Diet hacks for Fat Loss
by: Robbie Durand
It is well documented that increasing protein is necessary for healthy weight balance. If you’re looking to increase your metabolism, replacing carbohydrate rich meals with protein can help keep those abs showing. Eating about 30 grams of protein over the course of the day leads to even greater satiety throughout the day and can reduce unhealthy snacking by improving appetite control.
A previous study in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism points out the importance of maintaining a high protein diet in conjunction with a resistance exercise protocol to the average dieting person. Researchers had 20 obese males; aged randomly, allocated to either a balanced meal profile:
- 4 meals per day with 25% of daily protein intake per meal or balanced group
- A varied protein intake profile (4 meals per day with protein allocated at ~7% at breakfast, ~17% at lunch, ~72% at dinner, ~4% before bed).
The varied protein intake diet plan was similar to the typical American diet which would consist of cereal in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, and a big protein meal for dinner, (such as steak), and a light snack before bed. The 4 meals per day would be similar to a traditional athlete or bodybuilder’s diet. In both groups, meals contained a variety of plant- and animal-based protein sources, but only in the balanced group was a ready-to-drink whey protein beverage consumed as part of breakfast and before bed snack, as a practical means of achieving target protein intakes during these meals.
In summary, the only significant difference between the two study groups is the use of a whey protein supplement as a major source of protein (vs. whole foods). The subjects from the varied diet group who did not consume any form of protein supplement received all protein from dietary sources. The subjects engaged in 2 weeks of energy restriction, followed by 2 weeks of energy restriction plus a program of low-load, high-volume resistance training (2 – 3 sets of 20 – 30 repetitions to muscular failure), comprising 3 workouts per week. Exercises included the chest press and seated row (for the upper body), and the leg press, knee extension, and leg curl (for the lower body).
Add a Whey Protein Supplement
The researchers found that muscle protein synthesis rates were ~19% higher in the group that ate high protein and supplemented with whey protein compared to the varied protein. Another interesting finding was that muscle protein synthesis rates were higher in the energy restriction with resistance training condition than in the energy restriction condition without resistance training.
The researchers concluded that consuming a balanced distribution of daily protein leads to greater muscle protein synthesis than a skewed or varied distribution of the same amount of protein, in overweight and obese elderly males. They also found that performing resistance training elevated muscle protein synthesis rates during a period of caloric restriction. The key points of the study showed that protein intake needs to be kept high with every meal and taken in conjunction with a resistance-training program for optimal results.
Researchers in Phoenix have found that if you’re looking to prevent future weight gain, your protein intake is crucial. Studies show that our metabolism is less efficient when we limit protein in our diets and predisposes us for long-term weight gain. Based on previous studies, overfeeding is a good model to determine future weight gain. For example, if you have a healthy metabolism, acute overfeeding will result in an acute metabolic increase, whereas those that have a sluggish metabolism will not. Some people gain weight on a caloric surplus of only a few extra calories, while others can consume several hundreds of extra calories without gaining a single pound of body fat.
Researchers examined responses to fasting or overfeeding and how it is associated with future weight change.
Diets were given for 24 hours and each included the following:
• a fasting trial, in which the subjects sat in the metabolic chamber fasted.
• a low-protein diet; with 51% carbohydrate, 46% fat, 3% protein
• a standard overfeeding diet; with 50% carbohydrate, 30% fat, 20% protein
• a high-fat, normal-protein overfeeding diet; with 20% carbohydrate, 60% fat, 20% protein
• a high-carbohydrate, normal-protein overfeeding diet with 75% carbohydrate, 5% fat and 20% protein
At the end of the study, the scientists found that fasting resulted in a decrease in metabolic rate, which is no surprise, but the shocking finding was that the low protein group and high carbohydrate overfeeding were the two groups that were the biggest predictors of long term weight gain. This may explain why people who go on crash diets are also more indicative to gain weight in the future, based on the plunge in metabolic rate after fasting. The scientists also reported that low protein is a predictive value of gaining weight in the future.
In sum, keeping your protein-intake high throughout the day can help keep body fat low.
Schlögl M, Piaggi P, Pannacciuli N, Bonfiglio SM, Krakoff J, Thearle MS. Energy expenditure responses to fasting and overfeeding identify phenotypes associated with weight change. Diabetes. 2015 Jul 16. pii: db150382.
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