There are so many benefits to protein. You can find a million articles across the web, and that’s why I won’t go into extreme detail, but I’ll give you a few reasons why protein intake is important during fat loss phases:
- Protein builds and maintains muscle.
- Higher TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) Simply put-Digesting protein takes more effort for your body than other macronutrients, therefore you are burning more calories when eating protein.
- Since you will probably experience hunger at some point, protein is the most satisfying from that standpoint to keep you feeling fuller over carbs and fats which when dieting we want to blunt hunger as much as possible.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524030/ (In case you’re wondering where I came up with why protein is important)
There isn’t a magic number of grams of protein that is “ideal.” There really is never anything cut and dry in the fitness and nutrition world (even though that’s what most marketers want you to believe.) The amount of protein you need kind of comes down to a little experimentation and what you prefer, but I do feel that in order to make sure you preserving muscle as well as keeping yourself as full as possible, there is a general standard I usually follow.
The minimum that I usually put people on is .7g/lb of bodyweight, and the maximum I’d put someone on would be 2g/lb of bodyweight. Of course this number is based on individual goals, activity level, athletes, non-athletes, and other various factors. I may use LBM (lean body mass) instead of total body weight depending on the person. Context has to be looked at as well. This is where a good coach comes in. Personally, I myself do about 1-1.2 lb/of body weight. Reason being is I feel this amount of protein keeps me fairly satiated, and I feel less restriction. I also am more compliant with my diet because it allows me to have a fair amount of carbs and fats.
Where should you get your protein?
This is literally one of my biggest pet peeves in this industry. Meaning, I have found time and time again that the average person does not understand what a protein source is or what foods contain protein. When most people think that nuts, peanut butters, and beans are protein sources, the system is flawed in my opinion as well as the reason people can’t make progress. Do those foods I just mentioned contain protein? Yes, however, they are INCOMPLETE sources of protein. Incomplete proteins lack significant amounts of certain essential amino acids. The foods I am referring to are COMPLETE protein sources, which DO contain all essential amino acids. I won’t go into extreme detail, maybe for another time, but when I want a client to get more protein in their diet, or if you yourself are trying to up your protein intake, do it with COMPLETE proteins. Finding out whether a food is high in protein is simply looking and reading your food labels. I will teach this in a later video or article. For now, here is a chart I borrowed from Jordan Syatt at syattfitness.com to illustrate to you some high protein sources which you can start to include in your diet.
I’ve gone through the ropes and am pretty familiar with what works for me and my body the best. This is something you have to kind of trial and error. Typically when dieting and calories are lower, it’s probably a good idea to stay on a fairly high end of the protein intake to preserve muscle as you lose fat. But like I have stated numerous times, it’s all about the individual and context. Don’t forget to be patient. I will tell you that most people tend to take in too low protein. Just a word of advice, I stress to clients to increase their protein intake because as we age, if we are consuming inadequate protein, it can begin to cause inflammatory stress, reduced metabolism and oxygen transport, reduced protein synthesis and muscle wasting. Here’s the study if you’re interested.
Where should you start?
I’m about teaching simplicity and effectiveness so I’ll spare you the confusing details and give it to you straight. Start with a number around .7-1.2g/lb of body weight and go from there. If you are extremely overweight, you may want to take those numbers times your IDEAL body weight. Don’t make things complicated. So, I’ve taught you how to create a calorie deficit for fat loss, gave you an idea of how much protein to intake, and next I’ll be talking about the importance of strength training during fat loss and where to start. (Don’t worry ladies, you won’t get bulky I swear, unless you take steroids…then you probably will.)