4 Proven Benefits of a High Protein Diet

With every new year comes new fad diets promising fast fat loss. These range from low carb, low fat, elimination diets, food timing diets, liquid diets, “clean-eating” diets, and the list goes on. But like I’ve said many times before, the fundamentals of fat loss nutrition remain the same:

1) Caloric deficit – take in less energy than you burn off.

2) Appropriate macronutrient ratios – particularly higher protein and adjust carbs and fats according to calorie goals.

3) Food quality – choose less processed foods, adequate micronutrition and fiber, and consume mostly natural “whole” food.

4) Nutrient timing – consider WHEN you eat, such as meal frequency and timing your carb intake primarily after exercise.

Nutrition pyramid

Check out my blog post on this topic:

=> TOP 5 PRIORITIES OF FAT LOSS NUTRITION

Protien_2.27kg_Tub

The one recommendation that I most often see debated is following a High Protein Diet. There is still a lot of confusion and misinformation about whether eating more protein is good or bad for you, and some misguided recommendations have evolved from poorly conducted or misinterpreted/misunderstood studies suggesting that a high protein diet is “bad for you”.

The mainstream media has been polluting us with anti-protein propaganda recently with claims that simply aren’t supported by sound scientific research. For example, some people bring up research showing that people with kidney dysfunction should restrict protein intake, however a high-protein diet itself has never been shown to ’cause’ kidney damage.

Also, while there are claims that a high-protein diet increases the risk of osteoporosis, research clearly shows that it actually helps prevent osteoporosis. There is enough solid research now available to prove the benefit of consuming more protein, especially if you are trying to lose body fat.

Why is Protein Important?

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Your body uses the amino acids from protein to build muscle, tendon, organ, skin, as well as hormones and enzymes vital to life. You need to consume enough quality protein to get certain Essential Amino Acids that your body needs to survive.

Animal-based sources of protein are the most complete, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, but certain plant-based proteins like rice and pea protein are high-quality sources of protein as well.

4 Benefits of a High Protein Diet

1) Increased Satiety

One of the main challenges people face when they restrict calories to lose fat is HUNGER. When you reduce your calorie intake and exercise more you are likely to feel hungry at times, and these cravings can sabotage your fat loss plans.

Thankfully research shows that consuming more protein decreases appetite through several mechanisms including such as positively affecting your “hunger hormones”. This not only applies to a high-protein diet in general but also to individual meals: research shows that high-protein meals are more filling than high-fat meals, leaving you feeling fuller longer and less likely to overeat.

2) Greater Thermic Effect

When you eat any food it requires some energy expenditure for your body to break down and digest the macronutrients in that food (protein, fat and carbs). That is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). Of all 3 macros, protein has the highest thermic effect, which means the more protein you consume the more energy you expend. So essentially, a high protein diet helps to elevate your metabolism which can help with fat loss.

3) More Fat Loss with Less Muscle Loss

One potential unwanted side effect of a weight loss diet is the loss of lean tissue along with the fat loss. The goal is to lose fat and not muscle, and research clearly shows that a high-protein diet is better for both losing fat faster and preserving muscle. A high protein diet has been proven to help with sparing muscle tissue while increasing fat loss. Of course resistance training is also recommended.

Sleep

4) Better Quality of Sleep

Research has also shown that for overweight people on a caloric deficit, a high protein diet can help to improve their quality of sleep. This is important as lack of sleep has been associated with increased stress hormone production and weight gain.

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

Now that you understand the benefits of a higher protein diet, you’re probably wondering how much protein you need. I recommend approximately 1 (one) gram of protein per pound of body weight daily (or 1 gram per pound of your “lean” body weight daily if you are very overweight). For example, I weigh 200 lbs and consume about 200 grams of protein per day.

If you are carrying a lot of extra body fat I suggest you get an estimate of your body fat percentage (using a bio-impedance scale or skinfold calipers) and figure out your lean body weight. So if you weigh 200 lbs at 30% body fat:

30% of 200 lbs = 60 lbs

200 lbs total weight -(minus) 60 lbs = 140 lbs

Therefore you would aim for 140 grams of protein per day.

I hope that helps you form a better nutrition plan based on your goals. In the near future I will be posting a more comprehensive article and video explaining how your metabolism works and how to calculate your daily energy (calorie) and macronutrient needs. I also suggest you download my free training resources listed below. I wish you success with your goals!

 

Free Fitness Fat Loss Strength Training Resources

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