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How much protein can the body absorb at a time?

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Old 01-09-2003, 10:16 AM   #1
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Post How much protein can the body absorb at a time?

I know someone here must know the answer to this. How much protein can the body usefully absorb in a single meal? I have this vague memory of reading somewhere that it was only like 30 grams, and that the rest would be converted to fat?

I'm trying to get a gram per pound each day, but I want to divide it up into small amounts that my body will use and not convert excess to something else.

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Old 01-09-2003, 10:34 AM   #2
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Yes, to the best of my knowledge is around 30 grams in one sitting, and excess anything turns to fat. (Plus excess protein taxes your kidneys).

The 1 gram per pound theory is interesting if you use your body weight, given that OF your total body weight only your lean body mass can effectively use the protein. So if you weight 200 pounds and 150 pounds is lean body tissue, - then feeding the additional 50 pounds of fat will not help. Only those 150 pounds will determine metabolism, caloric expenditure and requirements. That will change, and when it does, so will your body's requirements and abilities.

Old 01-09-2003, 10:43 AM   #3
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If the 30 gram max is true, that sure makes it tough to get the recommended gram-per-pound each day. I eat about five small meals a day. I'm 175 lbs. So if I eat 30 grams per meal, that's only 150 grams.

Does this mean guys who weigh 225 lbsAnd take in 225 grams of protein over 6 meals are wasting 50 grams?

I would have to think 30 can't be THE NUMBER for everyone. It vary must up or down with your weight, dontcha think?

[This message has been edited by EriŠTheViking (edited 01-09-2003).]

Old 01-09-2003, 12:43 PM   #4
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Yeah I know, you have a very good point and I've often wondered myself, especially in light of so many "professionals" who tell you to consume protein shakes that contain 50 grams of protein at a wack, some of the recovery drinks that contain at least that much or more.

But remember, of your 175 pounds, how many pounds of that is lean body mass? If your body fat is only 10%, that would be just about right for your consuming 30 grams every 5 meals.

I've heard a lot of guys at the gym tell people arbitrarily to consume 1-1.5 grams per pound of body weight, and it makes me cringe, because for one thing, they know nothing about people's health, and there are many situations in which that amount of protein would be highly contraindicated.

In a normal healthy person, again, to remember is that only your lean body mass can utilize the protein, and if you feed your total body weight versus your lean body mass, you are essentially over-feeding yourself and feeding your fat cells.

I do agree with you that it would seem more likely that every person is different and metabolizes nutrients differently, -- I'm more apt to agree with that than believing in "the number" (of anything) applying to anyone.

It's sort of like counting carb intake and reaching your body's maximum storage. There are guidelines and averages, and they're there to give references. I'd rather under-consume protein by a bit and run a trial for at least 12 weeks before adding more protein. Super high protein intake will not make your muscles grow bigger or faster or stronger.

Old 01-09-2003, 02:13 PM   #5
Endorphin Junky
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You can eat alot more than 30g at one time. I do on a regular basis and I'm not fat. And that's not down to genetics. Not sure what the exact figure is of even if there is one. Why should there be? If your body needs it and can use it, surely there's no reason for it to store it as fat. If you don't need it, then yes, you probably will store it, the same as you would any excess. It depends on your own bodies needs. This is just my opinion mind. If anyone knows of a scientific reason your body would only use up x amount of protein and then turn the rest to fat regardless of whether it can use or not, I'd certainly be interested.

If you do eat alot of protein in one go, you do need to drink alot of water though or your kidneys won't be able to deal with it. Your liver will then need to take he excess processing and won't be able to concentrate on it's main job ie metabolising fat, so maybe this is where this "getting fat if you eat too moch protein" thing comes from.

[This message has been edited by Endorphin Junky (edited 01-09-2003).]

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