Nutrition

How Much Protein Do We Really Need?

It’s Friday ūüôā

As you know, last saturday we had our seminar and one of the areas that I looked at was obtaining enough protein in your diet and the optimal amount for burning fat.¬†I’ve mentioned it many times before but it always worth looking at it again as so many of you just aren’t hitting what you need per day yet moan that you can’t burn body fat.¬†It’s really quite a simple equation when it comes to getting lean.

Let’s first look at what the evidence says instead of taking our nutritional advice from the Metro or The Evening Standard.

In a 2007 study,¬†Jose Antonio et al looked at “Protein & Exercise” and the results were published in JISSN (Journal International Society of¬†Sports Nutrition) on the¬†26th September.¬†The results showed that¬†1.4 ‚Äď 2g/kg/d was the optimal amount for exercising individuals.¬†That is 1.4g – 2g of protein, per KG of bodyweight per day.

E.G. A 60kg woman needs up to 120g protein per day. An 80kg man needs up to 160g protein per day

The RDA, recommended daily amount says we only need 0.8g/kg/d which equates to only 48g of protein per day. The RDA’s are set at an amount that we need for basic function, growth and repair.¬†Most of the readers of this newsletter not only want to function well but to perform well, with lots of energy and burn body fat optimally.

The JISSN standpoint suggests that:

“No substantive evidence that protein intakes in the ranges suggested above will have adverse effects in healthy, exercising individuals”

So now we know how much we should eat everyday, let’s look at why and how.

The thermic affect food (TEF)

All foods are thermic to a certain extent. This means that they are digested by the body and produce, heat, energy and increase the metabolic rate. Protein has a thermic affect of about 30%. 30% of the calories are actually used in the process of digestion and metabolising of that food source. In contrast, carbohydrates have a 15% TEF and fat has a measly 2/3% TEF. On top of that, fat contains 9kcal per gram whereas protein and carbohydrate just contain 4kcal per gram which is why with fat, although extremely important for many bodily functions, you need to be careful with the amount in your diet. This is one of the main reasons why protein is so effective in helping you burn body fat.

It will also:

> Provide satiety & appetite suppression

^^You just don’t feel as hungry when protein levels are high

> Help keep you¬†‚ÄúFuller for longer‚ÄĚ

^^ Marks ‘n’ Spencers have it right

> Limit the insulin response.

This one needs more of an explanation.¬†Very briefly, when we eat any food our blood sugar will rise.¬†High GI foods will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and to bring this rise back to normal levels, the pancreas releases insulin.¬†Protein tends to be more gentle on sugar levels. The less sugar in the blood, the less insulin needed to get¬†back to normal levels.¬†Insulin is a fat storage hormone so we generally want to minimise this where we can.¬†On a side note, your body can’t burn fat in the presence of insulin so when someone is on a treadmill or in the gym and they are sipping a carb heavy¬†drink thinking they need energy, they are¬†actually¬†cancelling any effect the workout may have had on their body burning fat.

> Switch on certain neurotransmitters

^^Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers to and from the brain.

Dopamine production is a key factor in motivation, productivity and focus and boosts drive and concentration. Dopamine is made from Tyrosine, an amino acid that we can derive from our food (protein). So eating adequate amounts of protein will not only help you lower your body fat, it will also keep you switched on, motivated and give you drive and focus in everything you do at work, home and in your life.

Win win I’d say ūüôā

Of course, eating protein is not the only way to boost dopamine levels. You can eat almonds, apples, avocado and chocolate and drinking small amounts of good quality coffee too.

Anyway, I digress…

We then looked at the myth of “bulking up”.¬†Eating a high protein diet and/or protein shakes will not make ANYONE bulk up, particularly ladies.¬†If you think that going to the gym for¬†a few weeks¬†will¬†suddenly cause you to grow “bodybuilder like” muscles then please think again. On average, a woman has 20 times less Testosterone in her body than the average man.¬†This means that the hormone¬†largely responsible for muscle growth is far less apparent in a woman’s physiology.¬†It’s quite hard¬†for a man to build muscle quickly which makes it extremely¬†difficult for a woman to do so.¬†Anyone that looks like a bodybuilder is usually exactly that and has¬†spent many hours over many years trying to look like that,¬†usually coupled with¬†extensive¬†use/abuse¬†of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) and/or steroids.

So to recap…

Firstly, don’t be scared of protein.¬†Reasonably high levels have been proven to beneficial and not harmful.¬†It will help you achieve your fat loss goals much faster.¬†It can help keep you motivated,¬†switched on and have a zest for life…and you won’t bulk up like many people think.

Have a great weekend

Gav ūüôā

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