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S&C UnderGround >> How much protein can you absorb per sitting?


8/21/12 1:29 PM
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HULC
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I'm pretty sure we've all heard the claim that you can only absorb 25-30g of protein per meal, and everything above that just gets goes unused. Hence why weight trainers are constantly told to eat small meals throughout the day. But like a lot of the old advice, this is now controversial. Which brings me to my questions -

Is there an upper limit to how much protein you can absorb in one sitting?

If there is, what is it? What criteria is it based on?
8/21/12 2:31 PM
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Jorx
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It depends on protein type, what else is in the meal and the person.

Find out your limit by eating protein source X in a quantity of Y grams.

Does this make you feel bloated?

If yes, eat Y - 5 grams next day. If no, eat Y + 5 grams next day.

Rinse and repeat until you find the maximum amount that does not make you feel worse / does not hinder your perfomance.
8/21/12 3:21 PM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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 10-20 grams depending on what Jorx said :)...

it's not contreversial I've had about 3 different classes cover it and explain it in my Bio undergrad. 

also, because your body doesn't need as much protein as the supplement companies keep claiming (we've had threads on this all ready)


8/21/12 3:29 PM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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  http://www.exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4007

enjoy the long but wonderful read :)
8/21/12 4:28 PM
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athsportsnutrition
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Arthur, are you referring to Cuthnertson's Anabolic signaling deficits study? That was one major study that a lot of guys based this theory off of. YMMV... but there are some important notes to make when people discuss this Maxium Protein Intake Per Meal... in this study Subjects were not training and weighed 75kg.

To me and all the studies I've read and different opinions.. It is highly unlikely that there is a magic number of maximal absorption that could apply across the board for different activity levels, types of training, body size, and habitual protein intake level.

I more base it off of a daily intake and divide it into whatever meals I eat but at the same time, I don't worry about 'X' amount of protein is the max you can absorb. The stuff I've read and my own experience with athletes is that larger meals take longer to digest.

Consuming 10-20 grams a meal, and even if you ate 6 meals a day, that's still a maximum of 120grams of protein. If you are a 200 pound athlete, that's way under what I'd recommend. Even if you up'd it to 30 grams a meal (which i've sometimes heard) that's still a maximum of 180grams when most recommendations that I've seen for strength/power athletes are 1-1.5g/lb.

I think if we look at it too much as a science and not think about it with common 'athletic' sense we can actually hurt ourselves. To sum it up, I don't think there's a maximum amount of protein you can absorb at one sitting that applies across the board to all individuals and it's not worth your time trying to figure it out for each individual. As an athlete and my own experiences, that 10-20 number is way off.
8/21/12 5:05 PM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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Edited: 08/21/12 5:13 PM
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 In my athletic and nutritional counseling experience that 1-1.5 g/lb of LBM is also way off... 

edit: I do agree with almost everything else you've stated. I think there's no way you could simply state" you need this much protein...bam"
8/22/12 1:56 AM
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athsportsnutrition
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ArthurKnoqOut -  In my athletic and nutritional counseling experience that 1-1.5 g/lb of LBM is also way off... 

edit: I do agree with almost everything else you've stated. I think there's no way you could simply state" you need this much protein...bam"

For strength/power athletes, why do you feel that is incorrect? And what kind of number would you suggest?
8/22/12 6:10 AM
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SmasherSnu
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Im not sure on the science of it, but the guys at lift big eat big seem to think that none of your ingested protein goes unused. or something similar. dont remember the exact details but basically they claim that regardless of how much you take in, you will eventually use it. one guy claimed to take in like 200g in one meal.
8/22/12 7:56 AM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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athsportsnutrition - 
ArthurKnoqOut -  In my athletic and nutritional counseling experience that 1-1.5 g/lb of LBM is also way off... 

edit: I do agree with almost everything else you've stated. I think there's no way you could simply state" you need this much protein...bam"

For strength/power athletes, why do you feel that is incorrect? And what kind of number would you suggest?

I really don't wanna regurgitate info that the link I've posted does a better job of explaning (although I did not get my info from that conversation solely it is a great one at putting it all together).

I think what Jorx said is best and is a protocol we often utilize for athletes we work with (depending on whether they are strength, power, endurance, hypertrophy types, etc). We usually always start at .8-1.2 g/KG/LBM and go up to maybe 1.5...in case of heavy lifters the number usually stops there but sometimes at as high as 1.9g/KG/LBM but even at that, it's not 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, that is perverted science. It would never be one gram per pound because science is done in metric units :)
8/22/12 9:53 AM
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jeremy hamilton
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I wonder how many big strong athletes take in way over the "limit" and how many small weak people worry about how much they can absorb? Probably all of them.
8/22/12 9:58 AM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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 right because big and strong athletes and/or "small weak" people are a measure of dynamic health.
8/22/12 10:14 AM
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jeremy hamilton
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This is the STRENGTH and Conditioning forum. Go to the health forum if that is what you want to talk about.

