Many people feel they need to consume vast amounts of protein to gain muscle. But this isn’t always the case. So, how much protein do you need?
Research suggests that the recommended daily protein intake is around one to two scoops. However, to gain muscle, you may need to consume more protein. In addition, the amount of protein you need will depend on your weight, activity level, and muscle-building goals.
If you are trying to gain muscle, you should consume approximately two scoops of protein daily to build lean body mass and strength. However, if you are consuming more than two scoops of protein per day, you may be putting your health at risk.
If you want to learn more about how much protein you should consume, keep reading!
How Much Protein Do You Need?
For most people, it’s only recommended to take 25 to 50 grams of protein per day, and that’s around one to two cups of protein powder.
However, you’ll need more protein to gain muscle or be active if you’re working out a lot.
The recommended protein supplementation for people who want to gain muscle is around 0.73 grams per pound. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should consume approximately 118 grams of protein daily.
Moreover, it’s important to note that it would vary depending on your body type and daily activities. That’s why it’s essential to have this conversation with your physician or a nutritionist.
Is Two Protein Shakes a Day Too Much?
Some may think consuming two protein shakes a day is okay, but it depends on the person. If someone is trying to bulk up or gain muscle mass, in some cases, people with protein deficiency or who are underweight may need that much.
On the other hand, if you’re a regular person with no protein deficiency and want to maintain your weight, then two shakes a day is too much. You don’t need that much protein, and you can consume too many calories, leading to weight gain.
Protein is essential for muscle growth, but consuming too much whey protein powder can be harmful. Therefore, taking only one protein shake is advisable for those beginning their fitness journey and those just trying to maintain or lose weight.
Above all, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and that the number of protein supplements you need will depend on your weight, activity level, and muscle-building goals.
If you’re unsure how much protein you should consume, speak to a doctor or nutritionist.
How Many Scoops of Protein is Too Much?
Generally, taking more than two scoops of protein powder is too much. If you consume more than two scoops of protein daily, you may risk your health.
People recommend consuming only one to two scoops of protein powder daily. Although some drink protein shakes for breakfast, it’s not necessary. Further, you can get the protein you need from other sources such as meats, legumes, and nuts.
It’s important to note that whey protein concentrate may have essential amino acids that are good for the body, but taking more than recommended can be harmful. So, it’s best to stick to the recommended amount or speak with a physician if you’re unsure.
What is in My Protein Shake?
Before understanding why too much protein can be bad for you, it’s essential to know what is actually in your protein shake.
Most protein shakes contain a type of protein called whey protein isolate. This ingredient is a type of pure protein that is derived from milk and has all the essential amino acids your body needs.
While whey protein isolate is an excellent source of protein, it’s also important to remember that it is a concentrated form of protein. This means that it contains more protein than other sources, such as meats or legumes.
Other than whey protein, here are some other common ingredients you’ll find in a protein powder:
Lecithin is a type of fat found in soybeans. This component is often added to protein powder to improve the texture and consistency.
Soy protein is a type of protein derived from soybeans. This ingredient is also a popular plant-based protein often used as an alternative to whey protein.
Sucralose is a type of artificial sweetener often used to sweeten protein powder. However, it’s also important to note that sucralose is a calorie-free sweetener, but it’s still essential to consume in moderation.
Can Your Body Absorb Two Scoops of Protein?
While your body can technically absorb two scoops of protein, it’s unnecessary. If you’re consuming more protein than your body needs, it will be excreted as waste.
Intaking more protein can help with muscle protein synthesis, but it won’t necessarily lead to more muscle growth. As a result, it might be harmful to your health.
Excess protein also has a greater chance of being stored as fat, leading to weight gain. So, if you take more than two scoops of protein daily, you’re probably doing more harm than good.
Therefore, stick to the recommended amount or speak with a doctor to determine your body’s protein requirements to avoid adverse health effects.
What Benefit Does Protein Have After a Workout?
Have you ever wondered why many people drink protein shakes after a workout?
