1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories
Muscles are made up of protein, and consuming protein provides all of the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) needed to build and maintain skeletal muscle. Protein intake is also essential for shedding those unwanted (fat) pounds. First, it helps you burn more calories because of the thermic effect of food (TEF).
Fat has a TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) of 3%, carbs have a TEF of around 8%, but protein’s TEF is between 20-30%!
So one-quarter of the protein calories you eat will be burned just from eating it. By increasing protein intake in your diet, you are burning extra calories (since the extra protein will be replacing either carbs or fat intake). Also, protein is needed to maintain and build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) will be, since muscles are such high energy burners. When they are bigger, they will require more energy, which means extra burned calories for you. Protein also increases satiety or fullness, so people report feeling less hungry after meals when eating higher protein. This leads to less snacking and greater compliance with their diet (less cheating).
With all of that said, we’re sure you aren’t surprised to hear that your daily food intake should be high in protein. The protein you plan to eat should be based off your lean body mass. It will change depending on your goal, but you will always have enough protein to ensure adequate recovery between workouts.
Pro tip: If you’re clueless and don’t know where to start with how much protein to eat, start with 1 gram per day of your bodyweight. We know. It’s a lot, but science works.
Pro Tip #2: If you plan for a certain protein requirement and it’s a lot more protein than you are used to eating, don’t jump right into it. Try a more gradual approach. Start by eating 50-75% of your required protein at first and add 3 grams a days until you reach your goal. This will help you digestive system get used to the higher protein and help to avoid digestive issues. You can make up for the lost calories in these early days by adding 1 extra gram of fat for every 3 grams of protein you subtract for the day.
We like everyone to consume protein from whole food sources like meat, fish, dairy, and high protein veggies (greens). But, we know life gets in the way sometimes and you’ll need to reach for a shake to hit your goals.
Give it everything you’ve got to make sure that you are getting at least ⅔ of your protein requirement through whole foods.
If you have no dietary restrictions, whey and casein protein are our top choices. Whey is fast digesting and great for post workout recovery.
Some of these powders are very high in carbs and added fat. Don’t waste your money on extra carbs and fat! Look for powders with:
Less than 3 grams of fat – Less that 6 grams of carbs – More that 20 grams of protein – Per Serving
Driven Whey is Grass Fed and we sell it to our members at more than a 30% discount…
If you do have dietary restrictions, egg, pea, and hemp proteins are our next favorite. They all have great amino acid profiles.
High Protein Food Sources:
Wild Game – elk, deer, moose
Canned Meats – Tuna, Salmon, Chicken
High Protein Vegan Friendly Foods (BUT WATCH YOUR CARB INTAKE!!!!):
Soy (HIGH IN ESTROGEN – BE CAREFUL!!!!!)