When to Eat Protein For Better Weight Loss
Does WHEN you eat protein actually matter?
Well, yes … and no.
You should be consuming protein at every meal. About one third of your plate should be filled with protein-rich foods. You should be spreading your calories over 3 major meals and 2 to 3 snacks every day. Make protein a part of each one of those meals, and you can make your weight loss dreams come true.
So in that respect, WHEN you eat protein is not as important as WHAT RATIO of protein you eat at each meal compared to carbohydrates and healthy fats.
But there is a smart way to time your protein intake to boost muscle development. Remember earlier we discussed how your weight loss and calorie burning efforts will improve as you improve the amount of muscle mass you have.
This leads many fitness experts to believe there are certain times you should be eating protein as part of your exercise regimen to boost muscle development, and fat-burning weight loss.
Eat some protein rich foods 20 to 40 minutes before you exercise. After you are through exercising, eat more protein within 30 to 60 minutes. Remember, exercising doesn’t just mean lifting weights or strength training. Any time you enjoy a moderately intense to intense physical activity, that is exercise.
It is also important to note that some wonderful weight loss information has been revealed in the early part of the 21st century as regards protein consumption. Those people which made protein a large part of their breakfast each morning, consumed fewer calories throughout the day than when they did not have protein for breakfast.
So, eat a protein-rich breakfast to improve your weight loss efforts. Add protein to your pre- and post-exercise regimen, and you boost your weight loss even further.
Can Eating Protein Help You Lose Weight?
You know that what you eat plays a large part in how you look and feel. You know that junk food leads to a junk body. Lets look at the other side of the health equation.
Protein is required by your entire body to function properly. If this miracle compound is so important for proper health, can eating protein help you lose weight? Can simply adding more protein-rich foods to your diet, whether or not you exercise, boost your fat burning and weight loss powers?
The short and wonderful answer is … yes.
There is a lot of research out there that points to protein as an overweight and obesity fighter. People who are fit, in shape, and in good health tend to eat more protein than those who are out of shape, overweight or obese, sick and unhealthy.
So the correlation is definitely there.
You probably know that eggs, beans, green peas, all kinds of meat and fish are high in protein. Spinach, kale and some other leafy greens also deliver significant amounts of protein. If those foods don’t appeal to you, you can simply add flavorful protein powder to your favorite meals and beverages to ensure that you are getting enough protein into your diet.
In upcoming blog posts we will reveal exactly how protein works to help you lose weight. You will also find out the signs of a protein-poor diet. You will even learn when you should be eating protein for the best weight loss results, including timing your protein consumption around your exercise.
How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day?
Your personal protein needs are going to vary according to a myriad of factors. The following considerations all determine how much protein you should be eating.
- Activity level
- Muscle Mass
Scientists also believe that there may possibly be some minimal genetic factor which dictates individual protein requirements. However, most international health authorities agree on the following Recommended Daily Allowances for protein (on average).
- Adults – 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 g per pound).
- Children – 0.85 to 1.1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.38 to 0.5 g per pound).
- Elderly – 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 g per pound).
- Athletes, Bodybuilders – 1.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.85 g per pound).
Remember, these are the recommended minimum levels. Use them as guidelines. If you are extremely active, you will need more protein than someone who is sedentary most of the day. Younger children need more protein than older children.
A study published in Clinical Nutrition showed that elderly individuals who consumed 1.5 g of protein each day improved their strength, muscle mass, mobility and ability to perform normal functions.
Concerning weight loss as a fitness goal, you should also consume more than the minimally suggested levels of protein.
So make sure you are eating AT LEAST the protein RDA listed above for your particular situation, and consume more protein if you are active, or seeking weight loss. Eating slightly more protein than your body requires does not present a health problem.
The 2 Ways That Protein Helps You Lose Weight
Weight loss is a factor of a very simple equation – you burn more calories than you consume. That’s it, plain and simple.
That simple fact of nature, as you can see from the equation just mentioned, is based on 2 pieces of input – calories burned, and calories consumed. Protein is so efficient at helping you lose weight because it impacts both sides of that equation.
There are 2 main ways that protein helps you lose weight. Among the other many crucial physical processes that protein is needed for, it is required to build muscle. That is why bodybuilders need to eat a lot more protein than the average person.
As it turns out, the more muscles you have, and the less body fat, the more calories you burn. Simply sitting on your sofa watching television, your body is busy burning calories. If you improve how many muscles you have, and improve their size, you improve your ability to burn calories, whether you are a couch potato or exercising.
So that is the 1st way that protein burns calories and helps you lose weight. It does so because protein is a required element of building muscles.
The 2nd way that protein helps you lose weight is by making you eat less. Baked goods, potato chips, pizza and simple carbohydrates and calories are processed very quickly into your body. This is why you will often times feel hungry shortly after eating junk food or fast food.
Protein is a much more complex compound.
As such, foods that are rich in protein, like meat, eggs, fish and beans, take longer for your body to process. This means that you feel full for a longer period of time. This is why studies show people that eat a lot of protein tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day then their non-protein-consuming counterparts.
So, not only does protein help build muscles which are more efficient at burning calories than non-muscular tissue, protein also makes you feel full longer, see you eat less during the day.
Both of those qualities leads to effective weight loss.
Are You Eating Enough Protein? The 5 Signs of a Protein-Poor Diet
You know that protein plays an important part in every one of your internal systems. When you don’t give your body something that it needs, something goes wrong.
When you eat too much sugar and processed foods, you become overweight or obese.
When you eat a predominantly plant-based diet, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats, you regulate a naturally healthy body weight.
So all you have to do is give your body what it needs.
In terms of protein, how do you know you are getting enough? In the 2nd email in this series, you discovered exactly how much protein you should be eating. But not everyone is going to take the time to weigh their food and figure out exactly how much protein they are getting.
Never fear, help is here.
If you display the following 5 signs, you are probably not eating enough protein.
1 – You are weak when you exercise – Protein repairs your muscles after you work out. If your body doesn’t have enough protein, exercising, running, lifting weights or performing any other strenuous activity can actually be counterproductive, since your body isn’t able to repair itself properly.
2 – You have fat were used to have muscle – This goes back to the whole “protein creates muscle” recipe. When your body does not find enough protein to power all of its internal processes, it steals protein from your muscles. This turns muscle to fat when you don’t eat enough protein.
3 – You are tired when you normally shouldn’t be – When you first wake up in the morning, it is natural to feel groggy and tired. However, if you are frequently tired after no physical exertion, you may need to eat more protein.
4 – You are losing your hair – Stress can cause problems with your hair and skin. As it turns out, a lack of protein can cause skin problems, and can even cause your hair to fall out.
5 – It takes you a long time to recover after injury – Protein is crucial for building new tissue. If you suffer some simple injury and don’t recover quickly, a lack of protein could be the answer.