Believe it or
not, many bodybuilders fear eating too much
protein in a single meal, since they have been
lead to believe that consuming too much protein
in a single meal will cause the body to "waste
the protein for muscle growth". Then they'll
go on to say, "The body simply can't absorb
more than 30 grams of protein per sitting".
But is there really any truth to support this?
How much protein
is your body REALLY able to absorb in a single
Like I said, many
bodybuilders think that the body cannot absorb
more than 30 grams of protein per meal, so they
often stick close to this number every time
they sit down at the table. But they don't go
beyond this - since eating more protein than
this is simply a waste of protein and money;
at least according to them.
I've gotten this
question countless times in the past and continue
to get it on a regular basis, so I thought it
was time to go ahead and cover it now.
How Much Protein
Can Your Body Absorb Each Meal?
Never worry about
consuming too much protein in a single meal.
Your body WILL use the protein at all times.
Just before I
sat down to write this article, I sat myself
down and devoured a big (and I mean BIG) juicy
steak. That single steak probably provided with
me at least 60 grams of protein and I'd be willing
to bet that there was more than that. I can
guarantee that as I write this sentence, my
metabolism is working to use every single bit
of that protein.
So if the idea
were true that your body has a limited capacity
for protein absorption, then my body would totally
waste 30 grams of protein and use 30 grams of
But since the
protein in meat digests over a long period of
time, I'll be getting the benefit of that protein
several hours down the road. I'd be willing
to guess that the protein absorption rate for
the steak is about 4-5 grams per hour, although
I might be off a tad.
if you take the cheese and broccoli I had with
it as well, we're probably looking at about
3-4 grams per hour.
Consuming a whey
protein shake, however, will typically deliver
protein to your muscles at a rate of about 10
grams per hour.
Either way you
look at things, the important thing to take
from all of this is that your body will NOT
go catabolic if you don't get 30 grams of protein
every 3 hours throughout the day. You're still
going to be in an anabolic environment, regardless
of when you eat your food.
But you're still
going to need a constant stream of nutrients
to support the anabolic pathways to muscle growth,
so I'm not saying you should get all of your
calories in 1-2 meals each day.
There are many
different factors which will affect the rate
of protein absorption:
- The type of
- The last time
you ate something
- What other
foods you were eating with it - carbs, fats,
- The fiber content
of the entire meal - additional fiber will
slow protein absorption
Keeping all this
in mind, it's still important to note that if
you were to take whey and water together and
drink that by itself, it would still take several
hours to fully be absorbed. So if you took two
scoops of whey protein instead of one, your
body would still use it for muscle growth.
But this doesn't
necessarily mean you should be getting all of
your protein from a powdered source. I always
recommend eating whole foods and avoiding powdered
protein, except for once or twice each day.
I always have a whey protein shake after my
So what can we
learn from all of this?
Although the research
is not completely clear on this matter, there
is enough evidence to infer that regardless
when or how much protein you consume in a single
sitting, your body will still absorb it. It
simply doesn't make sense that your body would
waste precious amino acids, due to the fact
that it's "too much" for your body
to handle. Trust me - it's not too much. Your
body is an incredibly efficient machine and
is capable of incredible things - don't underestimate
So if you just
ate a 60 gram steak like me, don't sweat it.
You're still going to see the same results as
you would if you were to divide that steak into
two different meals. The important thing is
to keep lifting big weights and keep eating
big steaks, regardless of how much you eat in
This was an article
written by Drew Stegman. Drew is very experienced
in the health/fitness industry and has been
involved in doing so since 15 years of age.
For more muscle building tips be sure to check
out his website: http://how2gainmusclefast.com/