Posts Tagged ‘fat loss’


By Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1

For years, outside of the sports nutrition community, protein’s importance was overlooked as the debates about nutrition focused on carbohydrates and fat.

More recently, higher-protein intakes have been shown to be very powerful for supporting weight management programs. They seem to play a role in improving a number of other health outcomes as well, but there are still a number of myths surrounding higher-protein intakes.

The following are six of the most common high-protein myths I still come across. Now you’ll know the truth behind these myths.

1. You can only use 30 grams of protein in a meal

As it relates to maintenance or development of lean body mass, protein both increases protein synthesis and decreases protein breakdown. The more you can increase protein synthesis and/or decrease protein breakdown, the more lean body mass you can build.

Protein synthesis is maximally stimulated after consuming 20-30 grams of high-quality protein. But research shows that protein breakdown is further reduced at higher levels.

A study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition addressed this 30-gram-per-meal myth.[i]

First, the researchers found that when individuals consumed 80% of their daily protein in a single meal, it caused a greater overall anabolic response for the day than when the protein was split up over several meals. This could be because the total protein intake for the day wasn’t excessively high.

Second, they found that the greater the amount of protein individuals consumed, the greater the overall anabolic response was. Greater protein intakes in a meal caused protein breakdown to slow even more. Clearly, the higher amount of protein from a meal was digested and absorbed, and it had a greater impact than a lesser amount, such as the often espoused 30-gram recommendation.

There is a likely a cap at which the total protein intake for the day reaches a limit on its anabolic effect. It’s probably closer to the “one gram per pound body weight” often recommended by sports nutritionists. Split that up over 3-4 meals, and you’ll need to eat a lot more protein than just 30 grams with each meal.

2. Excess protein just turns to fat

To be clear, we’re talking about pure protein. Often, when people envision protein, it’s protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. You can’t get away with eating as much filet mignon, cooked in butter and topped with crabmeat and hollandaise sauce as your stomach can hold. There’s a lot more in such a meal than just protein.

However, assuming carbohydrates and fat are kept in check, it seems that eating more and more protein has virtually no effect on fat gain. After a certain point, it doesn’t help in adding more lean mass either.

To test the effects of a super-high protein diet, Dr. Jose Antonio and his team studied two groups of resistance-trained men and women. One group followed a diet that included 1.0 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The other group doubled that amount, eating 2.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That’s a lot of protein!

It would be nearly impossible to eat such large amounts from whole food, so a large amount of the extra protein came from protein shakes. This also helped minimize the introduction of additional carbohydrates and fat.

The second group ate an average of 145 grams of protein extra per day and did not gain any weight. Also, they did not eat less carbohydrate or fat. That’s right. They ate 145 grams more protein than the other group and didn’t gain weight. In fact, they averaged about 800 calories more than their maintenance level and didn’t gain body fat. They also didn’t gain any extra muscle from that much more protein. It’s a good example of why You Can’t Count on Calorie-Counting for Weight Management.

Eating too much protein-rich food, with all the fixings and side dishes will surely pack on the pounds, but excess protein itself isn’t a cause of fat gain.

3. Too much protein is hard on the kidneys

One of the byproducts of protein digestion is urea. Urea is filtered by the kidneys, so the theory is that as protein intake goes up, urea goes up which puts an excessive load on the kidneys. While it’s true that urea increases, there is not evidence to show that it’s bad for those with healthy kidney function.

After two years of tracking participants on either a higher-protein, low-carb diet or a lower-fat, low-protein diet, those who ate a higher protein diet experienced no negative impact on kidney health.[ii]

Another study followed three groups over two years. They followed a low-fat, a Mediterranean, or a higher-protein, low-carb diet. After two years, there was no difference in kidney function for any of the groups. The participants were moderately obese individuals, some of who had type II diabetes and some of whom did not.[iii]

Those with a pre-existing kidney issue may need to limit protein intake, but for those with healthy kidneys, evidence suggests higher protein intake is fine.[iv]

4. High protein diets decrease bone density

Just as higher protein intakes help maintain or even increase muscle tissue, they also support greater bone density. High-protein diets do not leach minerals from bone and decrease bone density. To the contrary, they’ve been shown to enhance mineral reabsorption and increase bone density. The greater issue when it comes to bone density is taking in enough calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to support good bone health.[v],[vi]

Women are more likely to follow a low-calorie diet, which is often low in protein. Low protein diets, rather than high-protein diets can contribute to decreased bone density.[vii] Women are already more prone to bone density loss as they get older, so adding a low-protein diet to their lifestyle could accelerate the loss of bone density. The importance of higher protein intake should be stressed to support optimal bone density.

