Time to destroy the myth that we absorb a maximum of 30 g protein per meal! This myth comes from the fact that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) stops increasing if more than 30 g is consumed and so it was concluded that these amounts aren’t beneficial. Things are not that simple.
If we just consider how much protein is ABSORBED into our blood from the gut, this amount is practically limitless, although there is some loss here. Evolution wouldn’t let that precious energy go to waste. On the other hand, how much of the protein absorbed actually USED to build muscle is a more complicated question.
Muscle mass gained depends on BOTH muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB). Eating >30 g of protein has other beneficial effects like reducing whole body protein breakdown and can thus potentially give your MORE GAINS. There is a gap in the research, but intermittent fasting studies show that muscle gains arent negatively affected with single large doses of protein far over 30 grams per serving.
In practice, we would say that it’s reasonable to try to maximize MPS to get those potential gains, and this done by eating at least 0.55 g protein / kg body weight per meal, or around 40 grams of protein for the average Joe. Don’t be afraid to eat more than this though, as your main goal should be to reach at least 1.6 g protein per kg body weight per day.
- Is there a maximal anabolic response to protein intake with a meal? doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.11.018.
- How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1.