The Macro Diaries Part 2: Protein
In this second instalment to The Macro Diaries series I break down all things protein…
As mentioned in my previous post Calories: What are they? Calories are the measure of energy in our food and come in the form of different macronutrients. The first macronutrient we are going to talk about is probably the most important and one of the most misunderstood macronutrients when it comes to dieting, Protein.
This essential nutrient can be found in dairy, meats, fish and supplements and carries out a number of important roles within our bodies:
- Repair and maintenance of body tissue (repair and build muscles)
- Provide energy
- Production of hormones
- Form enzymes
- Transport molecules
- Form antibodies which help fight infection, illness and disease
- Bodies only source of nitrogen
So let’s talk about how protein consumption may have an effect on your physique!
Starting with fat loss
In terms of body composition (how much body fat you have), numerous studies have shown that a high protein diet is an important factor for fat loss. Plain and simple it is the macronutrient that is going to preserve the most muscle mass and keep you fuller for longer! But why is this important??
Muscle retention is important for more than just fat loss but let’s start with going through a few factors that will help you reach your ideal bodyweight/body fat percentage. More muscle typically means you have a higher metabolic rate which means we use up more calories daily and simply as a society we generally consider those with more lean body mass to be in better shape.
Stop you feeling hungry
Speaks for itself, the less hunger you feel the less likely you are to overeat food. Protein has been shown to be the most satiating of all of the macronutrients.
Protein contains the all-important Leucine, which is one of our essential Amino Acids. Leucine kick starts the mTor pathway which is extremely important for muscle growth (for more on that read my article for Myprotein). FYI- Provided you have a diet rich in protein then the use of BCAA supplements are probably pointless and a complete waste of money.
So that’s the why/how protein is important for muscle gain, let’s look at how to apply that to your everyday diet…
A good guideline for the amount of protein you should be consuming per day is around 1g per pound (LB) of bodyweight, so if you take a 180lb male their daily intake of protein will be around 180g per day, the same rule applies to females. This is the principle I follow with the majority of my clients. However, the above recommendation is for somebody trying to add muscle mass and trying to lose body fat. If we need to, we will assess the practicality and success of the diet and make changes if necessary. There is no set rule, but there is a considerable amount of research which suggests optimal consumption falls between 0.8/1.4g per lb of bodyweight, but it’s about finding what’s right for you.
Want to know a little bit more about how I can help you find the right balance for your diet & training? Why not get in contact here for a free consultation to get you on the right track for 2017