Mythbusting 1#: How many grams of protein the body can absorb in one meal?

How many grams of protein the body can absorb is widely debated among the fitness community. So much so that chances are if you clicked onto this article then you’re one of two people.

Number 1: Someone who is genuinely interested in the subject and wants to the know how many grams of protein the body can absorb. 

Number 2: You think the body can only absorb 20 to 30 grams of protein at any one time and want to see if I got it right.

Alright let’s just into this by debunking that second one right now. It’s false. You can absorb much, much more than 30 grams of protein per meal. In fact if you start to think about that statement then you can quickly see how it cannot possibly be true. Let’s examine a few reasons why it is false.

1: It’s incredibly vague.

Alright, firstly is it 20 grams? Is it 30 grams? Different people (mainly people selling protein powders and bars) will tell you different numbers that usually fall between those two numbers. Secondly, per meal is also incredibly vague. Is that for three meals a day, or for people with six meals a day? What if you ate every hour and had up to 10 or 12 meals a day?

Quickly under questioning it raises more questions that it answers.

2: Evolution

Let’s imagine that we are living 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago or further. We haven’t evolved as a species that much since that time. Do you think food was as readily available as it is today? Was it even 200 years ago? No it wasn’t. In fact if you go back a few thousand years we’d be living in tribes, hunting rabbits, deer and other animals. In fact you’d eat upwards of 100 to 200 grams of protein in one meal, and then not eat protein again for 24 to 48 hours.

Some times longer if animals in your area were scarce. So if you think that out of that 100 grams of protein you’d only absorb 30 grams and waste 70 grams then you may want to think again. Humans wouldn’t be alive today if our digestive system was that wasteful.

3: People make gains by eating once a day.

To be fair a lot of people now doubt the 30 gram myth because of new diet trends like intermittent fasting, the warrior diet and others. Basically with these approaches to eating you would only be eating a few times a day. In fact the warrior diet says to eat one HUGE meal a day. And guess what. People following this diet have made gains. People following intermittent fasting have made gains and people eating 60+grams of protein per meal make gains.

4: The maths don’t add up.

Okay so the common approach to this 30 grams per meal is that it is a max of 30 grams of protein per meal six times a day. While that’s a pretty good amount of protein per meal, it won’t work for anybody. The reason being is that it sets a cap of 180 grams of protein per day. For everybody. Let’s say you’re an ectomorph who weighs 120 kg and you’re wanting to bulk up.

Guess what, you’re going to want to eat more than that. But apparently your body can’t absorb any more protein. So does that mean you’re stuck being the same weight? No. No it doesn’t.

In conclusion I could go on, and on about this subject but in reality there is no point beating a dead horse. It’s something that has been a myth for far too long, so don’t worry you can eat a big breakfast of say… 40 to 50 grams of protein. 😉

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