Protein Facts: Are You Confused?

Learn these 6 protein facts for consistent weight loss.

Before we get to the protein facts, I just have to tell you this story……

A client of mine came in this week and was proud to tell me that she lost 5 lbs. this week. 

I asked her “how did you do it?”

She said she has been eating “Detox type foods” or foods high in protein, veggies, fats and some fruit with minimal carbs.

Great!!! I was happy for her and she was happy. 

Then……she told me she was able to do this by joining Jenny Craig. 

She needed to have the nutrition part handled for her.  She was constantly confused by what she had to eat and how to prepare it and what foods to put with what foods, tracking them, charting them, preparing them, etc.

Then she was telling me how surprised she was at HOW MUCH FOOD she had to eat.

2000 calories per day (which is accurate with her current weight.)

Then she was even more surprised at HOW MUCH PROTEIN she needed to eat.

She said she was full all the time……she wasn’t hungry for the other stuff.

I am happy for her …… if this is working for her then this is a good thing.

But I had to ask her this question…….Is the Jenny Craig way of eating any different than how I told you to eat?  How I taught you to plan your meals?

Her answer was “No…’s just how you have been telling me.”

But…..for her it’s easy….it’s all packaged up and she feels in control. 

This story brings up 2 BIG PROTEIN FACT ISSUES:

1.       The disconnect between KNOWING and DOING.

We KNOW what to eat…..we know we should be eating protein, healthy fats, veggies, etc. but we have a very hard time creating the KNOW into the ACTION on a CONSISTENT BASIS.

2.       The importance of DIETARY LEAN PROTEIN in a weight loss journey.

My client is paying upwards of $140 PER WEEK to have her foods packaged and planned for her and you know what the magic number is in her Jenny Craig foods? 


Almost every successful diet includes higher than normal amounts of consumed protein.

  • Paleo – high protein and healthy fats
  • Meditteranean – high protein and healthy fats
  • South Beach – high protein and healthy fats

And the list can go on………

You don’t see many diets that are HIGH CARB.  Some vegan diets come out to be accidently high carb if you are not a savvy vegan dieter.  But even savvy vegans understand the need for protein and they get it in the form of seitan, tofu, beans, etc.

So here is where I challenge you, as I did another client just last night… focus on getting your protein needs right and for it to become NORMAL.

But how much protein should you have?

According to Tom Venuto, world renowned fat loss expert and natural competitive bodybuilder:

  • People who are already lean or who have body fat levels near the average range should prescribe protein by pounds of TOTAL body weight.
  • People who are overweight or have high body fat who know their body fat percentage can use the grams per pound of LEAN body weight or the pounds of TARGET body weight method.
  • People who are overweight or have high body fat who do NOT know their body fat percentage (and lean mass), should use the grams per pound of TARGET body weight method.

Minimum grams per pound suggested is 0.8 to 0.9 grams per pound upwards to 1 gram - 1.5 grams per pound.  

I use 1 gram per pound of bodyweight of TOTAL body weight… I eat between 120-130 grams of protein PER DAY.

I divide that by 4 or 5 meals per day which is about 20-30 grams of protein PER MEAL. 

Do the math for your body's  A LOT more protein than you are currently getting.

SOURCE: Tom Venuto, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle


protein foods

Now let’s talk science…….and why your protein intake needs to the first macronutrient you learn to manage.

New studies are showing that protein needs are higher than originally thought.

·         When in a calorie deficit – the need for protein may actually GO UP in order to protect against muscle loss.  Protein needs are proportional to body weight and NOT calorie intake.

·         Protein should be eaten at every meal instead of consuming the bulk of protein during one meal.  So if you need 120 grams of protein per day you should shoot for 20-30 grams per meal if eating 4-5 meals per day.

·         Most adults consume less than 10 grams of protein at breakfast and more at dinner but are still coming up short.  The quantity and quality of protein at each individual meal is IMPORTANT.  This means it should come from a LEAN PROTEIN SOURCE like eggs, chicken, fish, cottage cheese.

·         Protein assists in weight loss efforts in that it MAKES YOU FEEL FULL.  It has a high satiety level but protein also has a high THERMIC EFFECT meaning that your body has to work harder to break it down and digest it which = higher metabolic rate overall.

·         The problem with current guidelines is that they don’t provide allowances for certain circumstances like resistance training and protecting muscle mass during a calorie deficit).

·         Diets with more protein that the RDA allowance provides benefits such as: prevention of obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia.

Protein for women and why it's so important

Women tend to crave carbs.....their husbands, well, they crave MEAT.

A woman's typical breakfast is yogurt, a bagel, cereal with MAYBE a hard boiled egg.

Not nearly enough protein to get the job done......especially as we get past the age of 40.

Women's need for protein increases as we age and many women are still stuck eating the same amount of carbs as we did when we were in our 20's - but....your body cannot metabolize it as well. We simply do not have the hormones necessary to metabolize all those carbs!!!

According to an article in Today's Dietician,  this protein fact states that as women age they actually need to INCREASE their protein amount to about 30 grams PER MEAL and to be sure that it is evenly distributed throughout the day (rather than taking the bulk in at dinner time).   

Plus, increased protein intake helps to promote muscle-protein synthesis which in turn helps to repair, rebuild and maintain skeletal muscle.

Proteins ability to protect muscle mass helps a woman to maintain her muscle density which will help her ability to burn fat.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for women to know their protein facts and what will work for them as they age.

I have seen clients benefit from protein in many ways:

  • build and maintain muscle density easier
  • help repair any persistent injuries 
  • stabilize blood sugar to help avert those nasty carb cravings
  • give a feeling of fullness so we are not pantry raiding
  • provide the stamina needed to get through more difficult workouts so we CAN burn the fat

Now you have solid protein facts - all you need to do is put it into action.

Set a simple goal and aim to get an adequate amount of protein with each meal - especially breakfast!!

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Related Pages:

Related Pages:

"A High Protein Lunch That Your Waist and Wallet Will Love"

"All About Diet Food Protein"

"Five Best Protein Powder Brands for Less than $1.00 Per Serving"

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