Copyright 2006 Jonathan Perez
There are all kinds of diet recommendations all over the bodybuilding magazines, fad diet books, and websites that advise to divide your eating into different “ratios” and “percentages” for weight loss and fat burning.
Some recommend high fat, low carb, others say moderate carbs, moderate fat, high carbs, low fat, etc.
But the one thing that each and every one of these “weight loss” / “fat burning” diets say is it must be HIGH in protein.
Well, I’m here to tell you the TRUTH.
It is NOT necessary at all to eat a diet high in protein to lose weight.
Just about everything you read says to eat 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Some even go as high as suggesting you have to not only eat high, but massive amounts of protein to lose weight and burn fat.
This MYTH is due to 3 reasons:
1) Everyone thinks that muscle tissue is made up mostly of protein
2) Everyone thinks that either high amounts of fat or high amounts of carbohydrates will cause you to get fat
3) Everyone thinks that protein has a “thermogenic” (inner-body temperature raising) effect, which helps burn fat
All three of these beliefs are completely wrong! (In this article I am going to give you a very brief explanation, but in later articles I will go into more detail)
First, muscle tissue is NOT made up of mostly of protein. Muscle tissue is 70% WATER.
The other 30% is made of GLUCOSE, and AMINO ACIDS.
Your muscles need just as much glucose (which is what carbohydrates are converted into), if not MORE than protein.
You should know that one of the KEYS to weight loss is to have a significant amount of muscle tissue (that doesn’t mean you have to look like a bodybuilder if you don’t want to, though) on the body.
Because the more muscle you have, the faster and higher your metabolism gets, meaning you can literally burn hundreds of calories a day even when you are just sitting around watching TV.
The more muscle you have, the higher the amount of calories that you can eat while still losing weight / burning fat (trust me, no one likes having to eat an extremely low amount of calories in order to lose weight).
So, whether you are male or female, regardless if you want to look like a bodybuilder or just be toned up and in shape, you need muscle!
Those that have medically studied the physiology of the human body know that amino acids are what make up protein.
However, the body uses whatever amount of amino acids it needs at that particular moment. The rest it stores for later use.
It is NOT true that you need to be eating a “steady stream” of protein to lose weight / burn fat………your body keeps a little “pool” of stored amino acids.
Protein is by far the most difficult macronutrient to break down and digest.
The higher the amount of protein you eat the more stress you are placing on your digestive system.
Oh, by the way, what do you think happens to any excess protein??? It turns it into FAT!
Have you ever noticed how you feel when you eat a huge burger or steak?
Even after several hours have passed, it still feels like you’ve got that entire piece of meat just sitting and rotting in your stomach.
How much benefit in weight loss do you think that’s going to give you?
Have you ever drank those disgusting protein shakes or eaten those chalk-tasting protein bars?
You get gas, you feel bloated, and you might even get the “runs” (diarrhea).
That’s a major sign that your body is NOT properly digesting all of that protein!!!
There are several real-life examples of athletes that don’t consume massive amounts of protein to gain muscle weight, yet have tremendous physiques, have extremely defined and toned bodies, are in excellent health, are powerful, fast, and agile.
To just name some of them:
Andreas Cahling – Swedish champion bodybuilder and Olympic gold medalist in the ski jump
Keith Holmes – World champion middleweight boxer
Bill Manetti – Powerlifting champion
Stan Price – World weight lifting record holder; bench press
Art Still – Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs MVP defensive ends, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
Chris Campbell – Olympic wrestling champion
Peter Hussing – European super heavyweight boxing champion
You can eat all the protein in the world and not lose one pound of fat weight if you are eating too many calories!!!!!
Remember, it doesn’t matter what we’ve been fed by the magazines, fad diet books, and companies trying to sell us their latest protein concoction. It all comes down to the calories!
In my next article I’ll cover the 2nd and 3rd misconception everyone has about protein.