Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Here is an email I recently wrote to a friend of mine, in response to her question "How much protein does your body really need?"

Very interesting word choice, to use "need."

The question of "how much protein does your body need" is very different from "How much protein should I consume to optimize body composition and athletic performance."

You're a researcher. You know that the word "need" is in no way associated with optimization. Researchers look to the minimum necessary to prevent death.

So when someone asks me how much protein they need, they're actually asking me "What's the minimum amount of protein I can get away with to prevent wasting away and eventual death?"

Now, 90% of people I consult with are eating less protein than I'd recommend. So I can stimulate results by simply increasing protein intake while making a few concomitant (Is that the word I want?) changes to fats and carbs.

Here's the short list of why we need more protein to optimize body composition and performance:

1. Increased auxiliary nutrients
2. Increased nitrogen state
3. Increased protein turnover - (I'm writing a manual on how the greater your body's turnover, the better your body composition)
4. Greatly improved weight loss profile - (This could be a list by itself, everything under this heading)
5. Reduced cardiovascular risk - (You can also reduce heart disease risk by replacing carbohydrate calories with fat calories)
6. Increased IGF-1 - (You spare muscle when restricting calories)
7. Increased TEF - (It takes more calories to digest protein)
8. Increased glucagon - (greater fat loss during dieting)

I'd prefer not to have any dairy products in my weight loss clients' diets, with the exception of whey protein. Milk greatly increases the inflammation in the body, which is one of the biggest health problems in America. (Wheat sucks too)

In my actual classes, I make an exception for whey protein supplements, because if you tried to get all of your protein from meat alone, you'd probably have a gut like a hippo and a butcher bill that looks like a ransom note.

(Figure competitors trimming down for competition or models for a shoot, they get almost all whole food protein. They are eating so little that I want their diets to be as satisfying as possible. If your entire breakfast consists of one piece of turkey bacon, a dice-sized piece of havarti, and a half cup of spinach, you want to savor every nibble.)

I'm working on a plan that will allow lighter clients (mostly women) to eat only four times a day, like I do for figure competitors. If your diet calls for 1300 kcals/day, and you're supposed to eat 7 times, each "meal" is less than 200kcals. boo to that!

But if you can break it into four chunks, that's something like 325kcals each, which is doable.

Ah well, enough from me.

Buck Buck To The Bang,


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