How much protein can the body absorb at each meal?
If you want to build muscle, watch your protein intake: That's a phrase you've probably heard before, and for good reason! By eating a protein-rich meal, you provide the necessary building materials so
that muscle protein can be made from dietary protein. This building process is called muscle protein synthesis. This can only happen if you have taken in sufficient amounts of amino acids, from which
proteins are made. And that brings us to the real question: How much protein can your body absorb at each meal? Is 20-30g per serving a max? Are we simply "wasting" what is then consumed?
To get started, let's explain the difference between protein intake and the amount of protein your body needs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. You are able to absorb all the protein you eat. Because it
corresponds to the transfer of nutrients from the intestine into the bloodstream, and as some studies show, there is no fundamental limit
for healthy people. So the real question to ask is: How much protein can be used at each meal to build muscle? Let's get to the heart of the matter and examine what science tells us about it.
Let's make an important point beforehand: in addition to the amount of protein per serving, you must above all cover your daily protein needs completely. To build muscle mass, we recommend eating
approx. 1.5 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Can't get enough protein? Whey shakes provide you with high-quality protein that is quick to prepare! *
This is what the studies say
Have you ever heard of the "full muscle effect"? The Review von Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University states that there should be some limit on the amount of protein per serving
used for muscle development. This is what is meant by "full muscle effect". According to this study, it is nearly over this limit. 20-30 grams of protein will not provide any additional benefit in terms of building muscle.
Another study looked at this question in more detail and compared two groups of people. The first group received a piece of beef tenderloin to eat, which contained approx. 30 grams of protein. The
second group received a larger serving of 90 grams of protein. The results showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of muscle protein synthesis.
But not all proteins are created equal!
So the results seem to support the idea that 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving is sufficient. But it is not so simple, because many other factors can affect protein metabolism. One of them is the chosen
protein source and its biological value. For muscle protein synthesis, you need an adequate amount of essential amino acids. This amount is not the same in all foods.
Animal protein sources such as meat, fish, eggs, etc. It offers more benefits, as it generally covers the full amino acid profile and is more similar to the proteins in our bodies. If you are following a
vegetarian diet, then you must make sure to combine different protein sources such as lentils, peas, tofu and many more. Plus, our vegan protein shake provides you with all the essential amino acids in just one serving!
Some individual factors also play a role.
The number of grams of protein you should consume at each meal also depends on your individual needs. Remember that every body is different. Therefore, the following factors must also be taken into account:
With age, the so-called "anabolic resistance" increases. This means that older people need more protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis than younger people. According to the "Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews" Studie, though, there's some good news: People who remain physically active into old age can reduce their "resistance."
Body weight and muscle mass
According to a McMaster University review, the more muscle mass you have, the more protein your body can use at each meal to build muscle. This study recommends consuming approx. 0.4 g of protein per kg of body weight during a meal to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Your training program
Another study examined the effect of an exercise program on protein absorption. Subjects performed a full-body workout and found that 40 grams of whey protein had a greater effect on muscle protein synthesis than 20 grams. So the researchers concluded that the more muscle is used during training, the more protein the body will absorb.
Your eating habits
Of course, how often you eat during the day is also important. If you're eating more than 30 grams of protein per meal because, say, you practice intermittent fasting or simply because a high-protein
diet works for you, the extra absorbed portion simply isn't lost. The body will continue to digest and metabolize the food. It is always a good idea to listen to your body and know how much protein you can tolerate at each meal.
You do not take the head! 20-30 grams of protein per serving is a good guideline for most people. However, some individual factors and the biological value of each protein source also play a role, which is why values may vary and exceed this particular limit of 20-
30 g. Keep track of your daily needs, try to include a source of protein in every meal and you'll be fine. If you want to know your situation more accurately, you can easily determine your nutritional needs using our calculator.