Part of being Bulletproof is self-experimentation. Everyone’s biology is unique, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for living well.
That includes food. Bulletproof offers an excellent free guide to upgrading your diet, and within that framework is plenty of room to personalize and figure out what works best for you. Finding your ideal carb intake is a good example: based on your personal biology, you may do best on 30 grams of carbs a day, or you may perform better on 150 grams.
How much protein you eat is just as flexible. Both the type and amount of protein you eat depend on your lifestyle. Here’s a quick guide to protein: both the best kinds, and how to find your ideal protein intake.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROTEIN FOR YOUR BODY?
First, let’s chat about types of protein.
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, and eight of them are essential – that means your body doesn’t make them, so you have to get them from food.
In general, you want complete proteins, which are proteins with meaningful amounts of all eight essential amino acids. Meat, fish, and eggs are all complete protein sources. The most Bulletproof options are:
- Grass-fed beef and lamb
- Pasture-raised pork
- Wild-caught fish (Alaskan salmon pairs protein with a big dose of omega-3s)
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Grass-fed whey protein
Incomplete proteins from nuts, vegetables, and starches are helpful, but they aren’t enough on their own. Ideally, most of the protein you eat will be complete.
One big exception to the rule is collagen. Collagen is not a complete protein, but it’s especially high in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, the three main amino acids that your body uses to make connective tissue. Collagen provides your body with the building blocks for:
- Smoother, more elastic skin
- Faster wound healing
- More resilient joints and ligaments
If you’re looking for one of those specific benefits, consider adding 10g-30g of hydrolyzed, grass-fed collagen to your daily routine.
You don’t, however, want to use collagen for muscle-building. A complete protein will increase muscle synthesis. For post-workout protein, you’re better off using grass-fed whey or enjoying a grass-fed steak.
To sum up: ideally, you want to get complete protein from animal sources. One exception is collagen, depending on your goals. Now let’s talk about how much protein to eat.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN TO EAT FOR FAT LOSS, MUSCLE GAIN, AND RECOVERY
HOW TO MAINTAIN BODY WEIGHT: 0.4G PROTEIN/LB BODYWEIGHT
A good starting point is 0.4 grams protein for every pound you weigh. A 120-lb. woman, for example, would eat 48 grams of protein a day (120 x 0.4 = 48).
If you’re healthy and sedentary, this should be enough protein for maintenance. In fact, some studies find that 0.4-0.5 g/lb is enough to maintain lean muscle for people who are working out. At this level, you probably won’t gain muscle, but you won’t lose it either. Notice that this is far less protein than many diets recommend.