November 18, 2010
Carbs, carbs, carbs. That’s what everyone seems to want to talk about. How do I avoid carbs?
Well, what you should be talking about instead is, “How do I get more lean Protein into my eating plan?”
More and more research is coming out showing that protein is a major player in your weight loss success. One way it does this is through the “thermic effect” of food. Some of you may have heard of this term, but don’t really understand what it means.
The definition of the thermic effect of food is the increase in energy expenditure (calories burned) above your resting metabolic rate due to the cost of digesting your food for storage and use.
Every time you consume food your body burns calories to digest that food. The interesting thing with this is your body does not require as many calories to digest carbohydrates and fat as it does protein.
For every 100 calories of carbohydrates or fat you consume your body only requires about 3-7 calories to digest those carbs and fat. If you consumed 100 calories of protein your body requires around 24-28 calories to digest that protein.
So roughly your body burns potentially up to 30% of the protein calories you consume just to digest that protein and only 3-7% of the carbs and fat you eat and digest.
This can be significant when it comes to successfully losing weight as you can see from this research study.
In 2008 a study conducted at the University of Illinois studied the interaction of 2 diets (high protein, reduced carbohydrates vs low protein, high carbohydrates) with exercise on body composition and blood lipids in women during weight loss.
The study was a 4-month weight loss trial and the diets were equal in total energy, but differed in protein content and the ratio of carbohydrates to protein.
The exercise comparisons were lifestyle activities which was the control vs a supervised exercise program of cardio and resistance training.
Subjects in the Protein and the Protein + Exercise groups lost more total weight and fat mass than the Carbohydrate and Carbohydrate + Exercise groups. They also tended to lose less lean body muscle as well.
The exercise increased the loss of body fat and preserved lean muscle.
This study demonstrated that a healthy diet plan with higher protein and reduced carbohydrates combined with exercise improved body composition during weight loss.
Other studies have replicated these results and have shown that a higher protein diet of at least 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight and reduced carbohydrates of 120-200 grams per day appear to enhance and improve weight loss due to a higher loss of body fat and reduced loss of lean body mass.
Short-term studies report beneficial effects that include:
1. Satiety (fullness)
2. Increased thermogenesis (faster metabolism through the thermic effect of food)
3. Sparing of muscle protein loss (less lean muscle loss)
4. Improved glycemic control (your body uses the sugars more for energy instead of storing them as fat)
These results are likely occurring from lower carbohydrates, which result in lower blood glucose levels as well as higher protein providing increased Branched Chain Amino Acid Leucine levels.
Increased protein intake also triggers the hormone glucagon, which is the counteracting hormone to insulin and helps to keep your insulin from spiking. This minimizes your chances of storing blood sugars as fat.
A key element in a higher protein diet appears to be the higher levels of the Branched Chain Amino Acid Leucine and its regulatory actions on muscle protein synthesis, controlling your insulin signal and the ability to use glucose for energy rather than fat storage.
If you are like many weight loss seekers you do not eat enough protein in your healthy diet plans and especially not enough protein that contains the key Branched Chain Amino Acid Leucine.
Saying you are going to eat a high protein diet for the next 3 months is great, but that isn’t going to help you with long-term weight loss. Essentially you need to maintain a higher protein diet long-term and the research studies are showing that long-term weight maintenance is better when following a higher protein diet compared to a moderate to high carbohydrate diet.
Now the biggest obstacle is consuming enough protein. Some are not big meat eaters and that is fine, but it does make it harder to get in the suggested amount of lean protein required to maximize your fat loss and long-term weight maintenance.
This is where a protein shake can be beneficial to your overall success.
A cold-processed protein powder that also contains plenty of Branched Chain Amino Acids particularly Leucine is what you want to look for so that you can benefit from the lean muscle growth, increased metabolism, and accelerated fat loss. Make sure it is cold-processed protein because many cheaperprotein powdersuse heat in their processing methods. What this does is damage the fragile protein molecule and make the protein molecule less active and functional. Essentially you get protein that is not as effective as it could be.
The Protein Powder That I Use And Recommend is Prograde