You Can’t Train a Bad Diet!: Protein

The first point of address in this series of articles is protein. Specifically, what, where and when to eat will be discussed but initially I’ll deal with the sciencey numbers part detailing amounts and the potential issues with the consumption of protein.

Recommended daily allowances (RDA’s) are roughly at 0.8g/kg of bodyweight, however for an active individual protein demands are increased- primarily for repair and recovery. With research showing value of close to 1.6 g/kg of bodyweight this is double what is recommended on the side of food packets. The take home point is that a fixed value on the side of a packet is not specific for active people.

What is the point of consuming protein at above what is currently recommended apart from repair and recovery. Well if someone is trying to get lean and lose body fat removing carbohydrate and fat from your diet will help because excesses in either are likely to be stored as fat, excess protein is utilized in a different way and before it can be stored as fat it needs to be converted which the body does not do preferentially. 

As you need to be in a calorific defecit to lose weight manipulating your fat and carb intake in my mind is more preferential compared to reducing protein consumption. In fact increasing protein intake makes sense from an energy usage and storage point of view.

Do you need as much as 3g/kg BW though as recommended on a number of bodybuilding focussed sites? In most cases unless leaning out in a pretty extreme way with a very low carb and fat diet it is not necessary.

If most of the last paragraph was confusing really what you want to know is why? how much do I need to eat? and what do these numbers relate to in “food”. See the list below for major protein sources:

Eggs x2- 12g

Milk x 1 Glass- 8g

Yoghurt x 1 Cup- 12g

Cottage Cheese x 1/2 Cup- 15g

Most Cuts of Beef (100g)- 25g

Chicken (100g)-  28g

White Fish (100g)- 22g

Tuna (100g)- 24g

Pork Loin (100g)- 25g

Most Beans (1/2 cup)- 7-10g

Tofu (1/2 cup)- 20g

Most Seeds (1/4 cup)- 6-8g

Almonds (1/4 cup)- 8g

Other foods contain varying amounts of ptotein but these are primary sources that we base most of our clients details on. As you can probably see that if you are an 80kg individual at 1.6g/kg of protein then 128g of protein would look circa. 2 eggs, 1 cup of yoghurt, 150g of Beef, 200g of chicken, 1/2 cup of mixed beans and 1/2 cup of almonds.

From most people I consult with their instant reaction is: “Really? That’s a lot of food!” When you consider most peoples diet then “yes” it may be, but remember this is for a healthy active person, saying that though  believe that there are a number of other metabolic advantages to eating a higher level of protein compared to RDA’s ( for a more extensive review) in individuals with no health problems.

As for timings then protein intake should be spread evenly throughout the day. There is no need really to consume more than 20-30g of protein in one sitting.

So there you go- start seeing how much steak  and chicken wings you can eat, we will cover fat at a later point and next post I will discuss carbohydrates and the misconception that they are worse than the devil…….

Published by ianmellis

Ian Mellis MSc. CSCS is the co-founder of Results FAST ( in Ware, Hertfordshire. Specialising in athletic development, physique improvement and injury rehabilitation he provides personal training, strength and conditioning and nutrition coaching for motivated exercisers and those looking to make a long term change to their health, fitness and performance.

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