The answer is because of the benefit that protein has for your body.
During a workout, your muscles are broken down and need repairing. Protein helps with this muscle repair and growth process.
Here is a list of the benefits that protein has for your body:
Builds and repairs muscle tissue
As mentioned, protein is essential for muscle protein synthesis. As a result, your body can repair any muscle tissue broken down during an exercise, prevent muscle soreness, and lead to muscle growth over time.
Speeds up muscle recovery
In addition, protein helps your body recover from a workout by providing amino acids to your body to repair muscle tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue.
Naturally, you will feel tired and sore after a workout. However, protein can help alleviate some of this muscle soreness.
Without adequate protein, your body will have difficulty repairing muscle tissue, and you may experience longer recovery times.
Improves exercise performance
Protein isn’t just crucial for post-workout recovery and improves your exercise performance. Have you ever wondered why athletes take their protein shakes before a workout? This is because it maintains muscle mass. You can exercise for more extended periods at a higher intensity when you have more muscle mass.
A protein shake before a workout improves muscle endurance and power thanks to the protein providing the muscles with the amino acids needed for energy production.
Additionally, protein delays muscle fatigue, so you’ll be able to exercise for a more extended period before feeling tired. Protein also regulates blood sugar levels, giving you more energy during a workout.
Reduces muscle loss
As we get older, we naturally start to lose muscle mass. This muscle loss is called sarcopenia and can lead to decreased muscle strength and power.
However, protein reduces muscle loss, preserves muscle mass as we age, and stimulates muscle protein synthesis.
A high-protein diet also slows down the muscle loss that occurs with aging, especially for older adults trying to maintain muscle mass.
Protein has many benefits for the body, especially after a workout. For instance, it builds and repairs muscle tissue, improves exercise performance, and reduces muscle loss. However, limiting your protein intake to the recommended amount is still crucial.
What are the Side Effects of Taking Too Much Protein?
While protein has many benefits, taking too much can harm your health. Here are some of the side effects that you may experience if you take too much protein:
If you take in more protein than your body can use, the excess protein will be stored as fat. As a result, it leads to weight gain, especially if you’re not exercising regularly.
The kidneys break down protein into amino acids and then excrete it in the urine. However, if you take in too much protein, your kidneys must work overtime to break it down, which leads to kidney damage and other health problems.
To adequately metabolize water, protein requires a lot of water. If you take in too much protein, you may not drink enough water to stay hydrated, leading to dehydration and other health problems.
A high-protein diet can also put a strain on your liver. The liver has to work harder to break down and process protein, leading to liver disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a scoop of protein powder?
One scoop of protein powder is about 20 grams or 20 grams of protein per scoop.
How much protein should I take after a workout?
The amount of protein you need after a workout depends on your goals. If you’re trying to build muscle, you may need more protein than if you’re just trying to recover from your workout.
How long does it take for protein to work?
Protein works relatively quickly, and you will see the most benefits within two hours. However, it can continue for up to 24 hours after you eat protein.
What happens if you take two servings of pre-workout?
If you take two servings of pre-workout, you may experience side effects such as increased heart rate, jitters, and anxiety. Therefore, starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it is essential to avoid these side effects.
Additionally, you should drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet to stay hydrated and nourished.
How much protein do I need for muscle gain?
The amount of protein you need for muscle gain depends on your goals. So, if you’re trying to build muscle, you may need more protein than if you’re just trying to recover from your workout. A common suggestion is 0.7-1 grams of protein per body weight.
Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 105-150 grams of protein daily.
Protein is an essential nutrient for the body, but limiting your protein intake to the recommended amount is crucial. Therefore, taking two scoops of protein powder may be too much. Depending on diet and workout, two scoops may be just right or too much. Listening to your body and seeing how your body responds to different protein intakes is essential.
Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you’re concerned about taking too much protein. They can help you determine the right amount of protein for your individual needs.
If you found this article helpful, check our other articles on ExpertFitness.org.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.