How Much Protein Powder Should I Take a Day?

Learn how much protein powder you should take per day for optimal health benefits and performance gains.

How Much Protein Powder Should I Take a Day?

The recommended dose of protein powder is generally 25 to 50 grams per day (1 to 2 tablespoons), but some products may include other recommendations on the package. It is important to note that taking too much protein is not beneficial. Studies suggest that 25 grams of protein in a single session (1.5 to 2 hours) is approximately the amount that the average human body can use at one time to synthesize muscle protein. Protein synthesis is maximized in young adults around this point.

For larger and older people, 30 to 40 grams of protein may be adequate. For this reason, small, frequent meals and protein-rich foods are generally considered the best option if you're trying to reach the maximum protein intake threshold on a protein-rich diet. It is safe to have more than one protein shake a day, but experts recommend limiting your intake to three shakes per day. If you are extremely active (more than one workout per day or extremely long training sessions), three protein shakes per day may be appropriate.

Additionally, a protein-rich diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose control in diabetics, which would reduce the risk of kidney disease, not increase it. Replacing simple carbohydrates or high-fat snacks with high-protein alternatives can be a great strategy for reducing appetite. However, there have been scandals that make potential consumers of protein powder wary, such as the Consumer Reports reveal that several brands of protein powders, such as BSN, Muscle Milk, MuscleTech and GNC, contained high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. Certain types of shakes, especially those made with whey and casein, are complete proteins (they contain all nine essential amino acids) with a high biological value (the body can absorb and use all of these amino acids), which means that they contain high-quality proteins similar to those obtained from meat, fish and eggs.

Sure, some people can make protein shakes by mixing protein powder with liquid, fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients in a blender, but it's actually a shake. You don't want to get used to using protein shakes frequently as a substitute for a full meal when you would normally eat whole foods. They are easy to prepare and practical for when you're at the gym, traveling, or just don't feel like roasting a chicken breast or frying some eggs. Athletes rely on protein intake to increase performance and build muscle, while those looking to lose body weight and increase lean body mass will want to keep their daily protein intake high to maximize fat loss.

Therefore, if you consume too many daily calories from protein powder (30, 40% or more) and you don't make sure that the remaining calories are extremely nutrient-rich, you are likely to develop nutritional “gaps” in your diet that can cause health problems over time. Shakes are an especially convenient form of measurable protein supplementation before, after, or even during resistance training. If you use protein powder instead of other protein sources, you should opt for those that contain all the essential amino acids. According to research, the tolerable upper limit is up to 3.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

There are two proven scenarios in the fitness world that should help you find a way to consume protein shakes without overdoing it. Even if you want to create an eating plan that will help you gain weight, proteins will help ensure that you add as much muscle as possible so that you can maximize strength and performance efficiency.