Firstly I want to say in regards to the title when I say high protein diet, I don’t mean a diet, this is a LIFESTYLE!
To anyone that has spent most of their life flicking from diet to diet or are you one of those people that feel they have spent their whole life on a diet?
This is because you haven’t found anything that is realistic and sustainable. If you are into your health & fitness, then you should start to understand that to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is where you are burning more calories than you are consuming. This is where people make the mistake of not looking at the importance of calories and food quality.
We have established that to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. We only need to be in a slight calorie deficit so we can sustain that deficit. If you drop your calories too low, it will only be a matter of time before your body wants to give up and you will be reaching for the biscuit tin faster than you can say ‘custard creams’. Also, extremely low calories will put your body in a catabolic state (the body starts to break down muscle tissue) resulting in when you step on the scales, you will lose weight, but this will mostly be muscle and water but hardly any fat.
A way to stop you from losing muscle tissue while being in a calorie deficit is to consume a high protein diet. This will promote your body to hold on to your muscle tissue. When I say high protein, I actually mean the right amount of protein. Whereas at the moment you’re probably not having enough.
A little knowledge of protein. Protein is the raw construction material for body cells, just like bricks are for building. Parts of your body that are made from protein include hair, nails, skin, bones, connective tissue and of course muscle. In fact, it is made up of 15-20% of your bodyweight. There are lots of pros to protein. It will keep all that is listed above healthy and it will also prevent osteoporosis and keep your body super strong, this is along with weight training.
Protein broken down are called amino acids. These are ‘the building blocks of protein’ there are 20 amino acids that are required for growth, I won’t go through all of the names of the different amino acids, but 11 of these can be made by the human body, but 9 of them need to be consumed through your diet.
Main sources of protein can be found in poultry, fish, eggs (mostly in the egg whites), protein powder, but also it can be found in dairy products (cheese, milk and greek yoghurt) beans, nuts, grains and many more.
Protein is the essential macronutrient for building lean muscle and this key for both men & women. So don’t worry ladies, if you start stuffing your face with chicken and drinking protein shakes you won’t grow arms like Arnie, you haven’t got the hormones to do that. But I’m sure you will agree that we all want to look aesthetically in shape and with a high protein diet and a training program of weight training, this is possible.
So how much protein do I need daily? The recommended amount is 1g of protein per pound bodyweight (lbs). If you are currently weight training, then I would recommend 0.7-1g per pound bodyweight. To work that out into calories, protein is 4 calories per gram (for your knowledge carbs is also 4 calories per gram and fats are 9 calories per gram) so just calculate 176 x 4 = 704 calories daily from protein.
Another great thing about protein is that it will help curb your hunger, as it’s harder for the body to break down, keeping you fuller for longer. Whereas low quality processed foods will have you satisfied for the short term but encourage you to go straight back to them. I mean when have you ever had one back of crisps or a couple of biscuits and been satisfied?
Every single meal you have through the day should have a portion of protein in it. If you have 3 meals a day and for example, you have porridge for breakfast, where are you getting the protein from? What I would do is either mix in some protein powder or have a side order of eggs. Then you’re not missing out on that all important protein. If you miss it from a meal then you are going to really struggle to hit your protein target for the day.
I hope from reading this you will understand the importance of protein and this is just barely scratching the surface. But to know that protein is essential for optimum health and an amazing physique. For anyone that has gone to a high protein diet, they will tell you they have never looked back.