Research also shows that consuming multiple meals per day containing 3g of leucine may be beneficial in maximizing muscle protein synthesis.

What’s the most protein that the body can effectively use in an entire day? The short answer is, a lot more than 20-30 g. The long answer is, it depends on several factors. In most cases it’s not too far from a gram per pound in drug-free trainees, given that adequate total calories are provided.

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