Every wondered why bodybuilders follow a high protein diet? Or why your personal trainer of dietician recommends a high protein diet to help you reach your weight loss goals?
No matter what your goals are, EVERYONE can benefit from eating a high protein diet consisting of various high protein foods.
And, unlike a lot of the fad diets around these days, the high protein diet is actually supported by scientific research and real world results. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, maintain muscle while getting lean, or recovering faster from your workouts, the high protein diet is definitely ideal for you.
- What makes it so special?
- What are the benefits?
- How does it help with building muscle? What about just maintaining muscle?
- How does it help with weight loss?
- How many grams do I need to eat per day to get all of these benefits?
- What are the best high protein foods?
- What about supplements?
These are some of the common questions surrounding the high protein diet, so we’re going to answer them!
High Protein Diet And Building Muscle
Protein plays a vital role in the growth and repair of everything from your skin to your hair to your nails. It also helps grow and repair MUSCLE!\
Combined with a strength training routine, and adequate calorie intake, a high protein diet is a major requirement for muscle to be built. In fact, your body needs a lot of protein just to maintain its current muscle.
During any kind of weightlifting or strength training workout, your muscles are broken down and then your body repairs them and builds them back up a tiny bit better than they were before. Research shows that protein is the most essential part of your diet vital to this aspect of building muscle.
This means, that without a high protein diet, muscle growth, muscle maintenance, and workout recovery will either not happen, or not happen as effectively as it should.
High Protein Diet For Weight Loss
People always say their goal is to “lose weight”, but “weight” can be a bunch of different things. Weight can be fat but it can also be muscle.
Really, what we want to do is lose fat, not muscle. And research shows that eating a high protein diet is the KEY dietary factor in losing body fat while preserving lean muscle. As I said earlier, an adequate protein intake is one of the requirements for simply maintaining muscle.
High protein foods are also usually low in calories and more filling than low protein foods. Of the 3 macronutrients that provide our daily calories (protein, carbs and fat), research shows that protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer. A high protein diet is key to keeping you full and satisfied to keep hunger and snacking under control.
As well as being the most filling, protein is also burns the most calories while being digested. Everything we eat causes calories to be burned during digestion. Protein just burns significantly more than everything else.
Which means eating a high protein diet will INCREASE the amount of calories your body naturally burns each day just from digesting food.
People always recommend protein for building muscle, but as you can see, it’s just as important for weight loss.
What Are High Protein Foods
At this point you’re probably pretty convinced that you should be following a high protein diet regardless of your specific goal. What you probably want to see now is what some high protein foods are.
Some of the best sources of protein are:
- Eggs & Egg Whites
- Supplements (powders, shakes, bars, etc.)
How Much Should I Eat Per Day?
So how much protein should you eat for a high protein diet?
Recommendations vary, but most research points towards between 0.8-1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight ( being the ideal range, with an even 1 gram per pound (2.2g/kg bodyweight) probably being the most common recommendation for healthy adults looking to build muscle or lose fat.
Now after hearing this recommendation, some people will be thinking: “Eating a high protein diet sounds impossible! How am I supposed to eat that much protein every day?”
Well, truthfully it’s really not that hard at all. In fact, many people can reach their ideal intake just fine by only eating typical high protein foods like chicken, eggs, meat and the others on the list of high protein foods above.
However, there is a way to make it even easier. Protein supplements.
High Protein Diet And Supplements
While protein powder and bars won’t magically make you build muscle or lose fat faster than high quality food sources would do, they do have the added advantage of being quick and convenient!
Drinking an average protein shake with 1 scoop of protein powder will give you between 15-30 grams depending on the specific brand. There’s no cooking or preparing - you just take a scoop, add a liquid, and drink. The whole process takes less than a minute and you can make it anywhere. Most protein bars contain about 15-30g per serving and are similar to a candy bar or muesli bar in size so you can keep them in your gym bag, hand bag, or desk draw for emergencies!
So, while your high protein diet should be comprised mostly of the types of high protein foods on my list from before, supplements are the perfect quick, easy, convenient and often extremely tasty way to ensure you reach your ideal intake on a daily basis.
Written by Gemma