The amount of protein that you can absorb is basically unlimited. If a large amount of protein is consumed, the body actually slows down the passing of this protein through your digestive system so that it can be absorbed. So all protein (95% in research) that you eat gets absorbed, regardless of the quantity. The more important questions to be asking are: can all protein be utilized by the body? and is there a point at which someone can eat so much protein that it becomes useless or harmful?
First, what is protein used for?
I will use the full word count of this post if I try to list all the the uses. Everyone associates protein with muscle growth & repair, but it's needed for so much more than that. Did you know a lot of protein is used by the gut itself? Protein is digested; broken down into amino acids in the gut. The gut actually absorbs many amino acids and uses them to function, and the remainder get passed into the body for other uses. Eg. for your cells, enzymes, tendons, bones, blood, brain function… as well as muscle, but don’t forget your heart is a muscle, you have muscles for breathing… muscle does not just mean your biceps. The different amino acids we get from protein are vital for many important functions
How much protein can be used by the body?
No study has found an upper limit, so far studies have found that all protein eaten will get used. If it does not get used for all the processes protein is involved in then excess amino acids get broken down and turned into energy.. No protein is wasted.
Studies have shown up to 50g of protein consumed in a meal gets utilized by the body. Studies looking at intermittent fasters have shown that all protein gets used even when large amounts (100g+) get consumed over a short space of time
There IS an upper limit for triggering the muscle building process, but protein is needed for so much more than this that it is not a ‘cap’ to be put on meals
From a health perspective, there has been studies done on people eating ridiculously high doses (more than realistically possible for most people) which have shown no bad health effects
What's the most protein you've eaten in one meal? Let me know 💪