Im going a bit geeky today about protein.

With so many contradictions out there in terms of your nutrition it’s easy to get confused.

Low Carb v Low Fat, which is best for weight loss?

Should I take protein shakes?

Is too much protein bad for you?

In terms of weight loss both low carb and low fat can work, it’s the overall total calories that count.

Personally I think it’s easier to overeat when consuming too many processed carbohydrates (high carb).

I am not a carbophobe but think the source and timing of your carbohydrates are more important for weight loss and feeling good (more on this next blog).

Of all the studies carried out on both successful low carb and low fat diets the consistent element was a high protein content.

What is a high protein content you might ask?

The recommended daily allowance RDA  set by the government is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight each day.

Don’t get me started on the government guidelines for nutrition, like everything else they are always way off the mark.

The International Society Of Sports Nutrition ISSN position stand takes a different view:

Protein intakes of 1.4 – 2.0 grams per kg of body weight per day for physically active individuals is not only safe, but may improve the training results.

When part of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, protein intakes at this level are not detrimental to kidney function or bone metabolism in healthy, active persons.

Supplemental protein in various forms are a practical way of ensuring adequate and quality protein intake (hold that thought).

Additionally a very recent study by Jose Antonio (2014) goes a little further and actually shows that even with a very high protein diet, subjects had no adverse effects or weight gain.

The group consumed 4.4g/kg/day of protein which is 5.5 times the recommended daily allowance, and still never increased their body fat, even though their total calories was higher.

You can check out the study here: http://www.jissn.com/content/11/1/19

Additional benefits of eating more protein is that it will keep you fuller for longer, stop you eating excess calories from carbs and fats, maximise your recovery and improve your results.

So basically even if you overshoot and overeat on your protein requirements it won’t have any adverse effects… (note it’s not a free pass to eat your bodyweight in Nandos)

Heres the thing, most women are not even hitting anywhere near their requirement, which means they are filling up on other sources (carbs and fats) which generally have a higher calorie content.

Ok so by now your maybe starting to realise the reason we advise you to eat protein at every meal but how do you know if your getting enough?

A good target for our members would be to aim for 2g/kg/day so for Maria weighing in at 70kg (11 stone) her target would be 140g per day. (aiming for the higher target gives you some wriggle room and ensures your at least hitting 1.4g/kg/day)

But what exactly does 140g of protein look like?

(note 100g of chicken does not equal 100g of protein)

Canned Tuna = 20g (84kcal)

2 x Chicken Breast = 40g (182kcal)

3 Eggs = 20g (225kcal)

Ground Beef = 20g (196kcal)

Small Greek Yoghurt = 20g (111kcal)

2 x Small Tesco Brazil Nuts = 17.5g (826kcal) or 1 x Whey Protein Shake = 20g (83kcal)

Now this is a lot of food to eat just make sure your hitting your daily protein requirements, most women would definitely struggle, never mind trying to fit in your healthy carbs and fat requirements.

This is where protein supplementation comes into play, in the form of a protein shake, it allows you to still hit your daily requirements and actually keeps your calories in check.

Caution in order to get less than 20 grams from a few handfulls of brazil nuts (in the pic) you would have to consume 826 calories (this is more calories than all of the other foods combined).

You can get the same amount of protein from a nice chocolate (or whatever flavour you like) whey shake for less than 100 calories!!!

Yep so your basically getting more bang for your buck from the protein shake while keeping your calories in check (remember that weight loss is determined by your total overall calories).

At Reactive Training we try to stay away from the whole calorie counting and focus on sensible flexible nutrition, it doesn’t seem sensible to me to eat half your daily allowance from a handful of nuts 😉

Protein shakes are used to supplement your nutrition plan and should not be confused with those nasty herbalife / juiceplus meal replacement rubbish.

So having protein at every meal with a few protein shakes ensures your hitting your requirements while keeping your calories in check to support weight loss.

(tuna, turkey, chicken breast, white fish and seafood like scallops or shrimps) are the best sources of protein for weight loss as they provide the “leanest” sources of protein with the fewest carbs and calories.

I already know that quite a few of the members are intolerant to milk and dairy which rules out whey protein, not to worry there are lots of great quality alternatives such as rice, hemp, pea and even beef protein powder (it doesn’t taste of beef).

There are lots of places to buy, most supermarkets are often very overinflated in price.

I use http://www.bulkpowders.co.uk/ they have a great selection and are reasonably priced (the chocolate whey also tastes great).

If you use the code RC114778 you can save £5 off your first order 😉

Take away points:

Are you eating enough protein, to support your goals?

Are you eating protein at every meal?

Is it worth looking at supplementation?

Robert “Whey” Clarkson

P.S. A scoop of chocolate whey mixed in your porridge in the morning not only tastes great but helps get your intake up 😉

P.P.S. Before considering supplementation you have to first sort your nutrition, that’s why everyone starts with our 28 day challenge 😉