by Chris Shugart
How much protein do you need? There are a lot of formulas out there, some simple and some complex.
Science tells us that lifters need .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, a 200-pound man needs 160 grams. Exceeding that may not lead to faster muscle growth. But there's one problem: that formula is only concerned with protein synthesis, and protein does a lot more than just build muscle.
Protein is a Fat-Loss Agent!
Protein is more satiating than carbs and fats, and you actually burn more calories processing it. In one study, people eating 211 grams of protein burned 80 additional calories each day (and even burned more calories while sleeping) than people eating 83 grams per day.
A high-protein diet triggers a larger calorie expenditure and more fat oxidation. That adds up quickly. So exceeding the "0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight" guideline has value if your main goal is fat loss.
So How Much Protein Should I Eat?
Shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The Metabolic Velocity strategy (two MD shakes per day) takes care of 88 grams, making it much easier to hit that target number.
But what if you're quite a bit overweight? Choose a realistic, healthy goal weight and eat that many grams of protein per day. A 240-pound man who knows he's 35 pounds too heavy would then eat 205 grams of protein daily.