The Reality About Protein Absorption: How Typically You Ought to Eat Protein to Construct Muscle



I used to eat protein each 2 to three hours.

Day by day. Like clockwork.

And if I missed a “feeding,” I swore I might really feel my muscular tissues withering away, begging for sustenance.

Why, you marvel?

As a result of I had learn in a bodybuilding journal that the physique can solely take up about 30 to 40 grams of protein per meal.

Something over that threshold would merely be transformed into glucose and burned.

To make issues worse, I had additionally learn that I must be consuming about 300 to 400 grams of protein per day.

Properly, as you possibly can think about, consuming 40 grams of protein Eight instances per day was…a battle.

Why did I imagine all this, you now marvel?


I used to be a little bit of a muppet, I suppose.


These instances have handed and I not dwell on Sesame Road.

And I wish to inform you what I now learn about protein absorption

You see, relating to absorption thresholds, there are lots of numbers floating round on the market.

Some “consultants” declare the identical vary I examine years in the past. Some say it’s much less and a few say it’s extra.

So wait…

They’re making an attempt to say that the our bodies of each NFL linebackers and horse jockeys cope with protein in kind of the identical methods?

That genetics, way of life, and physique composition don’t dramatically affect protein metabolism?

This simply defies widespread sense.

Moreover, they’re saying that consuming massive quantities of protein simply 2 to three instances per day will end in “protein loss” and even deficiencies?

How, then, did the human species survive the hunter-gatherer days, I ponder?

Properly, on this article, we’re going to chop via the flimflam.

By the top, you’re going to understand how a lot protein you possibly can “safely” eat in a single every and why, and I feel you’re going to be pleased with the information.

So let’s get to it, beginning with what truly occurs if you eat protein.

The Science of Protein Absorption

Whenever you eat protein, your abdomen makes use of its acid and enzymes to interrupt it down into its constructing blocks, amino acids.

These molecules are transported into the bloodstream by particular cells that line the small gut, and are then delivered to numerous components of the physique.

Your small gut solely has so many transporter cells, which limits the quantity of amino acids that may be infused into your blood each hour.

That is actually what we’re speaking about with “protein absorption”:

How rapidly our small gut can take up amino acids into our blood.

And this occurs at completely different speeds for various kinds of protein.

In response to one evaluate, whey clocks in at Eight to 10 grams absorbed per hour, casein at ~6.1 g/hr, soy at ~three.9 g/hr, and cooked egg at ~2.9 g/hr.

These numbers aren’t fully correct as a result of complexities concerned in measuring protein absorption, however they lend perception nonetheless.

Sure proteins are absorbed very slowly and others are processed pretty rapidly.

You must also know that meals substances don’t transfer uniformly via the digestive tract they usually don’t essentially depart sections in the identical order that they arrived in.

As an illustration, the presence of protein within the abdomen stimulates the manufacturing of a hormone that delays “gastric emptying” (the emptying of the meals from the abdomen).

This slows down intestinal contractions and thus how rapidly the meals strikes via the small gut, the place vitamins are absorbed.

This is among the methods your physique “buys the time” it wants to soak up the protein you eat.

Carbohydrates and fat can transfer via your small gut and be totally absorbed whereas the protein remains to be being labored on.

As soon as the amino acids arrive within the blood, your physique does numerous issues with them together with tissue progress and restore.

It could even quickly retailer extra amino acids in muscle for near-future wants.

If there are nonetheless amino acids within the blood after doing all the above, your physique can convert them into glucose to gasoline your mind and different cells.

So, that’s how your physique processes the protein you eat.

Let’s transfer on to the center of the matter.

Use this exercise and versatile weight-reduction plan program to lose as much as 10 kilos of fats and construct muscle in simply 30 days…with out ravenous your self or residing within the fitness center.

The Downside With Protein Absorption “Ceilings”

maximum protein absorption

Claims that the physique can solely take up a lot protein in a single sitting are normally primarily based on one of many following concepts (or each):

“All meals transfer via the small gut in 2 to three hours.”

If this have been true…in case your physique was in a race towards time to course of the meals you eat…then the matter could be fairly open and shut.

Even in the event you ate a really fast-absorbing protein like whey, you may solely take up 25 to 30 grams earlier than it will be “too late.”

Properly, as you now know, that’s simply not the way it works.

