PROTEIN IS IMPORTANT FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain. Getting enough protein is also essential for optimal health. Protein is used to build and repair tissue, to balance fluids and to transport nutrients. It is also essential for immunity, and can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes.
PROTEIN IS IMPORTANT FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN
If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, strength training and protein are your two best friends. The type and amount of strength training you do will effect your results. By the same token, the type and amount of protein you eat will also determine your level of success. Protein helps us build and maintain lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat, even when we’re sleeping.
Eating lots of protein helps us look our best, perform better and maintain our muscle mass. Preventing the muscle loss that comes with aging improves our quality of life and independence. A high-protein diet along with strength training keeps your metabolism high so you can lose weight and body fat.
PROTEIN CURBS HUNGER
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain. When we eat enough protein, we don’t feel hungry all the time, which makes it easier to lose weight. Protein raises the hormones which make us feel full and decreases the ones which make us feel hungry. Protein takes longer to digest than fat or carbohydrates. In some cases, increasing protein can reduce our calories even if we make no other changes. Including plenty of protein in every meal can help us cut cravings and reduce snacking. Giving in to cravings and snacking are two of the most common obstacles to weight loss.
In one study, people who ate a lot of protein ate 400 calories less a day than those who ate less of it.
PROTEIN BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM
Protein increases your metabolic rate by about 30%, while carbs increase it by 10% and fats only 3%. Eating a high-protein diet can help you burn more calories.
Protein requires more calories to digest than carbohydrates or fats. Up to 30 percent of protein calories are burned in digestion. So if you eat 100 calories of a lean protein, only 70 of those calories will remain.
PROTEIN BUILDS MUSCLE
Protein is an effective tool for building muscle and losing weight. Consuming 30 grams of protein per meal increases your body’s ability to build muscle by 50%. The more muscle we have the more calories we burn even while at rest. Eating more than 30 grams at once does not increase the benefit and adds unnecessary calories.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I EAT?
How much protein you should eat depends on your age, activity level, muscle mass, goals and health.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 10 to 35% of your diet should come from protein. This recommendation is for both men and women. If you eat 2000 calories a day, 200-700 of those calories, or 50-175 grams, should come from protein. It is best to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.
DO I NEED MORE OR LESS THAN MOST?
Athletes, older adults and pregnant women need more protein than the average person.
If you do heavy weight lifting or are training for an endurance event, you need more protein. Lean body mass requires more protein to maintain than fatty tissue.
People 50 years or more need more protein to help preserve their muscle mass. Strength training is also hugely beneficial.
Yet people with liver or kidney disease should only derive 10% of their calories from protein.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I EAT TOO LITTLE?
Not eating enough protein negatively affects your body composition and optimal health. Ultimately, the benefits of your hard training will be reduced if you don’t eat enough protein. In the worst of cases, lack of protein will force your body to break down muscle mass.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I EAT TOO MUCH?
It’s fine to eat a little extra protein as long as you are not consuming more calories than you need. If you eat more protein, you should drink more water since more water is needed to digest it. But keep in mind that if you eat more protein than your body can use for energy, it will be stored as fat.
2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is considered too much. Eating more than 40 grams of protein at a time is not more beneficial and adds unnecessary calories. Having some protein with every snack and meal is a good way to make sure you get the right amount daily.
GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN
Cottage cheese (1 cup) 28 grams
Chicken breast (3 ounces) 26 grams
Turkey breast (3 ounces) 26 grams
Seitan (meat alternative, 100 grams) 25 grams
Lean sirloin steak (3 ounces) 25 grams
Tofu, tempeh and edamame (soybean based, 100 grams) 10-19 grams
Greek yogurt (6 ounces) 17 grams
Chickpeas, kidney, black, pinto and most beans (1 cup cooked) 15 grams
Quinoa (1 cooked cup) 9 grams
Peas (1 cooked cup) 9 grams
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce) 9 grams
Ezekiel bread (2 slices) 8 grams
Nut butters (1 ounce) 7 grams
Chia seeds (35 grams) 6 grams
Almonds, pistachios, cashews 6 grams
Spinach, asparagus, sweet potatoes (1 cup) 5 grams
Blackberries, bananas, nectarine (1 cup) 4 grams
All fruits and vegetables contain some protein
The size of your palm, or a deck of cards, is a good way to gauge an adequate size of beef, chicken, fish, tofu or turkey (3 to 5 ounces).
One serving of cheese protein (1.5 ounces) is equal to the size of two dice.
12 walnuts is a serving of protein as is one egg. Egg whites are almost pure protein.
DO I DITCH THE CARBS AND FATS?
While protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain, we were not meant to eat protein alone. Our bodies work best when we balance carbohydrates, fats and protein. Each macronutrient plays an important role in our optimal health and function. A healthy balanced meal contains protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Micronutrients are also important.
OPTIMIZING PROTEIN INTAKE FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN
When shopping for beef look for “loin” or “round”, or lean ground beef
Bison, chicken, pork and turkey are good alternatives
Grill, broil, bake or roast your meats
Opt for low fat or skim dairy products
Lentils, garbanzos, edamame, peas, seitan and tofu are good vegetarian sources
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
One whole egg and two egg whites with spinach will provide you with 15 grams of protein.
A 3-ounce chicken breast, ½ cup of rice and ½ cup of vegetables have approximately 25 grams of protein.
A hardboiled egg, Greek yogurt and a banana have about 19 grams of protein.
You can customize a protein-rich smoothie. Protein powder, fruits, vegetables, nut butter, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds. All good choices. The Heath Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can demystify protein supplements. A variety of top-quality supplements can be purchased at the studio or online.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain. If you are struggling to lose weight or gain muscle, eating more protein may help. Studies show that high-protein diets promote significant weight loss. They can also reduce the most harmful belly fat, and help you maintain your weight loss. Protein reduces your calories in and boosts your calories out. It reduces cravings and makes your body better at burning calories.
The sure-fire way to get leaner and stronger is to eat plenty of protein and strength train.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF PROTEIN AND STRENGTH TRAINING
The Health Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can fine-tune a diet based on your protein needs. They can further fortify your efforts with an unbeatable strength training program.
Acsm.org; newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org; healthline.com; verywellfit.com; health.clevelandclinic.org; medicalnewstoday.com; livescience.com; businessinsider.com; menshealth.com; khn.org