Here is some info I found on a site:
From: TER (workout.vegsource.com)
Subject: Re: May I have some help on protein needs?
Date: December 17, 2002 at 1:30 pm PST
In Reply to: May I have some help on protein needs? posted by SuzNYC on December 13, 2002 at 4:43 pm:
Here's some great feedback from Dr. Ellington Darden, PhD, who has his doctorate in biochemistry:
How Much Protein?
Dr. Darden, in the last Classic X you mentioned that ingesting 300 grams of protein may be injurious to your kidneys. What about a man of 170 pounds who lifts weights? Is 170 to 200 grams is too much, let alone say from 200 to 220 grams of protein? Just how much protein does a man or woman need to build muscle?
You need a lot less than most bodybuilders believe. My research shows that the U.S Department of Agriculture's recommendation for protein is on target. They recommend 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Thus, at 170 pounds, or 77.3 kilograms, you would require 61.84 grams of protein a day (77.3 x .8 = 61.84).
But wait a minute, you must be saying, I want to build muscle. How much more do I need?
To answer this question, you have to go back to the USDA's original research and determine how they did their calculations. First, they established a minimum need for a reference person who weighed 70 kilograms. Then, they subjected this data to the bell-shaped curve and appropriate plus or minus standard deviations.
The minimum protein requirement for the reference person was 23.8 grams daily. This meant that 50 percent of the population would have their needs satisfied by 23.8 grams or less of protein per day. And 98 percent of the population would have their protein needs met by 30.8 grams of protein a day.
Since most people do not consume ideal compositions of protein foods at each meal, the USDA added another 30 percent increment to the figure. The protein requirement per day rose to 40 grams per day, or 0.57 grams per kilogram of body weight.
And finally, just to sure that there was no question about the rationale, the figure was boosted from 0.57 per kilogram of body weight to 0.8. According to standard deviations, the 0.8 figure was twice as much as 98 percent of the population actually needed. The requirements of athletes and fitness-minded people were also considered in determining the guide number.
So, Charlie, even if you are a high-intensity bodybuilder, it's highly unlikely that at a body weight of 170 pounds (77.3 kilograms), you would require more than 61.84 grams of protein per day. Remember, the 0.8-gram figure is not the minimum amount, it's double minimum. Even if you fall at the upper end of the 98-percentile range, all you would have to do is consume a little bit more protein (not massive amounts) — which you probably already do. Nutritional studies reveal that men in the United States average more than 100 grams of protein a day.
Also, you should understand that only 22 percent of muscle is actually protein. Most of muscle is composed of water. It takes only a small amount of extra protein to produce a pound of muscle, particularly since so little muscular growth takes place within a week. Your 61.84 grams of protein a day guideline will be more than enough for you to build several pounds of muscle per week.
I know that for more than 40 years, almost everyone interested in bodybuilding has been brainwashed — primarily by the manufacturers of protein supplements — to believe that people who want to build muscle require massive amounts of protein each day. Even a few scientists somewhat and reluctantly agree. But the vast majority of nutritional research shows that massive amounts of protein are not necessary or desirable to build large muscles.
The late Mike Mentzer, the only bodybuilder to score a perfect 300 in the Mr. Universe competitive, consumed a very high carb diet...60/20/20 in comparison to his peers who believed in 1 - 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Even Cory Everson, multi-Ms. Olympia title winner notes in three of her books that she finally settled on a dietary ratio of 60/20/20 because higher-protein diets were too muscle-wasting. While her web-site is now accessible only by credit card, her books can be found at Barnes & Noble.
And as Mr. Mentzer once wrote:
"Most bodybuilders fail to recognize that muscle magazines are not science journals, but rather commercial catalogues whose primary reason for existence is to sell nutritional supplements and exercise equipment. (One simply can't be too careful in this time of philosophical default. Even science journals have become suspect recently, as the proliferation of cases involving fraudulent research data at the highest levels indicates.) While these publications do contain factually-based, well-reasoned articles, these are rarities so at odds with the reams of contradictory misinformation that they are rendered valueless to those with atrophied critical faculties and often overlooked by the more intelligent readers."
Also, is your buddy a six-day per week weight trainer and does she do a lot of aerobics? If so, then that only adds to the problem. Training more than four days/week is wayyyyy too much because your muscles never really have the chance to fully recover/heal. For example, if you train chest on Monday and back on Tuesday, you're working chest, arms, back and shoulders both days. Because there is so much interaction between muscle groups/bodyparts, it is impossible to truly isolate one muscle from the other. Ask any kineseologist about the idea of muscle isolation and you'll get a pretty good chuckle out of them...being a nurse, you probably understood this already.
I can offer this: if your friend were to adopt a more sane (SAFE) diet, reduce training to three days a week using strict, high intensity methodologies and use gentle aerobics techniques such as easy walking, etc., she could easily put on up to 15lbs of pure muscle in a year without spending lots of $$$$ on protein supplements, etc. I did it in the past with clients and enjoyed the same success myself...