Every bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts number one macronutrient.

So what is protein?

Proteins are  molecules derived from amino acids that provide essential nutrients for our bodies. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue, aid in our immune function and can also serve as a fuel source(not a very good one at that). Proteins are found in bone, hair, organs, muscle; they are part of every aspect of our body. This is why the body does not like to use this as an energy source.

The process when protein is broken down and converted to energy is called gluconeogensis.

gluconeogenesis is a process that breaks non carbohydrate sources into sugar. In english it means “make new sugar”.

This is a long process for the body … It’s a 2 step process

making sugar from something not sugar causes stress on our body. So this can be a good reason why too much protein could be harmful (also if following a diet too high in protein in a calorie deficit will not provide the body enough fats or carbohydrates, potentially causing more stress).

This is a simple way to explain how it works without getting nerdy.

The body’s liver goes and gets the non-carbohydrate sources (fats or proteins) and breaks them into small carbon molecules, then converts them to sugar! (yes even your protein can turn to sugar)

So what’s too much?

This is an individual number and there are so many debates on this.

While your dieting people like to keep it higher..

Around 1.4 grams per pd of bodyweight.

This number may be high for people and this again is a TOOL . It should also be considered on how big the calorie deficit is, how much muscle mass the individual has, are they trying to do a low carb approach, a high carb low fat approach…the list could go on. What is important is to ensure you’re protein isn’t too high to take away from your fats and protein, since the body doesn’t like to use  protein as an energy source.

Overweight individuals (clinically overweight, and obese) trying to plug these numbers into a macronutrient calculator that base off of protein per bodyweight will get a skewed number. It should be based on a lean bodymass setting. I had a client in the past try to determine their own macros before training with me and weighed 300 lbs. He was around 45% bodyfat. He definitely did not need 300-340 grams of protein a day.

Sometimes for athletic performance purposes, assuming the person has a high enough calorie balance, you don’t need as much protein. I have toyed around for it for years and I have made strength gains on as low as 100 grams a day weighing 182lbs. So at times for athletic performance people may go as low as .6 g/lb of bodyweight and just load up on carbohydrates and fats.

Eating for performance and body composition are two different things in my opinion.

When eating for performance or playing sports, one would want to have essential amounts of all three nutrients to ensure optimum performance.Each macronutrient balance and calorie should be sport ,gender,  and age specific in my opinion.  For body composition and fat loss in general, our goal becomes different than maintaining optimal performance. Of course we want to obtain our performance, but our goal is to lose fat AND maintain performance. So you’re protein may be higher to allow for more satiation. and give your body enough carbs and fats to maintain performance while losing fat.

Rule of thumb and keeping it simple for protein needs…

Athlete .6-1.2 g/lb of bodyweight of protein to maintain performance and immunity

Body composition and fat loss .8-1.4g /lb of bodyweight

Gaining weight .6-1.2 g/lb of bodyweight

Overweight individuals .6 -1.4lb of LEAN bodyweight.

But hey if you go over on protein one day, don’t sweat it, they’re just expensive carbs. Or if you go under one day that won’t hurt you either. It may be beneficial to not eat meat for a couple of days to give the digestive system a break. I do this every 2 weeks or so just to give my digestive system a break. Protein is great, but it is often overemphasized. Not too much, not too little, just enough.

 Some lean Protein sources include