Extra Protein for Weight Gain OR Weight Loss
Almost anyone who exercises regularly knows the importance of protein intake in order to allow for muscle recovery and growth. Unfortunately however, the majority of the general public doesn’t know that they also could use the extra protein in order to shed those unwanted pounds and extra body fat.
Protein for Weight Gain
When it comes to protein usage within the body, the muscles themselves, are usually dead last to benefit from the dietary protein. First in line are the intestines. Next up is the brain. Then your heart, liver, lungs and other internal organs. Last, but certainly not least, your muscle tissue gets whatever available protein is left over.
If you think that sounds bad, that’s nothing compared to when you don’t make enough protein available through your diet to begin with. When this happens, the body actually begins to feed of your existing muscle in order to provide for those important organs. This is known as catabolism and is exactly the scenario you want to work hard to eliminate.
You can probably quickly see how this would not be good for anyone looking to increase lean muscle mass, a goal EVERYONE should have by the way, but many will be confused as to how this plays a role for those trying to lose some weight, so let’s take a second to explain.
Protein for Weight Loss
The most common problem associated with most “diets” floating around out there today….not enough calories! Simply put, limiting your caloric intake too much will cause the exact opposite reaction you desire if fat burning is your goal. Will severe calorie restriction cause weight loss on a scale? Almost always! Unfortunately, this is not, or should not be the goal.
When caloric intake is too low, the body’s metabolism tends to stall, thus slowing your fat burning ability. Additionally, when calories are too limited, protein intake is also typically limited, and this leads to the same scenario described above, catabolism.
This fatal mistake often made when someone wants to shed weight is actually bad, times two. They slow their metabolism with a limited caloric intake and they tend to lose existing muscle, from a lack of protein, thus minimizing their fat burning even further.
Body composition actually worsens more often than not in these cases. Sure, some weight can be lost on the scale, but the body fat percentages typically increases. Not the result you should be seeking, no matter what your starting point.
So how much protein do you actually need? As a general rule of thumb, if you’re trying to burn body fat, eat twice as much protein as you do carbohydrates.
If you are trying to gain lean muscle mass, eat equal portions of proteins and carbohydrates. Keep it simple to start and adjust as your body does. Irrelevant of what any book says, there is no single formula that will work for everyone.
As you should now see, whether you’re trying to gain muscle mass or shed unwanted body fat, maintaining a proper protein intake will do wonders for your goals.
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