Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your body. It's necessary for sufficient brain function, the creation of red blood cells, sustained energy levels and the building of lean muscle tissue. But is there such a thing as too much protein?
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of usable protein by the body is .36 grams per pound of body weight. This means that a person who weighs approximately 150 pounds would require at least 54 grams of protein each day just to function. Though, you may need more if you're exercising and trying to build lean muscle mass.
Depending on your exercise type and engagement level the amount of protein you'll need each day varies. Athletes who need to build and sustain large amounts of muscle need approximately 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight they carry. On workout days, the amount can be increased to 1.5 to 1.75 grams. This not only adds additional, sustainable fuel but helps the body to increase muscle mass.
According to Scientific American, the body can only absorb between 20 and 30 grams of protein at a time. Most people consider this the standard but everybody is different in the way they absorb and utilize the proteins they take in. A person who leads a sedentary lifestyle will require much less protein than someone who exercises or performs strenuous activities on a daily basis. As you become more active, you'll need more protein to provide a sustainable energy source as well as build muscle tissue. Without an increase, the body will begin to draw protein from muscle tissue.
Replenishing protein after a workout is important. The anabolic window, a period up to 30 - 45 minutes after a workout that your muscles better absorb protein, may be the best time to take in your extra protein. After a workout, carbs can be combined with smaller amounts of protein to provide the body with the fuel it needs to maintain optimum function as the body winds down from exercise.
So, the answer is "it depends". If you're looking to build lean muscle and are active you'll need more protein during the day (around 1g per lb of body weight). Looking for a fast source of protein? Try a delicious Quest Bar as a snack or after your workout for an easy 20g of protein or look here for other great protein options!