The question buzzing around my gym lately has been, "is 2 scoops of protein too much?"
Protein is an essential macronutrient, but the amount of protein an individual needs can vary.
With so many factors to consider, determining the optimal protein intake for your needs can be difficult. Whether you're looking to cut, bulk up, improve your athletic performance, or be healthy, understanding your protein needs is crucial in achieving fitness goals.
Can You Take 2 Scoops Of Protein Powder?
There are no obvious reasons for healthy people to avoid taking 2 scoops, so yes, generally, you can take two scoops of protein powder.
As always, things are not black-and-white.
Protein is an essential macronutrient crucial in building and repairing muscles and other tissues, maintaining a healthy immune system, and having a positive effect on stimulating hormones.
Taking 2 servings of protein powder can be a safe and effective way to increase protein intake.
The daily protein intake should be approximately 0.8 g per pound of body weight, so there is no doubt that 2 scoops will help you reach your daily goal compared to 1 scoop, translating into more muscle mass over a longer period of time.
However, the type and quality of the protein powders differ. Some protein powders may contain additional ingredients such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that may provide additional benefits.
Also, protein powders can come from various sources, each with different absorption rates and amino acid profiles.
So, I can't compare one scoop of whey protein isolate with two scoops of low-quality pea protein, for example.
Also, it's important to note that each person's recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is different. Therefore, we have to put age, sex, body composition, potential health issues, and physical activity levels into the calculation.
A frequent debate related to this topic is whether our bodies can absorb 2 scoops of protein at once.
For a long time, it was believed that the maximum the body can absorb is 20 to 25 grams per meal/shake, but more than one study has debunked this claim.
The amount is certainly much larger. Although I can't tell you how many grams exactly, the body can absorb and use a good range of 50 grams without converting much of it (or any) into fat mass.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Your daily protein target must be at least 100 grams, but you should strive to take even more protein than that to lose weight, gain muscles, or maintain your current status.
Let's say one thing straight away - protein powder is not a meal replacement and should not replace eating a healthy diet.
While it can be used as a convenient source of protein, it should not replace whole food sources.
Instead, consuming protein powder as part of a well-balanced and healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods should be your target.
If you incorporate it into your diet as a supplement and not a meal replacement, it will be what it should be - a valuable ally in the wellness and muscle-building journey.
It is crystal clear that an NFL player, a professional bodybuilder, a club-level tennis player, and a sedentary adult do not have the same protein needs.
By analyzing the following four groups of people, I will help you determine exactly how many scoops of protein, meat, eggs, and other protein-rich foods you need daily.
For most of my clients, cutting is noticeably more challenging than bulking since the goal of cutting is not to become skinny or fat but just the opposite - to preserve (or even increase) lean body mass simultaneously with weight loss (primarily body fat loss).
During this phase, you will reduce the total amount of fats and carbohydrates to achieve a calorie deficit, but it is necessary not only to keep the protein intake the same but to increase it.
I'll explain why.
When the body lacks macronutrients (in this case fats and carbs), it begins to break down muscles alongside fat to fuel activities and life processes.
To prevent the loss of lean muscle mass, you need to raise your protein intake to at least 1 gram per pound of body weight.
If strenuous workouts are part of your lifestyle at least three times a week, you can take up to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight to support resistance training induced gains, but first, consult your doctor.
Bulking is seemingly very simple; you just need to up your calories.
Still, that is a double-edged sword, and you must avoid falling into the trap of overeating unless the goal is dirty bulk - a controversial method that I almost never recommend to clients.
Be patient and follow clean bulk directions. Carbs and fats will provide you with plenty of energy for workouts, and you will have a caloric surplus leading to weight gain.
Proteins are equally important because you want to build muscle mass, but you don't need to increase the amount significantly. Stick to around 1 gram per pound of body weight.
For that goal, two servings of whey protein powder (whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate) will be enough.
The athlete is a very broad term. It includes powerlifters, marathon runners, and basketball players alike.
The efforts they are exposed to are entirely different, and that's why their diet will also be significantly different, except for some basics that everyone adheres to. You don't have to be a nutritionist or a coach to understand that.
Bodybuilders and powerlifters will often consume over 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, which is why 2 scoops of protein powder daily is a standard part of their routine.
