The right amount of protein is ‘important’ if you want to lose weight
Rapid weight loss 'becoming much more accepted' says Mosley
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It’s common knowledge that protein is considered the “holy grail” of weight loss as it’s “crucial” to sustain it. But what there is confusion about is how much protein people really need in their diets.
Some may think overeating will boost their weight loss further but overeating anything will lead to weight gain if done excessively.
Sport nutrition experts at Bulk reveal that while protein is important to achieving strength and physique goals, more isn’t always better.
They said: “If you train for strength or sports performance, protein has to be a key part of your diet.
“In fact, it should be a focus for everyone even if they never set foot in a gym.”
Protein is an important macronutrient for building muscle tissue, getting stronger, and supporting recovery.
“It will even help you hang on to more lean tissue as you get older – important stuff when you consider that we naturally lose about five percent of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35,” the experts explained.
“Protein accounts for around 15 percent of your body and provides the building blocks for enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones as well as tissue like muscles, tendons, internal organs, and your skin.”
Due to different protein food sources containing various amounts of amino acids, Bulk’s nutritionists revealed: “It’s important to eat a variety of protein foods even if your diet is limited.”
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How much protein do people need?
While it was often considered better to eat more and more protein per day, experts now state that a more moderate approach is “optimal”.
“After all, protein contains calories just like any food (four calories per gram),” Bulk’s nutritionists said.
“So eating endless amounts of protein either means you’ll be over-consuming total calories, or you’ll need to cut calories from fats and carbs to compensate.”
And to reach whatever goals a person may have – whether be weight loss or toning up and growing muscle – a balanced diet is “crucial”.
Calculate individual protein intake
Bulk’s experts acknowledged there is a lot of debate in the fitness industry over people’s protein intakes, with guidelines ranging from 0.8g per kg body weight up to 3g per kg bodyweight.
As an example, for an 80kg man that’s the difference between 64g protein per day and 240g.
Most protein calculators take into account age, gender, and activity levels and the generally accepted figure is 2.2g per kg bodyweight.
So for an 80g person, it works out to 176g protein per day, which is 704 calories from protein.
The nutritionists said: “Once you’ve assessed your protein intake and subtracted the caloric amount from your daily calorie goal, you can divide the remaining calories out between carbs and fats.
“Remember that carbs are four calories per gram, and fats are nine calories per gram.
“If you need to reduce your calories to lose weight or cut body fat, never drop your protein amount too low.
“In fact, protein intake is arguably even more important when you are on a cutting diet, as your body will fight to hang on to muscle mass as you diet down.”
Does protein quality matter?
Eating a variety of different proteins is almost as important as making sure people are eating enough, say the experts.
Ideally, they suggested people’s diets will have a full range of amino acids.
“The best way to achieve this is to eat a wide range of real food sources, including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, plus protein powder,” they said.
“Whey protein has the best amino acid content of all protein powders and contains all the essential amino acids (EAAs) – which your body can’t make by itself.”
They added some advice, saying: “Try to eat as varied a diet as possible, don’t get stuck in a food rut, and eat real food with protein shakes for convenience.”
They suggested including a range of the following foods for a healthy, balanced diet that’s hitting all the right spots:
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