Protein & weight loss
Are you getting enough protein?
Protein is an essential part of our diet. It maintains and builds muscle mass, which in turn boosts our metabolism so we can efficiently burn calories continually. There are 20 amino acids that we require daily, which fall under 2 categories – essential and non-essential. There are complete proteins and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids. You can find complete proteins in meats and fish, milk and eggs. Incomplete proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids and can be found in nuts, beans and whole grains.
Protein helps build the blood, renew skin, hair, nails and cartilage. It increases your energy, fights off illness and disease, keeps immune system functioning properly and reduces the risk of anemia, hypotension, circulation and healing problems. Our bodies do not store protein so it is very important to get your daily requirements in.
The current recommendation for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a women (or man) weighing in at 170 pounds (170/2.2=77kg), should be getting roughly 61.6 grams of protein a day (77kgx 0.8g = 61.6 grams).
The recommended ranges are there to maintain the lean mass you currently have on your body. Now, most people who want to lose fat tend to up the protein (1.0 to 105g/kg/BW) in order to maintain fat loss and preserve their lean mass.
This is just smart! The more protein you have, the greater availability of amino acids you should have to build and repair lean muscle tissue. Result = more muscle = higher metabolism = more fat loss!
Now, a new study shows that the higher your protein intake – TWO to THREE times the recommended levels – may result in greater fat loss and more muscle mass development. The authors administered a diet that fell in the recommended ranges for protein (0.8), two times higher (1.6g), or three times higher (2.4g) for 31 days. Then, they had a 10 day weight maintenance period, followed by a 21 day, 40 percent energy deficient diet.
For example: If you are 175lbs /2.2 = 79.55 kg, protein intake at 1.6 times = 127 g of protein/day. At 2.4 times = 190 g of protein/day.
The study showed that subjects consuming TWO to THREE times the protein had lower loss of fat-free mass and greater loss of fat mass compared to the normal recommendations. And for those consuming the recommended protein levels, they showed a decrease in anabolic muscle response during the energy deficient period and weight maintenance period compared to the other groups.
They concluded: In summary, we determined that consuming dietary protein at levels exceeding the RDA may protect fat-free mass during short-term weight loss.
More Protein = More Fat Loss
Most people are looking to lose weight – or more importantly – fat. And this could lead into caloric restriction and not eating enough of certain foods. Some understand that protein is a much-needed nutrient for fat loss and maintaining lean mass stores. That’s why they follow the normal recommendations of 0.8g/kg/BW for better fat loss and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
Now, however, a new study shows that protein levels TWO to THREE times the recommended levels could lead to better fat loss and better muscle development during common weight loss diets. If you’re looking to boost your fat loss, keep your muscle mass, and improve your body composition, then increasing your protein intake may be vital to your overall success.
Pasiako SM, Cao JJ, Margolis LM, Suater ER, Whigham LD, McClung JP, Rood JC, Carbone JW, Combs GF, Young AJ. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. The FASEB Journal. 2013;27(9):3837-3847.