The Link: Body Fat & Dietary Protein

Hey friends! HAPPY Monday!

How was your weekend?? Mine ended up being pretty good (hello whole wheat pancakes!!)-despite being husbandless.

SO glad he’s back now!!

My mom/dad, sisters and I did have fun while he was gone…..

I had some of this:

{guess which one is mine….}

{if you guessed the tallest -largest-one, you’re right and you know me well ;)}

{And you don’t even want to know how many flavors I got in there! In my defense, I haven’t had frozen yogurt in like 3 years. Okay, okay, like 2 months}

Had my hair done like this:

{what, you wash your hair every day?!}

And bought these:

{hot, right?! Like these}

I am kidding.

But when I saw them, I quickly ran over to them, and immediately started taking off my shoes and socks to try them on. My little sisters thought this was hilarious….these were by FAR the brightest shoes in the store (the picture doesn’t even do them justice). Too bad they only had them in a 6 and not a 6.5 :( I love tall, sexy heels-what can I say?!

****

Dietary Protein

Back to that frozen yogurt. Did you know that yogurt has a lot of protein in it? Some of you probably knew that, but some of you now love me even more. Yes, I did just share my secret : I stock up on dietary protein via frozen yogurt.

Okay, I am sort of lying (what is with my sarcasm today?!), but in all seriousness, dietary protein is in a lot of foods we might not realize.

And on the flip side, it’s NOT in a lot of foods we (as in our country as a whole) consume on a daily basis.

{like cookies. so sorry to bring the news….but little to no protein in these babies}

In recent months dietary protein has received extra attention…..and for good reason. As our nation slowly turns from “skinny is the ideal” mindset to “strong and fit-looking is sexy” (wahoo!), there as been a renewed interest in dietary protein.

You see, protein is THE macronutrient that is key in building muscle and attaining that strong, fit physique. 

And having the right amount may be the answer to a lot of people’s body fat woes (and also weight loss woes).

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a diet I am promoting (remember how diets are evil?!). Nor is this a low-carb or paleo-promoting blog. (FAR, FAR from it).

The Link Between Body Fat & Dietary Protein

All I am saying is we might not be taking into consideration the powerful role the ratio of macronutrients consumed, when we (I say we as collective) attempt to lose weight or shed body fat.

To further prove my point, in a recent report that reviewed a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this shared :

People who consistently consume more calories than they burn each day will lose lean muscle and accumulate body fat more easily if their diets contain too little protein and too much fat and carbohydrates, suggests a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included 25 people who lived in a carefully controlled research facility for up to three months, exercising very little. For two of those months, all of the men and women intentionally ate about 1,000 calories per day more than they needed to maintain their weight, but they consumed different amounts of protein.

People assigned to a low-protein diet gained roughly half as much weight during the experiment as those assigned to a standard or high-protein diet, but body fat—rather than lean body mass, which includes muscle—accounted for a much higher percentage of their weight gain.

In the low-protein group, approximately 90% of the extra daily calories were stored as body fat, but in the other groups just 50% of the added calories became fat and most of the remainder were burned off. 

In simpler terms: those who eat more protein tend to gain and store less body fat than those who do not. And, those who tend to eat more fat and carbohydrates and only a small ratio of protein might gain less weight overall than those who eat more protein, but that weight would be mostly (body) fat weight. 

{egg atop whole wheat pancakes!}

This just reiterates the idea that total body weight is not always a good measure of health, nor is it the only thing we should base measurements on! (I’ve been saying this for a long time…..yes, why the scale hardly matters and is sometimes just NOT helpful. But it can be. <—read my thoughts there).

Why More Dietary Protein

Interesting, eh? Furthermore, the study does NOT conclude that complex carbohydrates or dietary fat are bad. In fact, it does quite the opposite. But it does make for a very strong argument in promoting the consumption of more dietary protein as a strong contributor to lower body fat levels.

Another thing I wanted to say is this : the study did NOT determine whether plant or animal protein is better than the other. This is just dietary protein from all sources, and does not discriminate. (Good news for all; vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike)!

Takeaway in simplest terms : Eat a greater ratio of protein than you’re eating to achieve lower body fat levels and to maintain muscle mass already achieved.

