Protein can increase calorie burning, reduce hunger and maintain muscle mass, which sounds too good to be true – but it can be. So before you start eating eggs with grilled chicken for every meal, remember that there are probably too many good things to eat. The extra protein in your body will eventually be stored in the form of fat, but how do you know when you cross the line?
If you hear that you should take a fixed amount, such as the recommended daily intake for ordinary men and women – 56 grams and 46 grams, respectively – throw that out of the window. Each person’s perfect gram is different according to their weight. Lucky for you, we spoke to Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios for answers. Once you’ve calculated your specific amount, hit the store with our list of best-ever proteins for weight loss and stock up.
Know Your Goal
Just because something works for your partner or your best friend doesn’t necessarily mean it works for you. “In order to gain muscle for athletes and lose weight, it is recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics to consume 1.2 – 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight,” White explains. A pound weighs 0.45 kg, which means a 150 pound person needs 81-115 grams, while a 180 pound person needs 97-138 grams.
Although these figures are much higher than the amount we mentioned earlier, please believe us. A study in the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that those who doubled their daily recommended intake were actually better able to conserve and exercise their muscles. Don’t forget that the number you’re using is far from permanent. When you start to see weight loss, you should continue to update your protein goals with this formula.
Be Sure to Eat Enough
The best way to get the benefits of protein is to start with breakfast and add protein to your diet throughout the day. A study by the Institute of Food Technologists found that people who eat a protein rich breakfast eat 200 fewer calories at night than those who don’t, with 15 grams for an Oikos Greek yogurt and 6 grams for an egg. If you’re hoarding other apparently protein rich foods for lunch and dinner, such as roast chicken and protein milkshakes, but still don’t reach your goal, don’t forget to use snack time for your own benefit.