On the other hand, a soccer player certainly does not have such needs, nor does a marathon runner, because endurance is essential for those sports, and that's where carbs and fats come into play.
Don't get me wrong; everyone needs protein, but not the same amount. A personalized meal plan and supplementation plan must be made according to the sport, position in that sport, age, body composition, and many other influencing factors.
For Active Individuals
If you are an active individual, you probably have a goal, no matter your exact activity level. My clients usually have two desires - to build muscles and not be skinny or lose fat and body weight.
In both cases, training and nutrition are paramount.
Whatever your goal is, if you are a healthy and active individual, stick to the recommended range of 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. In this way, you will provide yourself with a sufficient amount of protein without risking side effects.
When talking about protein powders, consume one to two scoops of protein per day.
You don't have to take the same every day but think about what your needs are for that particular day. For example, when you work out and haven't eaten enough meat, go with two servings, etc.
Can You Take Protein Powder Every Day?
As long as you are able to fit protein powder into your dietary needs and habits, you can take it every day.
Think of protein supplements as food. It is a processed natural protein from various sources, either of animal or plant origin.
That's why protein is not a supplement like pre-workouts or others but is practically food, and thus it should be included in the diet.
Also, it is unnecessary to cycle it on and off like creatine. There are no protein reserves in the body that you can replenish, nor can the body be saturated with protein. Our bodies are not capable of storing protein in the way we do with fats and carbs.
It is impossible to develop protein tolerance. All this speaks in favor of taking protein powder daily if you are a healthy adult.
Best Time To Take It
The best time to take protein powder largely depends on your personal goals and lifestyle. I'll give you a few general guidelines.
First, forget about the "anabolic window." The idea that there is a limited time span after exercise in which protein consumption is most effective is obsolete.
If you want to squeeze a protein shake as a quick snack before or after a workout but are wondering when it is most effective, you should know that the difference is minor.
Taking 2 scoops of protein powder before workouts may provide additional muscle-building and recovery benefits.
Protein synthesis is elevated after workout, leading us to the conclusion that protein will help with muscle repair and growth either before or after exercising.
You can use protein shakes throughout the day too. How much protein powder and meat/eggs/fish and an additional source you consume matters most at the end of the day, not when.
What Could Happen If You Consume Too Much Protein?
It is improbable that you will consume enough protein to cause weight gain or health problems.
If you eat/drink too much protein, you will first notice gastrointestinal problems. Your GI tract will struggle to digest it all, and then bloating, excessive gas, heartburn, cramps, and other similar symptoms will occur.
Milk-based protein powder could be a nightmare for lactose-intolerant people, but they can satisfy their protein requirements with albumin or vegan protein powder.
Although fats and carbs are usually responsible for weight gain, consuming too much protein will make you eventually gain weight as well since the body cannot utilize it completely.
Next, high protein intake may trigger increased urination and potential dehydration. In the long term, this can cause an imbalance of calcium and other minerals.
Those with pre-existing kidney disease should be extra cautious because too much protein may further damage the kidneys. Still, one scoop of protein should be fine, and even doctors may recommend consuming that amount of protein.
Protein Scoop Amount Questions
The amount of water needed for 2 scoops of protein powder depends on your preference and type of protein powder. If you like a thick protein shake, go with the usual 8 to 12 ounces of water, but if you find it easier to drink a watery protein shake, you can add as much as 20 ounces of liquid.
A typical serving size is somewhere between 20 and 30 grams, so 2 scoops would be roughly 50 grams. Nevertheless, each manufacturer has different scoops, so make sure to check the serving size, nutrition label, and serving instructions before consuming it.
It's hard to single out any symptom as unique to excessive protein powder consumption. Pay attention to stomach discomfort, dehydration, constant urge to pee, and kidney problems. Those may point out you are overdoing this macronutrient.
In most cases, 3 scoops of protein powder is too much, especially if you use all 3 scoops for one shake and not multiple times during the day. Bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramps are very likely, and there is a good chance you will exceed the recommended daily intake too.
In the world of fitness and nutrition, trends and fads are appearing practically every week.
It's important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, so don't get too caught up in the scoop size or the number of grams of protein per serving. Instead, focus on meeting your daily protein needs through a combination of whole foods and supplements.
Now, go hit the gym, crush your workouts, and fuel your body with the protein it needs to thrive!