Everyone who’s ever walked past a gym will have been preached at to eat more protein, or drink a protein shake, but here’s why the people who advocate high protein diets are actually right…
“Protein” comes from the Greek word meaning “a first” – hence it’s priority as the most important macronutrient (ahead of carbs and fats) to get right.
The biggest problem I see? 9/10 under consume protein, and some drastically so.
Carbs for breakfast, carbs for lunch and only a serving of protein (usually through meat) in the evening. This is often the norm.
I always stress to clients that every meal should have protein included. We also set a minimum target for the day.
But why? 4 main reasons;
Repair and growth – your demand for protein is greater if you are exercising. The recommendations found on the internet just aren’t enough. If you’re in a calorie deficit (losing body fat) then protein needs to be high to stop your body breaking down muscle tissue. Wanting to build muscle? Same applies here.
Satiety – protein keeps you fuller.
Increased Metabolism – The increased thermic effect (TEF) from eating protein means it costs more calories to break down and digest the protein.
Other – every component of the body needs it, from your cells, your bones, cartilage, hair, skin and your blood. It’s not just for building muscle!
How much should I have?
Your calorie intake, training intensity/volume, your gender, your carbohydrate intake and your muscle mass all play a part in distinguishing your protein goal for the day.
Aiming for 20-25g per meal is always a good place to start.
(Myth busting: “doesn’t eating loads of protein cause kidney problems?”. No, it doesn’t. There’s never been any evidence for this.)
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