Want to lose body fat and keep it off? Well I have a magic pill. I’m not kidding. There is one thing that will take the fat off you with no dangerous side effects or hard work.
Usually, my discussions with clients proceed like this: Most clients want to lose fat. I tell them that to do this successfully — to lose fat and keep it off — requires a lifestyle change. That change primarily includes choosing different foods consistently. It also requires good sleep hygiene, stress management, and some amount of exercise.
But it’s really not that complicated. We usually talk about sleep and stress and exercise because lacking good process with these things makes the thing that REALLY matters harder to do.
My mantra with everyone is MORE PROTEIN!
- You can’t really eat too much
- It improves body composition *regardless* of total calories consumed (you’ll lose fat and gain muscle)
- Everything in your body is made from the stuff. Even your bones. Did you know? We think about calcium when we think bones, but calcium is simply laid on the protein matrix that compose your bones.
I have a client who is a scientist with a phenomenal mind. She’s also a millennial and struggling financially. She can’t afford protein. I get it! Carbohydrates are cheap and satisfying. I was there once. I was also obese. Now, I can eat steak every day, but it wasn’t always that way.
There are good cheaper protein sources. All the ones in the picture are less than $1/serving.
- The best is the sardines with good protein and fats, too. Sardines are not farmed so no PCBs and they’re a small fish so have little mercury.
- Eggs are even better in some ways, but plenty of people have autoimmune reactions to them. I think of whole eggs as nature’s vitamin.
- If the whey concentrate is troublesome for your gut, try isolate, but it’s less effective.
- Forgo plant protein powders of all kinds. You’re wasting lots of money on poorly absorbed proteins. Plant protein has low bioavailabilty, not to mention every kind (but soy, but don’t think that makes it a good choice) is not even complete, meaning it does not provide all the amino acids we need.
- Most protein advocates will expand this list to include beans, peanut butter, and grains. I think I’d learn to love sardines before I did that to my body, but we all have to make our own choices
But the question you must ask is: How important is eating cheap empty carbohydrates to you? Are you unwilling to never eat breads, pastas, chips, crackers, cookies, and other sweetened foods? .
At one point about 10 years ago, I had to decide how fat I was willing to be for the pleasure and convenience of carbohydrates. Because that’s all carbohydrate foods give us, energy that is used within two hours or stored as fat. Carbohydrates as a macronutrient provide no other nutritional value (some, like vegetables, carry micronutrients with them, but you can get all those from your animal sources, too). Carbohydrates do not build muscle or organs or hormones. Those structures require proteins and fats, all the macronutrients you need. And if you’re eating whole food sources of meat and fat, you’re getting complete micronutrients, too.
Here’s the magic pill: eat all the protein you want. If you’re hungry at any time, eat/drink protein. Protein is your dessert, your snack, your meal. No kidding.
Making protein into fat is tough for your body to do. And your body doesn’t need to. Amino acids from protein digestion can float around in your blood for 4-6 hours, and if your body doesn’t utilize them, you’ll excrete them in urine or heat. This is decidedly NOT the case with glucose from carbohydrate digestion. Your body has to get rid of that poison (glucose is sugar) within two hours because it can damage your organs.
There is plenty of literature on high protein diets done by protein researchers primarily for sports, which is why they don’t hit the mainstream media (who are obligated to corporate sponsors that profit mostly from high-margin carbohydrate products). The work of Jose Antonio is fascinating. For example, subjects who ate MORE calories and also MORE protein lost MORE fat.
Don’t take my word for it. Read, damnit.