Why 'lean protein'
Before you start avoiding all fats like the plague, let's be clear that not all fat is bad, we will save what is 'good fat and bad fat' for another time, here we are only going to discuss why you should be eating sufficient protein.
'Lean protein' is protein which has less fat and is generally unprocessed, some good safe examples are:
Some foods which would not be considered lean are:
If your goal is fat loss then you might want to minimise the consumption of the non lean proteins. Not because eating this type of fat is bad for your health, they just contain more calories per gram than lean protein sources.
Protein is broken down by the body into amino acids, there are twenty amino acids and the body can make twelve of them.
Eight are supplied by food and need to be eaten daily, these are known as 'essential amino acids'... because they are essential!
Meat and fish are complete proteins, this means that they contain all the essential amino acids. Other sources of protein include pulses, nuts and seeds, although these are often incomplete.
A vegetarian/vegan would need to eat a wider variety of sources to ensure that all of the essential amino acids are consumed in sufficient quantities.
How much sound you consume?
Current UK government guidelines recommend about 1g of protein per kg of bodyweight. This is far below what current research recommends.
Ask your coach to calculate your guidelines for you as it can vary depending on your activity levels and body size.
Recent research from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition stated the following:
For those who are looking to maintain muscle mass 1.4g-2.0g of protein per Kg of body weight is sufficient. A diet higher in protein intake, in excess of 3.0g per Kg of body weight per day, can help those looking to retain lean body mass while losing body fat on a lower calorie diet and help promote the loss of fat.
In short eating, a lot of protein is going to help with fat loss and muscle gain. For the average guy who has 80kg of lean body mass, eating 3.0g per Kg of body weight looks like a lot of protein (240g in total). Supplementing with protein powder will make this more cost effective and easier to achieve.
This is what a typical day could look like for somone with 80kg lean body mass eating 3.0g per Kg body weight.
Total 222g Additional protein will be found in different types of vegetables and nut sources which can make up the difference.
Now lets look at the average UK diet:
Total = 40g... way to little protien, particually if you are trying to lose fat!
If you want to work it out really simply, just make sure you are eating around 5 palm sized portions of lean protein a day and you will be covered, yes that is quite a lot more than your probably eating right now.
Another great thing about protein is that it suppresses one of the hormones (Ghrelin) that makes you feel hungry... this means it can keep you fuller for longer.
Whey protein has also been shown to nourish the lining of the gut, which is good for anyone who suffers from a 'leaky gut' or want to encourage good bacteria.
There is a 'window of gains' which diminishes the longer you wait after your workout. This means that one of the best times to get protein into your body is after a resistance workout, keeping a protien shake on hand can help with this.
The amount of protein that can be used and absorbed by the body in one serving varies slightly depending on age and type of training, resistance training would require more. But in general, the recommendation is 0.25g of high-quality protein per KG of body weight or a total dose of 20-40g.
If you are considering fat loss or strength gains eating more protein than required will not be a problem, in fact, excess protein can help, particularly for fat loss, just ensure it is 'lean'.
It is reasonable to consider supplementing your diet with whey protein powder. Just don't go adding lots of extra calories into your shake by mixing in Bananas or peanut butter.
Protein shakes: Easy to do and easily digested, personally I use a unflavoured 'whey protein isolate' which I mix with random berries for flavour and sweetness. This is my preferance and I feel that this is a slightly healthier option than artificially sweetened protein powders, but if you are just looking for something quick and easy any kind of whey protein will do!
You can also hide veggies in you protien shakes as well! Spinach blends nicely, avoid adding dates or bananas as these are particularly high in carbohydrates.
There are plenty of other ideas out there; a quick google search will bring up a tonne of high protein breakfast recipes.
These are my go-to high protein breakfasts! Easy to do and easy to take with you on the run. If you are training hard and want to add carbs in there somewhere, chuck in some whole oats or plenty or fruit and veg.
High PROTEIN Lunch and dinner
What do you think? Do you have any favourite breakfast ideas you want to share with others?
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'Food for Fitness' by Anita Bean