Your physique is ready to regulate the pace at which protein strikes via the small intestines to make sure it will possibly take up all the out there amino acids.

This isn’t simply concept, both.

For instance, a research performed by scientists the Nationwide Human Vitamin Analysis Heart (France) had 16 younger girls eat 79% of the day’s protein (about 54 grams) in a single meal or 4 meals over the course of 14 days.

Researchers discovered no distinction between the teams by way of protein metabolism.

Moreover, if we have a look at the quantity of protein within the high-protein meals relative to the typical physique weight of the contributors, it comes out to about 1.17 grams of protein per kilogram of physique weight.

Apply that to a person weighing 80 kilograms (176 kilos), and also you get about 94 grams of protein in every meal.

Whereas this isn’t definitive scientific proof, it’s meals for thought.

Analysis on the model of weight-reduction plan referred to as intermittent fasting can be related.

This model of weight-reduction plan has folks fasting for prolonged durations, adopted by anyplace from 2 to Eight-hour “feeding home windows” and it’s now properly established that it doesn’t end in muscle loss.

For instance, this IF research discovered that consuming the total days’ price of protein in a Four-hour window (adopted by 20 hours of fasting) didn’t negatively affect muscle preservation.

Related outcomes have been seen in a number of different research as properly.

“This one research confirmed that 20 grams of protein stimulates most muscle progress.”

how often should you eat protein to build muscle

A research generally cited as proof of restricted protein absorption discovered that 20 grams of post-workout protein stimulated most muscle protein synthesis in younger males.

That’s, consuming greater than 20 grams of protein after figuring out did nothing extra in phrases of stimulating muscle progress.

The obvious flaw on this argument is you possibly can’t use research on the anabolic response to protein consumption to extrapolate concepts about how a lot we are able to take up in a single sitting. 

Acute anabolic responses to single meals containing protein simply don’t give us the entire image.

Protein absorption pertains to the infusion of amino acids into the bloodstream over prolonged durations of time whereas protein synthesis pertains to the usage of these amino acids to construct tissues.

Amino acids are the constructing blocks and protein synthesis is the method of constructing.

What this research actually tells us is that, ideally, every time we eat protein, we’d eat a minimum of 20 grams.

Bear in mind, although, that the research discovered that 20 grams of post-workout protein stimulated most protein synthesis in younger males.

Don’t assume that this 20-gram quantity applies to everybody as a result of protein metabolism is affected by a number of issues:

How a lot muscle you have got. The extra you have got, the extra amino acids your physique wants to keep up your musculature, and the extra locations your physique can retailer surpluses.How lively you might be. The extra you progress round, the extra protein your physique wants.How previous you might be. The older you get, the extra protein your physique wants to keep up its muscle.Your hormones. Elevated ranges of progress hormone and insulin-like progress issue 1 (IGF-1) stimulate muscle synthesis. In case your physique has excessive ranges of those anabolic hormones, it is going to make the most of protein higher than somebody that has low ranges.

However, elevated ranges of cortisol reduces protein synthesis and accelerates the method whereby the physique breaks down amino acids into glucose (gluconeogenesis).

This hinders protein metabolism, after all.

So, whereas 20 grams of protein is likely to be sufficient to maximally spike protein synthesis ranges, this gained’t maintain true for everybody.

Many individuals will want extra protein to see the identical results.

Personally I hold my protein at or above 30 to 40 grams in most meals.

The Backside Line on Protein Absorption

protein absorption limit

As you possibly can see, it’s impractical (and deceptive) to place a cap on how a lot protein your physique can take up in a single meal.

Relaxation assured it’s a hell of much more than the 20 to 30 grams that some folks declare, too.

You most likely additionally seen that “protein timing” isn’t as necessary as some folks assume, both.

That’s, you don’t should eat protein each 2 to three hours to maximise muscle progress or keep away from “going catabolic.”

Consuming enough protein every single day is what issues most, not the frequency of your feedings.

Whereas it’s sensible to have an excellent quantity of protein earlier than and after coaching, break up the remainder of your every day wants nonetheless you need and let your physique handle the remaining.

Personally, I prefer to eat each few hours, but when you favor fewer, bigger meals, then don’t be afraid to load up on the protein if you eat.


What are your ideas on protein absorption? Have anything so as to add? Let me know within the feedback under!

For those who loved this text, get updates. It is free.

100% Privateness. We do not hire or share our e-mail lists.



Reply your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*