8/22/12 11:03 AM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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 funny how there's a ton of threads on health here ;-)
8/22/12 11:56 AM
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vermonter
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Since any claim as to the existence of an evolutionary scenario in which homosapiens consumed 5 small protein rich meals a day is dubious indeed, i find any claim that humans need over 100 grams per day but can only absorb 20 grams or so per sitting equally suspect.

I also find it amusing that - in line with jeremy's thinking - people seem to believe the body can only utilize minimal amounts of necessary nutrients ("they compete" or "they don't absorb") but likewise believe that anything not healthy for you is absorbed in unlimited quantities and does irreparable harm.

What makes more sense to any reasonable person is that the body can absorb plenty of protein in a single sitting. Even a full day's worth. My anecdotal evidence concurs.
8/22/12 12:29 PM
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Gokudamus stole my name
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There hasnt been many studies done on this subject. We have the Boire study where participants ate 43 grams of casein protein in one sitting that took 6 hours to digest but other than that its pretty much speculation from all sides
8/22/12 11:46 PM
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Badmonkey
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I would guess that back in the day we humans would eat far more than 20 grams of protein at our post hunting feast...

Ive been eating a pound of grass fed beef with 3 eggs a couple times a day for about a week and feel fantastic... no bloating, steady energy for 5-6 hours, and my "movements" have been smooth as silk.

I've always felt better consuming 50-100 grams of protein 2-3 times a day in the form of a pound of steak, salmon, a whole chicken, or a 5 egg scramble with bacon and avocado...

Dr. Greg Ellis has some interesting youtube clips about protein and how much we might want to consume, and he quotes several studies... Phone Post
8/23/12 12:33 AM
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athsportsnutrition
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The 1-1.5 g/lb or 2.5-3.0 g/kg is based upon lb not LBM. Phone Post
8/23/12 12:47 AM
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athsportsnutrition
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jeremy hamilton - I wonder how many big strong athletes take in way over the "limit" and how many small weak people worry about how much they can absorb? Probably all of them.

True.
8/23/12 4:39 AM
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SmasherSnu
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athsportsnutrition -  The 1-1.5 g/lb or 2.5-3.0 g/kg is based upon lb not LBM. Phone Post

i always heard it as lean body mass...
8/23/12 5:58 AM
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HULC
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So it's mainly anecdotal with little hard evidence supporting either side?

"it's not 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, that is perverted science. It would never be one gram per pound because science is done in metric units :)"

This has to be a joke?
8/23/12 7:28 AM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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SmasherSnu - 
athsportsnutrition -  The 1-1.5 g/lb or 2.5-3.0 g/kg is based upon lb not LBM. Phone Post

i always heard it as lean body mass...

  because it is. a 900 pound sumo wrestler needs literally, half a metric ton of protein according his fairytales lol 
8/23/12 11:28 AM
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big_slacker
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vermonter - Since any claim as to the existence of an evolutionary scenario in which homosapiens consumed 5 small protein rich meals a day is dubious indeed, i find any claim that humans need over 100 grams per day but can only absorb 20 grams or so per sitting equally suspect.

I also find it amusing that - in line with jeremy's thinking - people seem to believe the body can only utilize minimal amounts of necessary nutrients ("they compete" or "they don't absorb") but likewise believe that anything not healthy for you is absorbed in unlimited quantities and does irreparable harm.

What makes more sense to any reasonable person is that the body can absorb plenty of protein in a single sitting. Even a full day's worth. My anecdotal evidence concurs.

Stop with your logic!!!!! RE: the first paragraph.

I personally think that people obsess WAY too much over protein intake and timing. Not that it isn't important, but it's hardly the only thing in play for athletic performance, recovery and especially long term health.

I mean, how many of you think the same way about quality/type of carbs on waking, pre-workout and post-workout? How about foods that aid endurance, fight cramping, fight overtraining, reduce inflammation/aid recovery? Nah bro, just gimme dat whey! But keep it under 23.756 grams bro, I don't want it to add .742 mm of fat to my lower abs.

The bodybuilding/supplement industry has won the battle for your minds. ;)
8/23/12 1:04 PM
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HULC
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^
I tend to disagree. The protein shake industry is built on the idea that you need a steady stream of protein in small doses to build muscle. If it turned out that you could eat a large omelette in the morning, and a big steak/chicken meal in the evening, and it would cover all of your protein needs just as well, then it would deal a crushing blow to the supplement industry. :)
8/23/12 3:00 PM
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athsportsnutrition
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Not training sumo wrestlers. Training athletes in mostly team sports so you dont need LBM or have time for it. Personal training vs athletic training. Phone Post
8/23/12 3:03 PM
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athsportsnutrition
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According to your fairy tale logic you can only take in 10-20 in one sitting. Sounds like you got a vegan mentality. Phone Post

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