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Keto and paleo diets are making headlines across the country and bringing more protein to the plate. Therefore, it is easy to believe that an extra portion of meat (or other protein-rich foods) is good for you. However, according to current guidelines, you only need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. What is the right step? Nutritionists at Purdue University have an answer. In a new study published in Advances in Nutrition, they conclude that more than the recommended amount of protein only benefits people who are actively trying to lose weight or build muscle. Everyone else should follow the .8 gram policy.
"Most adults who consume sufficient amounts of protein may only benefit from moderately higher protein intake if they purposely try to change their body composition," said study co-author Wayne Campbell in a Purdue news article.
The researchers wanted to find out if adults would benefit from eating more protein than the daily guidelines suggest. This is an important point to look at, as most adults are already consuming more protein than is recommended, said co-author of the study, Joshua L. Hudson. To find an answer, the researchers screened more than 1,500 published journal articles and selected 18 studies that evaluated a total of 981 participants for the meta-analysis.
They then determined how protein intake above the recommended daily allowance (RDA) affected the body mass of the participants and how that was compared to those who consumed protein according to RDA. It is the first meta-analysis that compares the above-mentioned RDA protein consumption with RDA protein uptake, according to the published article. Interestingly, the researchers found that consuming more protein did not affect the body composition of adults who did not diet or did not exercise to build muscle mass.
However, they found that eating more protein for dieting adults helped them lose weight or gain muscle – the added protein helped them build lean mass. Based on this data, the researchers have developed some advice for people who follow a diet: do not eat less.
"Instead, you should work to maintain or even boost protein-rich foods," said Campbell. "Then reduce the carbs and saturated fatty foods."
If you work out to gain more weight, you can build muscle mass with more protein than the recommended daily allowance. However, if you do not try to change your body too much, it is a good idea to stick to the recommended daily allowance because eating more protein will not be beneficial.
"There is so much encouragement, advertising and marketing for everyone who takes a high-protein diet," said Hudson. "This study confirms that under certain conditions, including weight training and weight loss, a little more protein may be helpful, but this does not mean that more is needed for everyone at all times."