I recently made chocolate protein pancakes.
Here’s the story. Recently, my sister and I decided to look further into the Paleo Diet.
In a nutshell, the Paleo Diet allows us to eat anything void of processed carbohydrates and sugars in any shape and form. In other words, oats is not considered Paleo friendly, which left me and my sister a little lost at breakfast time (we can’t live without rolled oats in the morning…). So, for awesome fun and excitement, we decided to look online and check out recipes for Paleo pancakes and will take turn making them.
The first was simple and it was my sister’s. She combined two eggs with one large banana and cooked in on a skillet.
The second was mine. And it turned out quite amazing. Here’s how it looked like.
The chocolate protein pancakes.
To my horror, and after spending time and effort to look for recipes and making the pancakes, my sister refused to eat it. Her reason? It’s got protein powder in it and she didn’t want to ‘grow big’. I was a little stumped for words — but I realised too that it’s not her fault. I bet if I made it and gave it to my circle of non-fitness friends, they too would probably not eat it.
That is why, today, I will be teaching you everything you need to know about proteins — not much the protein powder side of things, but more about the things you didn’t know about proteins for weight loss. You ready?
WTF ARE PROTEINS?
Before we get into applying protein for weight loss, let me explain to you what exactly are proteins.
Proteins are basically organic molecules in our body which is made up of amino acids — the building blocks of life. The amino acids are joined together chemically and folded into three-dimensional shapes for various functions in the body. Turned of yet? That’s all you have to know. (Or not…)
Essential amino acids vs conditionally essential vs non-essential amino acids
Further, amino acids (i.e. the stuffs that makes protein) can be divided into the essential ones, that is those that our body cannot produce by itself and non essential, which is literally the opposite and can be produced by our body. We also have the conditionally essential amino acids which the body can produce in certain circumstances such as stress.
There are a total of 19 amino acids present, all of which have different functions and uses although some kinda overlaps.
You don’t have to know all these in details but it’s good to know and knowledge is the power I value a lot above most things. The list below shows the 19 amino acids according to their groups.
What are proteins important for?
Good question. Apart from weight loss which will be explained deeper later, protein is very important for our body’s physiological functioning, including but not limited to — growth and repair of old worn out cells, transportation of various substances and producing new cells.
In fact, protein is responsible in making new molecules like enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters. Therefore, without adequate protein, our body cannot function well at all.
When we consume protein, our body break them down into amino acids which is then stored around our body into these things called amino acids pools. It is important to keep our pools stocked up and continuously replenished from dietary proteins (especially those essential ones which can’t be made by our body).
That is why it is so important to think about proteins when we eat.
Now that we’ve got the basics of protein sorted out, here are the things you probably didn’t know about them when it comes to weight loss.
1. Women, you will not become Incredible Hulk by eating more protein.
My lady friends, just like weight lifting, eating proteins will not turn you into an Incredible Hulk. It’s definitely okay to order your sandwich with more chicken or beef. If you’re worried you’re going to look like your husband/brother/male cousin, you shouldn’t. The reason why they grew ‘big’ is not directly due to protein or even weight lifting. It’s because our male counterparts has higher testosterone hormones in the body.
We still have testosterone, yes, but in minute amounts that is not enough to make us look ripped and that muscular. Wait what? You’re asking me about Miss Olympia? Oh yeah that’s true. She is kinda big. That’s because she is training and eating in specific and very controlled amounts of food needed for her competition, along with certain supplements, to look that way.
As long as you’re not doing that, you’ll be fine and I assure you will not grow huge.
2. Protein increases metabolism.
Metabolism is the body’s chemical processes that is needed to maintain life. The higher metabolism we have, the more calories we burn at rest. There are several ways to increase our body’s metabolic rate — weight lifting is one of it. The more muscle we have the more calories we will be burning at rest. Another way? By eating more protein.
A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has shown evidence that diets with higher protein intake and reduced carbohydrates intake can lead to a more successful fat loss as it provides a metabolic advantage during restricted energy intakes. The study also shows that increasing protein intake can help limit the loss of muscle.
What this simply means is that, by consuming more protein, you will be losing more weight from your stored body fat as opposed to muscle and I think that’s awesome.
3. Eat protein at breakfast.
Having a protein-packed breakfast can make you feel fuller for longer — which means you’ll tend to eat lesser throughout the day (Note – lesser; not simply skipping meals.) A study done by the University of Columbia – Missouri studied subjects who skipped breakfast, those who had 350 calories worth of eggs and lean beef and those who had 350 calories worth of cereal. The subjects that had the high-protein breakfast reported to have better control of food cravings and reduced snacking of high-fat and high sugar foods in the evenings.