The study concludes that the current levels recommended for protein intake are not high enough to sustain muscle mass, nor is it adequate for those who regularly lift (umm, hi, me!) or are physically active.

How Much Protein?

To get an idea, most people consume a diet that is about 60% carbs, 25% fat, and 15% protein, with most of those carbohydrates coming from starchy potatoes, soft drinks, and candy.

{The ideal should be more like 55-60% carbs, 20-25% fat, 25-30% protein <—not including special diets or endurance athletes}

{black bean burgers!}

What This Means For YOU

In another study I read about in Fitness magazine from January’s issue, a woman who did everything right (ate well, exercised, slept, didn’t have too much stress) could not lose weight. They put her in a controlled environment for 24 hours and measured everything. She ate her normal foods and did her normal exercise (and they were even impressed with her metabolic rate during and after exercise).

So why hadn’t she been losing weight for the past 3 years??

The researchers found the big problem : the woman was burning mostly carbohydrates while sleeping, instead of fat (the body normally switches to fat burning while sleeping–another reason sleep is SO vital!). They knew all this from testing her carbon dioxide content in her breath while she was sleeping.

And when they measured her ratios of the food she ate, her intake was 48% carbs, 41.8% fats, and 11% protein.

The researchers concluded that she needed to cut down on her fats (especially saturated) and carbohydrates (think pretzels and cereals) and up her protein. In one week she lost 3 pounds.

WOW.

It is only one person, but what a strong example of what changing the ratios of your food can do?!

Not to mention what it probably is doing for her muscle growth and maintenance!? And eventually, her body fat levels?!

You see, protein is a macronutrient that is vital not only for those of us wanting to shed body fat, but also for any muscle we do gain (you want this if you want to look fit and strong), so we can maintain that in the long term!

{fit, strong, and blurry. heh}

What YOU Need To Do To Lose Body Fat

If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, do this ONE thing today if you’re wanting to shed body fat (or lose weight) : eat more protein.

{I did NOT say only eat protein, carbs are bad, or fat is the devil}.

To BE clear : protein has been recommended as 0.8 grams per kg of body weight. This has, in recent years, been disputed. Personally I think (and from these studies), it is clear, that it is better to get more like 1.0-1.1 gram protein per kg body weight.

{So if you weigh 150 lbs, or 68.2 kg, that is between 68-75 grams of protein per day.}

There are almost 30 grams in 1 can tuna. Or 9 grams in 1/2 cup black beans. Or 5 grams in 1/2 cup uncooked oats.

Want to shed body fat? Get more fit?? Get rid of belly fat?? Build lean muscle??

Eat more dietary protein.

Or rather, change your ratios to include more dietary protein.

GOT IT?!

Awesome.

{I wasn’t totally lying—frozen yogurt does have ample protein in it…. ;)}

Now go eat some complex carbs, plenty of protein, healthy fats, and you’ll be well on your way to helping build and maintain those muscles you will work today at the gym 😉

Trust me. It’s totally worked for me–you can enjoy your foods too (while uppin’ protein) & shed the body fat.

Have a lovely day!!

And with that, I am off to teach BodyPUMP…..

….and then refuel with some chocolate milk and an egg on whole wheat toast. GO protein go!

What are YOU going to change today to get more protein in?? What was new info for YOU?? Anything YOU disagree with?? 

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Comments

  1. This has nothing to do with protein, BUT I swear to you I saw some girl at church wearing those shoes yesterday. I couldn’t even believe she could walk in them!!!

  2. caroline says:

    I am going to use a FULL scoop of protein powder in my green smoothie instead of just half. Thanks for all the great info about protein!

  3. I LOVE protien. I feel better when I mostly eat lean meats/ eggs/ legumes and veggies….heavy starches kill me.

    And the Zumba class was awesome! It’s in a private studio and they’re having a 2- hour girls only hip-hop dance party w/ a Zumba instructor from Flordia Sat night…I’m going!

  4. I’m actually concerned I eat too much protein! I eat a lot of egg whites and Greek yogurt and I’ve found I get over 100g of protein a day! My macro nutrients tend to come out more like 50% carbs, 40% protein, 10% fat… Do you think this is bad?

    • It totally depends on how YOU feel.

