Last time I wrote about Tracking What Counts. For Step #3 of the Simple Fat Loss series will completely change the way you eat and your performance in the gym. You will naturally eat less, stay full longer, and lose fat.
This step is to Eat More Protein.
Most adults do not eat enough protein because our diets are mainly processed, package foods and lots of carbs.
The WHO Recommended Daily Allowance for this essential macronutrient is 0.8g/lb. So if you weigh 125lb that would mean 100g of protein day. For some who have never thought about how much protein they are eating 100g is around a pound of chicken breast a day.
If you don’t eat protein with every meal trying to meet your RDA protein requirements is going to be big change.
This requirement is the minimal amount of protein to sustain your bodily functions. This recommendation is for someone who is healthy with normal kidney function. If you are restricting fluid intake, on a low calcium intake diet, or have impaired kidney function definitely check with your doctor first before increasing your protein intake.
If you strength train or are actively playing sports your protein requirements would naturally go up.
For someone like myself who strength trains and workouts anywhere between 4-5 times a week my protein intake increases to 1.0g/lb. This means I should be eating about 128g of protein a day.
At one point in my life I was eating 175g of protein a day because of my fat loss diet. This meant there was no room in my stomach for other types of snacks and sweets because I was so full!
Increasing your protein intake has two main benefits,
- Keeping you full longer. Here’s why: the thermogenic effect of protein means about 30% of the protein you eat is used up in digestion, absorption and disposal of the nutrients.
Of all the macronutrients (carb, fat, protein), protein has the highest thermogeneic effect. It takes the most energy to digest completely and as a result it takes much longer to breakdown increasing your satiety. This also means if you’re on a calorie deficit increasing the amount of protein you’re eating will not make you feel deprived of food or hungry because you are satisfied.
- Muscle building. If you’re looking to tone up and get more in shape then your goal is to build muscle and muscles require protein. When you eat protein your body breaks down the protein into building blocks known as amino acids to build its own protein. Some examples of your body’s own protein are tissues, hair, nails, and DNA. If you eat too little protein then the body becomes deficient in amino acids and when you’re strength training muscle growth can become impaired delaying your goals.
Well so what are the different types of protein besides chicken breasts? Somehow when I think of protein that is the first type that pops into my head but the last type of protein I want to eat. Ack!
There is a HUGE range of different types of protein you can eat aside from chicken breasts including beef, eggs, turkey, fish, and pork.
I know I've said this once but when you go out to buy your meats always do your best to buy and eat organic, grass fed versions when available. Buy the best quality you can afford, it’s better for you, the animal, and the planet.
Here are some other ways to help you incorporate more protein into your diet,
- Prioritize protein. When you’re thinking of your next meal always think protein first. Think about your choice of protein then plan the rest of your meal around it.
- Eat about 25-30g of protein per meal. This is equal to about 4 oz of protein or about the size of a deck of cards. This amount of protein will trigger an appetite satisfaction signal to your brain keeping you satiated for longer.
- Look for protein in your snacks and make substitutions. Love yogurt? Look for alternatives such as Greek and Icelandic yogurt which always has more protein than the regular yogurt at about 15g/serving. Instead of the standard granola bar look for protein bars or try beef jerky as as snack.
It's a challenge to incorporate more protein in your diet especially in a carb driven society but the benefits are enormous. I hope these suggestions will help you eat more protein.