At this day in age, I feel like everyone is looking for ANYTHING that could help them burn fat. Over the years there have been so many trends in the fat loss industry that come and go. At one minute they are getting people to take green coffee bean extract, other minute people are taking shots of apple cider vinegar.
Then there were those stomach wraps, ugh remember those? Anyways my point here is that everyone is constantly looking for that magic pill, that quick result, an easy way.
I hate to break it to you but there is no true easy way. Supplements are meant to only enhance your workout and help your body be more efficient at burning fat, but you still have to put the work in. Even diet plans and workout routines that you find aren’t even truly meant to be followed exactly to the tee. They are only meant to be guidelines for you to implement into your current routine.
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With all these supplements and diet plans on the market sometimes we forget about the other things that could help you burn fat.
Whenever you hear protein it seems to be always associated with muscles and getting big but that isn’t the case at all. Protein has other benefits that aren’t only associated with gaining muscle and getting big. Consuming the correct amount of protein a day in your diet can be very beneficial for someone who isn’t looking to gain a lot of muscle mass and their goal is to lose body fat.
Let me explain why protein plays such an important role in your daily health, fitness and workout performance.
Curbs Your Hunger
Protein helps make you feel more full. It’s important to note that it is only curbing your hunger because it makes you feel more full. As many of you know, feeling more full doesn’t always translate into not eating anymore.
I myself have been guilty of sill eating after I am already full just because the food is so good. Protein does not suppress your appetite like some diet pills on the market do.
So my point is, you might feel more full because you have protein in you, but you still have to remember what your goals are for fitness and you still have to maintain a proper diet to a certain extent.
Recently researchers trying to figure out why high-protein diets cause weight loss may have found it by looking at what is left after the protein is digested by the system.
What is Phenylalanine? Phenylalanine is what is left after the protein is digested in your gut. In a recent study, researchers used rodent mice and rats giving them phenylalanine to try to get a better understanding of the process in which high-protein diets cause weight loss.
The research was done primarily in hope that one day it could lead to the development of a drug or diet that could take on the ever-growing obesity epidemic that we are currently faced with today.
In this study researchers from Imperial College London ran numerous test on the rodents giving them a dose of phenylalanine over the course of 7 days, and also ran the same test on the same amount of rodents where they did not give them any phenylalanine. Researchers found that the rodents that had phenylalanine their food intake reduced and the levels of GLP-1 was increased.
Further study showed that the phenylalanine interacted with our receptors that are called the calcium-sensing receptor and that it was the calcium-sensing receptor that was causing the level of GLP-1 in the body, which in turn caused the appetite to be suppressed.
This one study took 19 individual and put them through a sequential diet in which they increased the amount of protein ingested while maintaining the same amount of carbohydrates. They found that during the time when the individuals’ protein was increased it caused them to intake fewer calories overall and the results were significant weight loss. As with any study though this might not translate to you, as everyone has a different body.
Increased Metabolic Effect
Although research on this topic are conflicting and not all researchers agree on exactly how much protein increases your metabolism, research has shown that people who follow a high protein diet tend to help your body burn more calories even during the time that you aren’t working out anymore.
One study even showed that this increase in metabolic effect even lasted during sleep and the change in energy expenditure was coming from places other than muscle or any fat-free mass.
This extra metabolic effect that protein has on your body makes it more beneficial than not taking enough protein with your daily diet.
Another thing that could help maintain your metabolic rate higher is including a strength training routine along with your increase in protein intake.
Protein and strength training play a major factor in reducing muscle loss and maintaining your current muscle mass.
I’m sure you’ve heard that muscle burns more fat, so maintaining your muscle mass in crucial and protein plays an important role in that.
Muscle Recovery and Maintenance
Increasing your protein intake in your diet could help maintain lean body mass during weight loss. When you are losing weight it is important that you are losing body fat and you aren’t just losing precious lean muscle mass.
The protein contains nitrogen, which is released during the protein synthesis process. Therefore, if you consume more protein this stimulates protein synthesis which would then reduce your muscle breakdown.
How that works is that if the rate of protein synthesis is greater then than that of the rate the body is breaking down protein then the body would produce an increase in mass. This is mass overall but that depends on you. If you increase your protein intake too high then you have the chance of also increasing body fat, but that is a topic for another day.
When you do any kind of working out your body protein breakdown increases if no extra protein in consumed the rate of the protein breakdown will be greater than that of protein synthesis. When that happens your body won’t have the nutrients that it needs to maintain your muscle tissue then your body will break down its own muscle tissue to support other parts of the body that needs it.
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
This is ultimately down to how your body is, in healthy young adults less protein is needed to maintain lean body mass, while older adults could benefit from an even more increased level of protein consumption in order to maximize the stimulation effect of protein synthesis.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) suggest for 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That translates to 0.36 grams of protein per pound.
With that in mind, a quick math calculation for someone like myself looks like this
- Weight: 220lb
- Daily Recommendation: 0.36g per 1lb
220lb/0.36g = 79.2g
So my recommended daily protein intake is 79.2g.
It is important to remember that you get protein from all the food you eat throughout the day. So this does not mean I need to drink 79.2 g from a protein shake, this is the total protein I need from all sources whether it is from my food or I added protein from a shake. Protein comes in all kinds of forms from plants, to meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, etc.
The Dietary Reference Intake is a bare minimum recommendation though, if you are trying to gain lean muscle mass some studies show that you need a lot more, roughly double what that recommendation suggests.
Nevertheless, you should always keep in mind that the “correct” amount of protein for yourself as an individual will solely depend on a range of factors that includes but is not limited to activity levels, current muscle mass, what your goal is, age and overall health.
Protein is very important when it comes to losing fat.
Don’t overdo it with the protein though, remember that in order to lose fat we still need to intake fewer calories than you burn daily. So the more calories out than calories in still matters.
The protein will just help you maintain your muscle mass while you are losing fat. It makes sure that your body is actually losing fat and not using its own muscle mass to provide nutrients for the rest of your body.
If you are trying to lose fat and have not added more protein to your diet then it might be something good to look into. Like anything else in the health world results vary from person to person.
Have you done a high protein diet before for fat loss? Did it work for you? Let me know below in the comments!