Welcome back to your complete Fat Loss Nutrition Guide. (Part 2 – Protein)
Firstly a quick recap from Part 1:
- Calories DO matter
- Management of our energy balance (Calories in Vs Calories out) is the most valuable tool in our arsenal when it comes to changing our body composition (how much body fat we have), although its not an exact predictor for how much fat we will lose.
- Any diet method that has worked for anyone has addressed the above point. Consciously or not, a calorie deficit has been created and maintained over a period of time.
- Adherence is crucial, choosing a method that you are able to stick to is way more important than the ‘perfect’ fat loss plan. Perfection is rendered pointless if you can’t actually do it!
Hopefully, using the information in the first part of this series you have a number that will give you a pretty good guess at your energy requirements. Taking into account your height, weight, age and activity levels etc.
You then need to decide your approach, how far south you are going to come from this number. (I suggest 10-15%, we will go into the reasons behind this further in the series)
Example: if you’re maintenance Calories are coming in at 2500Kcal, then for fat loss we would look at between 2125Kcal – 2250Kcal.
If you’ve not read the first part go here : PART 1
Brilliant… now what?
Now we need to break these Calories down and divide them between our Macronutrients.
We will address the most important Macronutrient first, Protein.
I’ll just get this little boring bit out of the way… what are proteins?
Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of these are essential.
What we mean by this, is that the body requires these amino acids to survive.
They are essential for growth and repair, healthy skin, hair, muscle tissue.
They play a vital role in our immune system and help regulate our metabolism.
Good, you are still awake.
In relation to fat loss, consuming enough protein can really help.
Protein is know to be fairly satiating. Meaning it makes us feel full, this is really important when we are looking to get into a Calorie deficit as there will be times when we feel hungry.
It will also help us maintain our muscle tissue. When we are in a deficit our body essentially runs out of ‘fuel’ and will turn to it’s stored ‘fuel’ to create energy.
Our protein (muscles) and our fat (stored body fat).
In an ideal world we would like to limit the amount of protein (muscle) that is lost and ensure that its predominantly fat that is being broken down and used. (This is another reason why we don’t want to be too aggressive with the deficit)
So, how much protein do we need?
Well, current government guidelines suggest 0.8g per kg body weight.
Im going to try my best to stay on point, but government guidelines SUCK!
There is a fairly minimal nutritional science that goes into creating the guidelines, such as the ‘Eat Well’ plate.
I recently had an eye opening lecture, on a Nutrition Certification (MacNutritionUni) that I’m studying for, that gave examples of 5 counties government guidelines ALL of which were different! Now, we are all the same species, each country was modern and fairly affluent. It just makes you question whether its public health or trade and economic bias that is the driving force behind these guidelines. (this is for another blog)
I’ll answer the question now 🙂
Basically, we need more than the above guidelines suggest, especially if we are exercising.
Between 1.2g/kg – 2.5g/kg.
We recommend 2g/kg as good target to start with. (if you’ve a lot of weight to lose, and find hitting this target hard then by all means use your goal weight and multiply by 2)
So, someone who weights 70kg would require roughly 140g of Protein a day.
Protein is 4 Calories per gram.
So in this case 140g x 4 = 560Kcal from Protein
Where do we get protein from?
Protein will come from a wide variety of places and we certainly recommend varying your choices.
They will all have a variety of different amino acids, some will contain more fat and carbohydrate (thus more calories) than others but here is a solid list and an example of how many Calories and grams of protein you can expect from each.
Animal Proteins Examples (per 100g raw) :
eg. Chicken – 110kcal, 20-25g Protein, 2g Fat, 0g Carbs
eg. Steak – 200kcal, 25-28g Protein, 10g Fat, 0g Carbs
e.g. Cod – 110kcal, 25g Protein, 0.5g Fat, 0g Carbs
e.g. Salmon – 180kcal, 20-22g Protein, 11g Fat, 0g Carbs
1 Large Whole Egg (50g) – 74kcal, 6g Protein, 5g Fat, 0.4g Carbs
eg. Greek Yoghurt (Total 0%) – 57kcal, 10g Protein, 0g Fat, 4g Carbs
eg. Whey Protein (30g) – 111kcal, 23.4g Protein, 1.3g Fat, 1g Carbs
Non Animal Examples:
Quorn Mince – 99kcal, 15g Protein, 2g Fat, 4.5g Carbs
Edamame Beans – 133kcal, 11g Protein, 4g Fat, 12g Carbs
Cashew Nuts (40g serving) – 222kcal, 7.3g Protein, 17.5g Fat, 12.1g Carbs
Quinoa (75g Serving) – 251kcal, 11.2g Protein, 4.5g Fat, 45g Carbs
Obviously, these lists go on.
There are many different varieties within each sub-heading.
As you can see there are plenty of ways to get some good quality proteins into your diet.
For those who opt for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle then it just becomes a little more challenging as often the protein sources come along with higher amounts of carbohydrate. Its completely do-able, just needs little more thought.
Just remember, as long as we are addressing the energy balance, we will be ok.
One positive of having a balanced approach, where your diets contains plenty of different animal proteins such as lots of different fish, poultry, eggs, seafood, red meat, dairy and non animal sources is that you will ensure you get a great blend of amino acids into your diet as they all have different amino acid profiles. (Animal proteins are still the best for this though… sorry)
So you now have:
1 – A Calorie Target
2 – A Protein Target
This is all you really need to make a solid start when it comes to the food side of things.
We will tackle Fat and Carbohydrates in the next instalment.
For now, let your preferences dictate how much of these you have, as long as you are monitoring your Calorie and Protein intake you can start to make some progress.
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