Protein Pacing vs Too Much Protein

As a 65 yr old male it is recommended that I consume more protein (50% more) than a younger male. I am told that you should not consume more than 25g (36g if you are a large male) at one time. I am also limiting my intake to 6 hrs per day, 14:00 - 20:00. So my question is: how do I spread out my protein intake so that I satisfy my protein budget of 100g per day, without exceeding 25g at any one time, and fit it in a six hour window? I know simple math would say every 90 minutes consume 25g of protein, but is that enough time for the body to digest 25g of protein before the next load?


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    I don't think there is a right answer to this question. :)

    You're correct in stating that we can only absorb around 25-30 g of protein consumed at one time, which is why I'm a fan of more lenient IF protocols. Essentially, you need to wait for the food that is in your stomach to leave before you add additional food. Depending on meal composition and size, this can typically take anywhere from 1-4 hours. My recommendation would be to include at least 30 g of protein every 2 hours.

    (As an aside, while older adults may have higher protein needs, we don't know exactly how much. However, most non-athletic men would be fine consuming around 90 g per day of protein.)

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    A couple of things: you are correct that the body becomes less efficient at digesting/using protein as we age so it is important to increase the amount of protein you eat.

    I must add though that there is significant disagreement about if protein above 25 to 30 grams is 'absorbed'.

    There are folks that claim yes and some claim no. The idea that the body can only absorb 25 or so grams of protein at a time seems to not take into account that:
    1. The higher the protein intake, the slower the digestion. So if you take in 50 grams it will take longer for your body to digest than if you take in 25 (so it's not wasted, just a longer digestion process).
    2. The body may only be able to use a certain amount of protein at a time for building muscle, but protein is also used for a lot of other things.
    3. Being able to only use 25 grams of protein makes no sense biologically. The human body was not built to eat a half dozen times a day. Hundreds/thousands of years ago when we were more hunter/gatherers. A person might not eat until later in the day (no refrigerator to get food) while they where physically active hunting or finding food. If they did get an animal they would like have really big meals which means lots of protein. The body is smart and knows how to deal with large loads of protein at one time. Now I'm talking about meat/real protein.

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