Protein and Fat Loss

My mind has not changed regarding how much protein is actually needed to build muscle.

But I think there is a real advantage to increasing your protein intake if you are trying to lose fat.  Jason Ferruggia stated it this way in The Renegade Diet:

“In my opinion the bigger benefit of protein is that you can over eat it and also eat it more frequently than carbs with less likelihood of becoming fat.”

I think this is spot-on: increasing your lean protein intake is going to leave you feeling much more satiated since it digests more slowly than carbohydrates.  That’s why most good diets encourage you to build every meal around some form of high quality protein source (like chicken or fish).

We shouldn’t demonize carbohydrates and fats.  But most people eat way too many refined carbs and unhealthy fats.  We even take in extra sugar in the form of sweet drinks, further complicating things.

To summarize, one simple way to get your diet going in the right direction is to increase your lean protein intake.  You’ll have less “room” for the stuff that makes you fat.

Update (November 15, 2013):

I ran across another publication since I first wrote this post.  Researchers analyzed 13 studies of athletes who lifted weights on a negative calorie balance.  Those who consumed higher protein diets tended to keep more of their muscle mass.  Their conclusion: Protein needs for energy-restricted resistance-trained athletes are likely 2.3-3.1g/kg of FFM scaled upwards with severity of caloric restriction and leanness.”1

It seems the lower your calories, the higher your protein intake needs to be.   It will help you comply with your diet and help preserve your hard-earned muscle.

Reference:

1. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013 Oct 2 A Systematic Review of Dietary Protein During Caloric Restriction in Resistance Trained Lean Athletes: A Case for Higher Intakes.

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