      I would say that more than 40% protein might be harmful (if not carefully monitored), just because there can be damage to the kidneys and other organs during processcing–but that is more so if it’s animal protein. So for you, I’d probably say it’s okay, but if you want more of a professional opinion for YOU specifically, ask a sports nutritionist who specifically works with vegetarians!

  5. yes, yes, and YES! great post lady! i’m all about the protein! 😉

  6. yes yes yes
    amen
    AGREED :)
    all that.
    Im MizProtein.

  7. those shoes are awesome. i’m a sucker for BRIGHT shoes myself :)

    I’m always trying to get more protein in my diet..I find it so important in recovery from hard workouts and to keep me fuller longer. greek yogurt=one of my best friends.

  8. This is such a wonderful post! Very very interesting. I think a lot of people don’t realize how important protein is. Thank goodness for yogurt! ;D

  9. Protein is so easily overlooked and it is such a necessary part of our diets. Great post! As always. 😉

  10. elaine r says:

    Starting my day and will do it with more protein. I am in phoenix and did a 3 hour bike ride yesterday. Could never have done it without all the body pump classes. It was awesome!!
    Looking forward to wed bodypump class.
    I need to get my teen son eating more protein. He is ways hungry. Need some help with getting him tone.

  11. Completely agree. Thanks for all those great resources, too! I’ve even heard that it’s best to get 1 gram protein per pound of body weight, for trading fat for muscle. Not that I necessarily follow that.

    In the past month or 2 I’ve been trying to make sure that EVERY meal and snack I eat has some protein in it (bc as a vegetarian it’s not so easy), and it definitely makes me more satisfied than when I eat a snack or meal that’s just carbs or just fat. The protein helps fill me up. I’m going to work on upping my protein intake even more and hope I see some of the positive results you list here!

  12. PS- I am obsessed with frozen yogurt and concur that it counts as protein. :)

  13. soo much good info in one post! thanks lady! :)

  14. great post on protein! i love it!

  15. What a great post! As you know, I’ve had a hell of a time trying to lose weight. I started using My Fitness Pal and took a hard look at my diet (and how it’s broken up into fats, carbs and protein). I was certainly getting much more carbs than anything else, so I decreased that (NOT eliminated!) and increased my proteins and healthy fats. It’s hard because I am just a carb junkie- but in time, I know I’ll get used to the change. And hopefully it will finally be what I need to shake those awful pounds that won’t budge!

  16. Celeste says:

    I appreciate that you give links to your research – I really enjoy looking at the original sources and learning more.

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post.

  17. Awesome post! And so informative :). That study that you read about in fitness magazine is amazing! I love my protein, I feel so much better when I eat more of it!

  18. I am going to track my protein intake for the day and see where I stand and make improvements from there! Thanks Annette

  19. I LOVED this post. I preach to my friends and family (they probably hate me for it) about the importance of protein. I have become a protein addict lately … sometimes I might even eat too much. And I can definitely tell the difference in my body. It’s huge. THANK YOU for this post!

  20. Loved the post, and the great pictures.. I’m now dying to have one of those frozen yogurts lol : )

  21. Woot! You said it Annette :)

    Protein is so crucial to a healthy diet– it’s amazing how enforcing a proper balance of nutrients can change the body!

  22. Once again – a great post!!!!!! :) I think a lot of people will learn from this :)

  23. Thanks for the fab post!
    I’m a ‘protein-a-holic’ too; just need to cut back on the cookies and those abs will shine through!

  24. we are working on increasing our protein! thanks for the reminder

  25. Thansk so much! I’m currently working on upping my muscles mass and burnin some fat, turns out I have a pretty good idea as to what I’m doing but this still really helped put things into perspective even more. This was so great! =D Thank you! I’ll continue following this site and when I see more results I hope to share. Thanks again =)

  26. this is really interesting. i have been working with folks tryinig to figure out why i’m consistently in a calorie deficit but can’t lose this last little belly.. i am about about 15% protein so i might try bumping that up and see what happens

  27. Great Post! Sometimes I get into such a food routine, that I don’t realize I might be missing the boat in some aspects. Your protein reminder has me realizing that I need to up my protein intake – especially since I am upping my mileage for a marathon.

    Thanks for the research – informative and easy to follow!

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    present here at this website, thanks admin of this website.
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  1. […] a few weeks back one of my favorite bloggers Annette tackled a question I have long been confused by. How much protein do I […]

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