5. Too much protein raises insulin and increases fat storage

Protein consumption does cause a small rise in insulin levels. Insulin is necessary to help shuttle amino acids into muscle cells. The rise in insulin is nowhere near the rise that carbohydrates cause, but protein does cause a rise in insulin.

If someone is following a ketogenic diet as part of cancer therapy, to enhance endurance performance or to address significant blood sugar regulation issues, a higher-protein intake may temporarily take him or her out of ketosis.

For most people, even those with type II diabetes, the increase in insulin from protein is not significant compared to the benefits of the higher-protein intakes. If there was an issue, we would not consistently see the improvements in metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes that we see in research using higher-protein diets.

6. You only need the RDA for protein, which is 0.36 g/lb per day.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is amusingly small: 0.36 grams per pound body weight.

For a 150-pound adult, that would be 55 grams per day, about 8 ounces of lean meat.

While such a paltry amount of protein might be enough to sustain life, it’s certainly not enough to have achieve optimal levels of health and fitness, or to achieve a superior level of quality of life.

As Bosse and Dixon stated in their JISSN paper:

The “lay” recommendation to consume 1 g protein/lb of bodyweight/day (2.2 g/kg/day) while resistance training has pervaded for years. Nutrition professionals often deem this lay recommendation excessive and not supported by research. However, as this review shows, this “lay” recommendation aligns well with research that assesses applied outcome measures of strength and body composition in studies of duration > 4 weeks.[viii]


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Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1
Tom is the Senior Director of Fitness Strategy and Business Development at Life Time Fitness. He began his fitness career in 2001 as a personal trainer and played a number of roles at Life Time, including Senior Director of Nutrition and Weight Management. In that role, he helped evolve and develop Life Time’s lab testing, nutritional products, and nutrition coaching services, while also helping to launch the brand Life Time Weight Loss.

38 state 3.6.16

Don’t miss out on the chance to win prizes and get in shape at the same time!!!

Eventbrite - Lose Your Fatitude - Weight Loss Challenge

This is our 3rd Lose Your Fatitude Weight Loss challenge and we are looking for our next big winners! This time around we will be giving prizes to the Top Male, Top Female and Top Team who lose the greatest percentage of body weight. To register or start your team use the button above or below. For each friend your refer you will receive a FREE nutrition session!

Spring 16 Lose Your Fatitude (1)
Eventbrite - Lose Your Fatitude - Weight Loss Challenge

This challenge we will be giving prizes for the top Male and Female weight loss winners and top Team! If you would like to participate in the team challenge all you need is 3 friends. What better way to get in shape than with the help of your friends and family. Not enough friends to participate in the team challenge? No worries you can still participate as an individual or we can help you build a team.  Email or call 720-810-0230 for more information

Spring 16 Lose Your Fatitude (1)

Eventbrite - Lose Your Fatitude - Weight Loss Challenge


 Workout #4 is this Sunday, May 24th at 11:00am across from the Meadowood Recreation Center.
3054 S Laredo St, Aurora, CO 80013

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You can park in the south parking lot of the recreation center or on the street south of the recreation center.
Please feel free to bring your family or friends. There will be a babysitter on site if you would like to bring your children (we ask you donate $5 or so to our babysitter). Hope to see everyone there!!


 Workout #3 this Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Location: next to Englewood High School
Time: 11:00am
Feel free to bring your friends and family to join in the fun. A babysitter will be on site to help watch young children. We ask you donate $5 if you have children to help fund our sitter.


