Authors: Registered Dietitians
(Healthcastle.com) Timing and amounts of protein are not just for bodybuilders and athletes; they are key for weight loss and a strong body. Learn how you can harness the power of protein to help you lose weight and get fit.
Why is timing important?
Protein recommendations have traditionally been based on the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but mounting research is showing that we need more protein to get the most benefit as opposed to looking at the minimum requirements and just scraping by.
Timing is important- your body is like a warehouse. It stores protein, but has limited space. So eating a lot at one time means some will be wasted and excreted as nitrogen in your urine, but by mid-day your body may run low and breakdown muscle or immune cells to get the protein needed to keep your body running.
Our demand for protein goes up and down during the day depending on our activity and the need for healing or recovery (whether from illness or workouts) so our protein stores are in constant flux. By eating protein throughout the day, you will minimize waste and maximize the storage and use of protein so less muscle and immune cells need to be broken down to keep your body humming along.
You`ll also promote protein synthesis including building new muscle by how you time your post workout snacks, but more on that in another post!
Protein Suppresses Appetite and Slows Digestion:
Protein also acts as an appetite suppressant and dampens the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar after a meal. It slows down gastric emptying (how quickly food leaves your tummy), giving your body a slow steady stream of nutrients as opposed to a big spike after a meal. You`ll feel full longer by having protein at each meal, and also avoid the craving inducing crashes that happen post carbohydrate heavy meals. Both of these are a huge help for weight loss- we know that frequent spikes in blood sugar trigger your body to store calories as fat and that more gradual rises and falls promote a healthier metabolism.
Protein Helps Preserve Lean Body Mass While Dieting:
An increased proportion of protein while dieting can help you lose more fat mass instead of lean mass (such as muscles, immune cells etc) meaning you may feel better and be healthier despite your lower caloric intake.
Michelle's Protein Rules:
Aim for at least 1/4 of your plate to be protein at every meal, including breakfast.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight you’ll have to reduce the amount of another item so your calories stay in check.
What to Eat at Breakfast:
Recent studies showed that those who had protein at breakfast ate less all day long (resulting in fewer calories taken in than those who didn’t have protein at breakfast) and reported less hunger and cravings throughout the day. Take advantage of this effect by having one of the items below with your brekkie:
- Greek Yogurt 3/4 cup
- Cottage Cheese 3/4 cup
- 2 large Eggs (hard boil a bunch for busy mornings)
- Whey protein powder (20 g protein, scoop size varies among products)
- Almonds or walnuts 1/3 cup (high in healthy fats and calories, make sure you adjust portions of other foods).
- 2 tbsp peanut butter (only 8 g of protein/188 calories, make sure you’re also getting protein at your snack)
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds (11 g/ 174 calories, keep portions of other foods in check as for peanut butter)
- 1 cup silken tofu (great for smoothies/shakes) 18 g