If there’s one trend we see most commonly among the people who come to us for help, it’s the under-consumption of protein. Protein is interesting, and a macronutrient that is especially important when your focus is fat loss. Let’s get into it:
First, how much protein do you need?
Modern recommendations call for anywhere between .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That being said, .8g per pound of body weight will do but is likely less-than-ideal, whereas 1.2g per pound of body weight doesn’t show much added benefit. So, the sweet spot is likely somewhere around 1g of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re considered obese, it’s 1g of protein per pound of goal body weight.
When your focus is on performance or putting on mass, it makes sense to bring protein down to the lower end in exchange for more carbohydrates and fats. When the focus is fat loss, protein should be on the upper end of the range.
How does protein help fat loss?
Protein is the foundation for muscle tissue, and therefore is incredibly important not only for building muscle but also for maintaining lean muscle mass when focused on fat loss. Because when we lose weight, we want that coming from fat tissue and not muscle.
Also, protein’s TEF (thermic effect of food) is higher than any other macronutrient. In fact, protein has a TEF of 20-30%, carbs at about 5-10%, and fat at about 0-3%. So what does that mean? In essence, the energy required to digest and absorb protein is much higher than that of carbs and fats. So by eating more protein, we increase our energy expenditure (the amount of calories we burn just by being alive).
Last, protein is incredibly satiating for most which makes eating at a deficit to be much more manageable and therefore consistent. In essence, consuming adequate amounts of protein is essential because of its role in improving body composition, eliminating hunger, and reducing body fat.
Tips for Hitting Your Protein Goal
- Front-load your day with protein. If you constantly find yourself way behind on your protein goal by the end of the day, try front-loading by having a high protein breakfast. We love a breakfast that consists of foods like eggs, egg whites, protein pancakes, greek yogurt, chicken sausage, and more.
- Have a source of protein with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As long as none of your three main meals is very low in protein, you should be in a good position to hit your protein goal for the day.
- Have high-protein snacks on hand for when you’re falling short. Examples are bone broth, deli turkey, turkey/beef jerky, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt.
- Supplement when necessary. If hitting your protein goal is difficult, having a protein shake before or after your workout is a great way to close that gap. Protein powders are widely available in supplement stores, online, and in big shops like Whole Foods and Costco.
What Are Good Sources of Protein
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