 Coming from the north:
         South on I-25 to the Hampden exit. Get off and go West (right). Go about 3.3miles to Clarkson Street and turn left. Immediately past the soccer fields take a right on Lehigh Street. 
    Coming from the south:
         North on 1-25 to the Hampden exit. Get off and go West (left). Go about 3.3 miles to Clarkson Street and turn left. Immediately past the soccer fields take a right on Lehigh Street. 
    Coming from the west:
         Head east on Hampden to Clarkson Street and turn right. Immediately past the soccer fields take a right on Lehigh Street. 
A great article on high intensity interval training used to help teach your body how to burn more fat.  Intensity can mean vastly different things to many people so please take into consideration your own fitness level and capability.  If you’re not already, try changing up your current routine just a bit, add a few of these types of intervals to your weekly workout routine.  Your modality(treadmill, elliptical, rower, outdoor hill sprints, etc.) does not matter.  Choose a type of cardio that you are comfortable with, and push yourself just that much harder that usual.  You can do anything for 30 seconds – CHALLENGE YOURSELF!
Do sprints to get healthier and lose fat without losing muscle. A new study shows that an effective short-sprint workout can be done in half the time required for an endurance running program, and it produces better results.
Sports scientists compared the effects of a 7-week short-sprint training program and an endurance program on various health markers and running performance. Participants were all recreational runners with equal health status.
The sprint interval program took less than half the training time of the endurance running protocol, which consisted of three 8-km workouts a week. The sprint program included 3 to 5 sets of short sprints (10, 20, or 30 seconds in length).
Results showed that the short-sprint group increased maximal oxygen uptake by 5 percent, reduced systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg, and lowered LDL cholesterol by a clinically significant amount. The endurance-training group had no improvements in any of these markers. In addition, the short-sprint group improved performance in a mile time trial by 6 percent whereas the endurance group had no change.
Researchers also measured markers of muscle adaptations to determine whether the workouts produced an environment that was anabolic so as to build muscle and improve body composition, or catabolic so as to degrade muscle.
The sprint triggered muscle protein synthesis, indicating that the high-intensity sprints can prevent loss of muscle tissue, which is particularly important if you want to get lean and keep the fat off. In contrast, the endurance group produced muscle protein breakdown, indicating that muscle and lean tissue is being lost as a result of the endurance training.
Sprints are your best bet if you want to be healthier, be leaner, and improve performance. They go well with a strength training program since both call on the anaerobic energy system to produce a better body composition.
Sprint training also produces adaptations that improve performance for activities that call on the aerobic energy systems, such as distance running, cycling, rowing, swimming, or soccer.
Bangsbo, J., Gunnarsson, T. The 10-20-30 Training Concept Improves Performance and Health Profile in Moderately Trained Runners. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Try a high-protein diet to decrease food cravings and optimize body composition. It is well known that a high-protein diet can help you lose fat and gain muscle, but it’s always good to be reminded, especially since high-protein eating is one of the easiest ways to sustain fat loss.
High-protein diets improve body composition for the following reasons:
Firstly, there’s the direct effect of thermogenesis on weight control. The more protein you eat, the greater the energetic cost necessary to incorporate each amino acid into lean tissue. In simple terms, this means that by eating protein-rich foods, your body burns significantly more calories than if you had eaten the same amount of fat or carbs.
Secondly, eating high-quality solid protein regularly throughout the day helps you decrease feelings of hunger. Studies show higher protein diets lead people to naturally eat fewer total calories. Thus, the feeling of fullness and satisfaction that protein provides decreases appetite.
The effect doesn’t just take place in your stomach though, it is also greatly influenced by the brain’s response and association to the experience of eating amino acid-rich foods. As soon as you put something in your mouth and swallow it, gut peptides send messages to the brain.
There is evidence that certain foods, carbohydrates in general, but especially sugary or salty foods, result in chemical messages to the brain that cause us to eat more and continue the “rewarding” or “pleasurable” experience of food.
By eating a high-protein diet, the opioid and GABA chemical messages are not active. This reduces the hyper-pleasurable response to food that triggers food intake, leading us to overeat.
It’s not that high-protein diets are not pleasurable. They are typically high in tryptophan—the amino acid that is a precursor for serotonin, which makes us feel good. Rather, high-protein diets are not addicting and they don’t cause us to binge or eat excessive amounts in the way that high-carb diets often do.
Finally, hormonal signals relative to the status of energy stores are lowered or elevated by the macronutrient content of food. Carbohydrates will elevate insulin dramatically but won’t raise leptin much.  Leptin is the hormone that inhibits hunger and elevates fat burning in the body. It is rather telling that the word “leptin” is Greek for “thin.”
Protein foods tend to raise leptin and decrease ghrelin, which is a hunger-stimulating hormone. They also help with insulin and moderate blood sugar management.
Here are take-away points that can help you be successful with a high-protein diet:
•    Plan meals carefully so that you get high-quality protein at every meal and for snacks.
•    Pair protein with slow-digesting carbohydrates, especially green vegetables.
•    Shoot for solid protein at meals and for snacks because solid protein has been shown to have a much more satiating effect than liquid protein. Save liquid protein shakes for workouts.
•    If you do take liquid protein before and after training, whey has been shown to blunt hunger more than casein because it is faster digesting, providing a massive influx of amino acid to the blood stream very quickly.
Fromentin, G., Darcel, N., et al. Peripheral and Central Mechanisms Involved in the Control of Food Intake by Dietary Amino Acids and Proteins. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.