In simpler terms, this will reduce your chance of going into the pantry for that packet of Pop Tarts and ultimately sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Now I’m not telling you to start eating grilled chicken breast or lean beef at 7am. I don’t do that either. If you’re used to having cereal for breakfast, try having one egg to go with it. The whole point is to cultivate a habit which you can use for a long time coming. Do it slowly and over time your body will get used to having that extra boost of protein in the mornings, increasing your chances of weight loss.
4. We need a small amount of protein to survive but much more to thrive.
How much protein we need will depend on several factors. In order for our body to survive and function physiologically normal, we really only need about 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight. For a 60kg person, that equates to about 48g of protein per day and honestly that’s NOT a lot. 100grams of grilled chicken breast contains about 25g of good quality protein.
However, in order for us to thrive, especially if we’re lifting weights and wanting to lose weight, 1.4 to 2.0grams of protein per kg of bodyweight is optimal for good immune function, metabolism, satiety and weight management.
While this may seem a lot right out the box, take it one step at a time. Instead of increasing protein intake by that much, focus on having a serve of protein at every meal. Remember we don’t eat grams of food. We eat food. Forget the number. Just eat and eat properly.
5. Protein is best consumed after your workout.
In order to maximise protein absorption by the body for optimal weight loss, protein is best consumed after your workout when your body is sensitive to any sort of food. Here’s what happens after we workout, in very very simple terms.
1. You train and do some weight lifting.
2. Your body will breakdown protein (catabolise). In other words it will breakdown our hard earned muscles which is not what we want.
3. In the 48 hour window after training, our body can also synthesise protein (i.e. rebuild our muscles).
4. Feeding ourselves with protein immediately after workout will put our body into a positive state of muscle protein balance – helping our muscles recover and grow, leading to a greater rate of metabolism in the long run.
Don’t let your hard work go down the drain. Feed yourself post workout and see better weight loss results.
6. Protein from plant and animal sources works equally well.
Good news for our vegetarian and vegan friends – protein from both plant and animal sources works equally well in increasing muscle synthesis as a result from exercise. If you don’t like eggs or beef or chicken for any reason or if you can’t have them, here’s a list of protein derived from plant sources.
7. High amount of protein does not harm the kidneys.
Contrary to popular beliefs, consuming high amounts of protein in healthy individuals do not harm the kidneys. A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism studied highly trained athletes and bodybuilders with medium to high protein intake to see if it does cause any harm in renal tissues. It turned out that protein intake as high as 2.8grams per kilogram of bodyweight does not impair renal function in well-trained athletes.
What this simply means is that if you’re training well and frequently, you shouldn’t worry about having corrupted kidneys due to the high amounts of protein you’re consuming. Your muscles and body needs it.
My advice? Stick to the general guidelines of about 1.4-2.0grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and see those fats melt faster than butter in a high watt microwave.
8. You can still put on weight if you eat too much protein.
Now listen up, no matter what you eat or drink (except for perhaps, water), if you have too much of it and your body don’t need it, you can still put on weight and/or you won’t end up losing weight. At the end of the day, how much you lose will depend on how much you eat. If you’re eating more than what your body require, you will put on some kilos even if it’s lean organic chicken breast and free-range eggs.
I’m shedding some light here to tell you that there’s nothing to be afraid of with protein but that doesn’t mean you have to eat as much protein as you possibly can.
My philosophy is simple. Just eat whole natural foods and limit the processed sugary stuffs. As much as you shouldn’t be afraid of carbs, you shouldn’t be scared of having protein either.
Yes, protein will keep you fuller for longer, it will increase your metabolism and can increase your chances of achieving successful weight loss but too much anything can kill your efforts.
Here’s to you…
You probably started off reading this article afraid of protein but after reading this you’re not anymore — and that’s great!
If you want to increase your protein intake for a more successful weight loss here’s what I suggest you do:
– Have protein for breakfast. It can be a couple of eggs or some cottage cheese.
– Slowly increase your protein intake daily. If you’re not used to having protein at all (and yes it is possible especially if you’re from where I was from), try and have a serve of protein at every meal and start small. Build healthy habits the momentum will roll.
– Eating too much of anything can sabotage you and your efforts so stay informed.
– Lastly, believe in yourself. That is possibly the most important aspect of weight loss and one that you should really count on. Changes takes time and you will get there. It is the sum of your repeated efforts so don’t give up. Stay the course and you will get there.
What is your favourite protein food? Do you currently have protein for breakfast? If so, what do you have? Do you have any misconceptions about protein?
Share it with me and the community in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, feel free to post it below to and I will respond. :)
Have a great weekend pretty awesome people.