Want to Get Lean? Eat Your Protein!
Protein is a calorie sizzler, an immunity booster and the holy grail of a healthy, strong body. But you need to know how much to eat, and when, to get the benefits: Too much or too little of the stuff can jeopardize your well-being. Learn how this wonder nutrient can help you burn more calories!
Proteins are macromolecules made up of 20 different amino acids, compounds that help control hunger and build muscle, skin and more. Eleven of the acids are nonessential, meaning our body produces them, so we don't need to get them from food. The other nine are essential—we can't make them and must replenish our supply from one of two camps:
- Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids and include animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) as well as soybeans and quinoa.
- Incomplete proteins, as the name suggests, fall short. "Nuts, seeds and grains are all missing or low in the same essential amino acids," says Diane McKay, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University. "Legumes, fruit and veggies all lack other essential amino acids." Combine one food from each incomplete group and, voilà, full package. In an ideal world, you'd have complete protein at every meal to ensure all nine essential amino acids are there when you need them. But that's not always possible or even necessary. A quick rule of thumb: If you have only incomplete proteins at one meal, have complete ones the next time you eat.
Protein has what is called a high thermic effect of food. As a result your body requires and demands more calories to be used in digesting protein than it does for carbohydrates and fat. Protein requires almost 4 times the amount of calories for digestion as does carbohydrates or fat. This means that if you eat 100 calories worth of protein it will cost your body almost 27 calories to digest and utilize for a net calorie consumption of roughly 75 calories. Carbohydrates and fat only require 4-7 calories to digest 100 calories of carbs or fat. This is another way to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day
How Much protein do you NEED?
Many nutritionists advise eating .08 g to 1.2 g of protein daily for every 1 pound of body weight, Your body does not store protein, so you must take in protein each day so the body can use it. Because protein is not stored, it is up to your body, particularly the kidneys, to process proteins and their waste product, known as creatinine, and use what it can, then eliminate the rest. This means you can only use so much protein at a time. If you engage in excess supplementation, your efforts in increasing protein intake could be for naught as the excess unused protein then goes to waste and turns into body fat. No magic number exists for how much protein your body can absorb, If you are looking for a potential rule of thumb, the 30 g rule might work. It says that at any given meal, you can absorb about 30 g of protein
I suggest divvying up protein throughout the day. Make it a point to get protein in at each meal and snacks so that it can properly be utilized by your body.
(*NOTE* In the case of people of are VERY overweight, your ideal protein intake will be overestimated if you use your current body weight due to the excessive amount of fat on your body. So, for true obese individuals, your target body weight should be used instead. For example, a 300lb man looking to get down to 200lbs would use 200lbs as their weight when calculating how much protein they should eat per day.)
(*NOTE* Although it is uncommon, frequent intake of excess protein can lead to conditions such as kidney disease. If you have a condition that affects your liver or kidney function, your physician might likely recommend limiting your protein intake because your body cannot filter as much protein per meal.)
Protein For Muscle Recovery
Proteins contribute to recovery by repairing and growing muscles after exercise. Your needs may vary depending on the type of exercise you perform. Drinking a protein shake after every workout speeds muscle recovery and supplies your body with the amino acids needed for muscle growth.
What I think of Protein
I seriously use to think that protein would BULK me up, but once I started following the one gram per pound my weight began to DROP! I honestly consider that to be one of the BIGGEST factors in my weight loss! Go home today and start calculating how much protein you are getting! If your working a program and not seeing the results you might want to bump up your protein and see how it effects your results!
Sources: Livestrong.com & Self.com