How Much Protein Should I Eat for Fat Loss?

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Let’s talk PROTEIN!

If you’ve worked with me in the past, you’ve probably caught on that I am regularly encouraging you to make protein a priority in your daily routine.

If you’ve ever wondered WHY it’s so important, today’s blog post is for you!

Read on to get all the details about why this powerful macronutrient can be such a game changer in your weight loss/fat loss strategy…

We will touch on…

  • What Protein is Exactly
  • Benefits of Protein During Fat Loss
  • The Protein, Muscle, and Fat Loss Connection
  • Who Should Eat More Protein
  • Equations to help you crunch the numbers to find out the optimal grams/counts of protein for YOU and YOUR fat loss journey

Let’s get to it!

So, What is Protein Anyway?

Protein is one of the three powerful macronutrients, with carbohydrates and fats rounding out the “macronutrient family.”  Macronutrients or “macros,” a buzz word I am sure you are hearing a lot about these days, are the nutritive components of food that the body needs for energy and to maintain its structure and systems.

Proteins are large molecules made of amino acids that help build and repair muscle and are essential for the body to function properly. Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle, hair, enzymes, antibodies, and collagen in the body. 

HIGH PROTEIN FOODS INCLUDE: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Dairy (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese), Tofu, Legumes, and Protein Powders/Bars

What are the Benefits of Protein During Fat Loss?

Getting enough protein in your diet is so important in helping you optimize your weight loss and body composition goals.

Here are just a few reasons why consuming enough protein will aid your efforts…

  • Increases satiety and satisfaction after meals, aiding with hunger and cravings and blood sugar stabilization
  • Burns more calories to digest than the other macronutrients
  • Promotes muscle preservation and growth which results in more lean mass that burns more calories at rest
  • Help you preserve muscle while losing fat, allowing you to feel more fit and get stronger in the gym
  • Improves mood and cognition
  • Improves heart function
THE PROTEIN, MUSCLE, AND FAT LOSS CONNECTION     

Protein and muscle building/maintenance are intimately connected. When you don’t eat enough protein, muscle will be broken down. When you do eat enough protein, it can be utilized as a building block to build more muscle; with exercise and eating protein in combination turning on a pathway for muscle synthesis or building.  

When the weight you lose is lost as fat rather than muscle, not only will it help you achieve the tone and shape that you might be looking for. More muscle mass is also associated with better health outcomes, strength and mobility, and increased calorie burn at rest!  

Resting muscle also burns 6 calories more per pound than fat!  That means that if you gain 10 lbs of muscle you could burn up to 60 more calories a day doing nothing else!  

Who Should Eat More Protein?

When it comes to protein intake, most people will benefit from hitting their optimal protein range. However, it is even more crucial for individuals who are dieting, are older, following a vegan lifestyle, and are very active to get more protein in their diet.*

  • Dieters need more protein because proteins are harvested from muscle in a calorie deficit so optimal protein will help them preserve muscle while losing fat.
  • Older Individuals are less sensitive at absorbing certain amino acids so need to make sure they are eating ample protein to be able to absorb enough to meet their targets.
  • Vegan protein sources are often made up of incomplete proteins (which don’t have all the amino acids like meat or eggs) and thus need to eat a larger amount of protein to fulfill their needs of all the essential amino acids. 
  • Weight lifters especially need protein to repair and remodel muscle as well as need ample material to build muscle.
  • Endurance athletes also need protein to repair muscle damage.

*One exception to this group of individuals who would benefit from more protein are individuals with kidney issues. Please consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about your medical history and your diet.

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

To find the optimal daily range of protein for you, you can use the equations and charts….

First, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to find your weight in kg.

Weight (lbs) ________ /2.2 =  ________ Weight (kg)

Next choose the category that best fits you and multiply that number by kg….

Suggested Protein Intakes by Goals + Activity Levels (Chart Source: Precision Nutrition)

Protein Levels Based on Activity and Body CompositionProtein Grams Per Kg of Body Weight Recommended
Low – Prevent Malnutrition<0.8
Adequate – Sedentary Lifestyle0.8-1.2*
Adequate – Active but Overweight/Obese1.2-1.6
Adequate – Active with Healthy Weight/Body Composition1.6-2.2
High – Healthy and looking to Change Body Composition1.6-3.3

*Growing evidence suggests that 1.2 g/kg might be a more appropriate minimum, particularly for older adults

Weight (kg) _________ x  Rec Grams per Kg (chart) ___________ = ________________ Your Daily Protein Goal

Daily Protein Goal ____________ / 10 = ___________ Your CBJ Program Protein Goal (10 g protein = 1 count)

Bonus Tip! While your overall focus should be on hitting overall protein target for the day, consuming around 20-30 grams in one sitting several times a day will help you take advantage of the maximal benefits of muscle protein synthesis. 

I hope this post helps you on your fat loss journey!

Please feel free to email me at jen@coachingbyjennifer.com if you have any questions or schedule a complimentary consultation with me to discuss your goals and see if 1:1 health coaching might be a good fit for you! Schedule a Consultation Here

xx jen

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