>> Portion Size – Where For Art Thou?

What follows is a copy of a post made on February 6, 2010.  Since Posts tend to be out of sight and therefore out of mind, I am re-posting it as a page.


I have come to realize that no matter how I try, I am way off on portion sizes.  My latest confusion was brought on by an article in Men’s Health entitled “The Truth about Protein” on page 86 of the March 2010 edition.

The positive side of this article is that it supports eating protein from whole foods including dairy products, eggs, meat and fish.  It goes on to say, “if you are struggling with your weight, fat itself is not the culprit, carbs are the likely problem. Fat will help keep you full, while carbs can put you on a blood-sugar rollercoaster that leaves you hungry later.”

It goes on to define the “proper” amount of protein we should be eating.

The usual recommended minimum daily requirement for adults is 56 grams. The article cites other view points:

.77 grams per pound of Body Weight for a highly trained athlete.

.55 grams per pound of Body Weight for a guy who works out 5+ days a week for an hour each workout.

.45 grams per pound of Body Weight for a guy who works out 3-5 days a week for 45-60 minutes.

One proviso: If you are trying to lose weight and are eating on calorie deficit, then you need more protein to make sure you are not cannibalizing your existing muscles. So – boost your protein intake to between .45 and .68 grams per pound of Body Weight.

Assuming a weight of 180 pounds, then I should be eating no more than 100 grams per day – not the 150-160 that I have allowed myself. The problem is not that the extra protein will cause me health difficulties, but that it will be burned as energy.  I do not need those 200+/- extra calories.

Yes, I know that the TNT book mentions one gram per pound of lean body mass.  Well that is not all that different than .68 grams per pound of body weight.   It is a different way to look at the numbers – problem is that who the heck really knows what their Lean Body Mass is?  On that formula I should be eating 140 grams.   Again – this is in a book which is attempting to encourage guys to move off their dependency on pasta and pick up their protein intake.  Also, low carb diets tend to be a bit higher in overall protein than non-low carb diets.

Just to add to my confusion, this article cites Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., one of the authors of the TNT Diet.  He is quoted more for the nutrient timing then for the amount of protein.  The TNT book says: One gram per pound of Lean Body Mass as a rule of thumb.

Another point of view comes from Johnny Bowden, PhD, CNS in the revised edition of his book “Living Low Carb” has no problem with the Zone diets recommendation that 30% of your caloric needs should come from protein.  So somebody on a 2000 calorie diet would eat 150 grams.  He clearly states that 30% protein is NOT a high protein diet – but just normal.

Since the Whey Protein alone is 40-50 grams, I am not left with a lot to eat. Six ounces was my target portion size. Now it really should be closer to three ounces at each meal with a little bit more on Cardio days when I only have one shake, or do not exercise.  Everyone is in agreement that there should be protein at every meal and that includes snacks.

Veggies are another problem. It is recommended that we have at least 4-5 servings per day. The suggestion is to indulge on veggies. That is easy to say to a person that does not eat any and you are trying to encourage them to eat more. But when one serving equals one cup uncooked or one-half cup cooked, this guy can eat a 4-5 cup salad for lunch without blinking.

And………. I wonder why I am having so much trouble maintaining my weight.

I will add one post script, after reading some of the comments on the saturated fat studies listed in Bowden’s book “Living Low Carb.”  Those comments suggest that the studies concerning the negative effects of saturated fats are because the diets where not controlled for low carb.  I wonder – is there a similar connection here?  Does the Carb variable effect the amount of Protein that is usable by the body?  If you find out – let me know.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard Garcia
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 12:21:23

    Hi TNT Man,
    Thanks for all the info you put on your blog. I love reading through all your experiences. I’ve quickly realized that I may have been consuming too much protein on my non workout days. I currently weigh 193-195 and I was consuming 150-160g of protein every day. I’ve recently switched to 100-120g on non workout days.

    I’m still experimenting…

    I’ve lost on my own 30lbs….and another 10lbs with the help of TNT plan A.

    -Richard G.


    • TNT Man
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 16:17:00


      Congrats on your weight loss. Nice work.

      The amount of Protein is one of those battle grounds between the companies selling protein and the latest studies. Volek and Phinney indicate that the range should be between .6 and 1.0 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass.

      Looks like you are well within those boundries.

      Keep up the good work.

      TNT Man


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