Eat As Much Protein As You Want — You Won’t Gain Weight [Study]
CHUG. CHUG. CHUG. CHUG.
What if I told you that you could eat as much as you wanted and you wouldn’t gain any weight? As long as you’re chugging protein, that might very well be the case. And that’s in the face of the nebulous belief that engulfing too much protein leads directly to body fat storage.
It doesn’t. A new study published in April’s JISSN debunks the protein overdose theory, and more.
The experiment ran 8 weeks and split 30 resistance-trained men/women into two groups: an uber-high protein group and a control group. The high protein group was instructed to eat a megadose of protein — 4.4g per kg of bodyweight every day, averaged at 309 grams per day — while the control group maintained the same exact diet they were already following (they averaged 138g of protein per day). Protein came from a combo of whey and casein powders, on top of whole foods. All subjects continued the exact same training regimen throughout the study.
Concurrently, the high protein group ate significantly more calories; and not just from the inflated protein levels. Here’s how it all went down:
What happened? Absolutely nothing. Despite scarfing down an additional 800 calories per day, the test group didn’t gain any body fat. Their fat mass and body fat % dropped by an average of .44 lbs and .6%, respectively. Compare that to the lower calorie control group—they gained .7 lbs of fat mass, but decreased their BF% by .9%—and there was no difference whatsoever.
It gets better. The high protein group built significantly more muscle mass: +4.5 lbs vs. +2.9 lbs in the control group. WITHOUT GAINING FAT. Keep your protein intake jacked up — it’s a viable tactic to inflate calories and accelerate muscle gain without the usual bulk-phase fat explosion.
And if building muscle isn’t your primary objective, just shift a few of your carb-calories over to the protein side. You’ll shrink, in a tight-and-toned sort of way.
So go ahead, down a little extra protein to take the edge off. It’s on the house.
Make Protein Your Dietary Backbone
All of this science-y gobbledygook leads to one of our quintessential lean rules: always make protein the centerpiece of your meals. It has the power to completely revamp your entire diet.
Not only does protein quench appetite and support lean muscle growth, it’s metabolically efficient — meaning it burns significantly more calories through digestion than carbs or fat do (via thermogenesis). It also actively mitigates the insulinogenic effects of carbs and sugar. That slows digestion and keeps blood sugar levels from skyrocketing, which reduces the propensity of whatever you’re eating to store as body fat.
Eat eggs with breakfast. Chug a whey shake as a snack. Combine incomplete proteins — like with peanut butter and wheat bread. Make fish or chicken the core of your dinner, and then accessorize it with veggies, fats, grains, beans, and lean carbs. Max out on protein-dense, calorie-devoid green veggies (spinach, broccoli rabe, and asparagus). Sink your spoon into a tub of Icelandic yogurt.
There are eight bazillion possibilities. We’ve got recipes, too. Get creative and stuff your face — you really can’t overdo it, especially as a hunger buster.
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto.
I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP
, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid
, and all-around fitness junkie.
I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine
When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses
and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
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