Weight Loss 101 – Protein and Its Benefits

Posted by Beni Cook

The ultimate answer to weight loss is eating protein.

Protein is an essential part of any nutritional eating system, without it, the body can’t function to its fullest capacity.

Proteins are made up of amino acids which are tiny little building blocks for the body and are divided up into 3 different types.

Some amino acids are classified as essential for the body but unfortunately, they aren’t able to be produced naturally, so to get these, we need to (ideally) source them from food or through supplementation if food is not a possibility. Some amino acids, called conditional amino acids can be affected by various conditions such as stress, which means we can’t produce as many of these acids as needed due to the negative effects stress has on the body.
Lastly, we come to non-essential amino acids which are types that the body can produce itself.

Each amino acid plays an important role in the body; they assist with muscle repair & growth, digestion, weight loss, energy production & many more functions

Given the role protein plays in the body, it is important to know that not all sources are created equal and contain a higher or more complete amino acid profile.

This means some may contain one or more amino acids making some sources more beneficial to consume, some of which are:

  • Quinoa
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fish
  • Legumes and beans
So what happens when we eat protein?

During digestion, the body takes the proteins and breaks them down into their individual amino acids. Once broken down the amino acids, along with other molecules, are then sent throughout the body to assist in the function that they are designed for.

This means that without the proper amount of protein in your diet, the body is not able to recover and repair as efficiently as it normally would, leaving you to feel sluggish, tired, and not able to function at your best.

Another important reason to get the appropriate amount of protein in your diet is because it increases a hormone called glucagon which helps control body fat. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels get too low in the body which then causes the body to break down stored glycogen turning it into glucose in the body (which is essentially sugar) to try and create an energy source.

So with the correct amounts of protein in your diet, it can help push out fatty acids trapped in the body helping to create a better fuel source while also helping you to reduce body fat levels.

So the question that you’re probably asking is
”How much protein do I actually need?”

This isn’t quite as simple as saying eat x amount and you’ll be healthy, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when calculating protein intake, one of the most important being activity levels.

To make things easier, let’s start at the beginning with base recommendations.

The base recommendation for protein intake is based on one’s weight. It starts at .8 grams per kilo of body mass for an untrained and generally healthy adult.

This amount however is only a recommendation to help an otherwise healthy adult avoid a protein deficit. So if you are more active than the average adult, this amount may not actually be sufficient for you and your body’s requirements.

So how much is recommended if you’re a more active adult?

People who train/exercise regularly may actually need to increase their intake to approximately 1.4 – 2.0g of protein per kilo of body mass. As before with the base recommendation, this is only a rough guide to help you facilitate a protein surplus to help fuel a process called protein synthesis, which is a process of new proteins being created in the body from the amino acids.

Consuming a higher amount of protein isn’t solely used to create protein synthesis, it is also vitally important for many other functions such as:

  • Immune support & function
  • Having a healthy functioning metabolism
  • Appetite satiety
  • Weight management & overall bodily performance

With this in mind, with the above recommendations, there are important things to be mindful of and that is you can’t simply go and eat nothing but protein. There is only so much the body can store for so long, and is something that needs to be replenished on a daily basis to keep you functioning optimally.

This is why it is best to have an experienced professional help plan out your nutritional requirements especially for your weight loss plan to make sure you are not under or over-consuming protein because while not eating enough protein can cause problems in the body, so can eating too much.

As with overeating anything, it can lead to you putting on excess body fat as the food is converted into sugar or fat in the body, the same can be said for protein.
Although this doesn’t happen quite as easily with proteins due to a process called the thermic effect, which is the amount of energy required to digest, break down, absorb and use protein is a lot higher than carbohydrates and or fats.

In fact, a massive 30% of the energy derived from protein goes to digestion and absorption as opposed to only 8% for carbohydrates and 3% for fats which makes protein a clear winner for the weapon of choice to fuel your fat-burning furnace and greatly assist you towards your body composition goals.

So what this means is consuming protein means you will be burning calories throughout the day by helping raise your metabolism and assisting it to function much more efficiently.

Timing when you eat your protein can be just as important as how much you eat as well to achieve your ultimate weight goal.

Research shows that after resistance training, there is an optimal window to consume protein to have the body best utilize it which is up to 48 hours after training. A further important point is that just after resistance training, the body can enter an enhanced rate of protein breakdown which can impact the body negatively if it isn’t supplied sufficient protein to help offset this breakdown period making it even more important to replenish levels within the 48 hours window.

Contact us if you want to make the most out of what you are eating and one of our personal trainers will completely unleash your fat-burning furnace, giving you more energy and helping you to look and feel your best.

Check out our previous recipe blog which is really easy to make and is a great protein source –  https://beyondbest.com.au/ten-ingredient-pan-seared-scallops-with-citrus-ginger-quinoa/

Beni Cook
Beni Cook is the Head Personal Trainer and Founder of Beyond Best. Beni is a health and fitness expert who develops individualised exercise programs that will meet your own short and long-term objectives, while providing information, advice and encouragement that will enable you to lead your healthiest life, every day.

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