While some diets load up on protein and other diets dictate protein sources, it can be hard to know what to consume while managing weight or during weight loss.
In a new study, researchers found that eating more protein daily than what is recommended may benefit only a few.
They found eating more protein mainly benefits those who are actively losing weight by cutting calories or those strength training to build more lean muscle mass.
This study also affirms that the recommended dietary allowance, of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day—or 0.36 grams per pound—is adequate for most people.
For example, an adult who weighs 150 pounds should eat 54 grams of protein a day, which could be three ounces of lean meat, three cups of dairy and one ounce of seeds or nuts within a day.
The research was conducted by Purdue University nutrition scientists.
They reviewed more than 1,500 nutrition articles to identify 18 studies with 22 intervention groups and 981 participants that addressed this topic.
The sources of protein evaluated included lean and minimally processed meats, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
The team found when people are in a neutral metabolic state—not losing weight or lifting weights—eating more protein does not influence their body composition any differently, including lean mass.
This is consistent with the current recommended dietary allowances being adequate for generally healthy sedentary weight-stable people.
This does not include adults with Type 2 diabetes.
This research is clinically more important for women and especially older women who are known to typically consume lower amounts of protein and should be maintaining a healthy body weight and regular strength training.
The lead author of the study is Joshua L. Hudson, a Purdue postdoctoral research associate.
The study is published in Advances in Nutrition.
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