Does Protein Threshold Exist in a Single Meal? - The Muscle PhD

Does Protein Threshold Exist in a Single Meal?

Ask DocCategory: NutritionDoes Protein Threshold Exist in a Single Meal?
Lyndsey asked 5 years ago

As always, there is conflicting information/studies that say there is a protein threshold at each given meal before it becomes ineffective verses it doesn’t matter and you can eat a meal of 60g at the end of the day to hit your goal and it still be effective. Which is it?!

1 Answers
Best Answer
Dr. Jacob Wilson Staff answered 5 years ago

Hi Lyndsey,

Great question and definitely an interesting scenario. When you hear people say, “you can only digest 20-30g of protein per meal,” etc. they’re referencing several findings that show that muscle protein synthesis is typically maximized after ingesting 20-30g of protein with no further benefits from higher amounts of protein. However, muscle protein synthesis is not the only function that ingested protein is used for so that’s a limited view on how much protein you can ingest in one meal. I don’t think there is necessarily a limit to how much protein you can have in one meal, however, I do think it’s important to divide your total daily protein intake into meals spaced about 2-3 hours apart to maintain a positive protein balance throughout the day.

Further Reading

Jäger, R., Kerksick, C. M., Campbell, B. I., Cribb, P. J., Wells, S. D., Skwiat, T. M., … & Smith-Ryan, A. E. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 20.

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