Thursday, September 16, 2010

Want to Burn More Fat? Eat More Protein.

It's a long standing urban myth (or should I say "gym myth") that by eating more protein you will burn off more fat. While it has in fact been established that a high protein diet helps to prevent loss of lean mass, the results a group of scientists from the Netherlands published in Physiology & Behavior indicate that a high protein intake per se stimulates exercise induced fat oxidation even if you consume a diet that is overall adequate in calories.

Soenen et al. (Soenen. 2010) investigated the effects a 3 month on a protein-rich vs. normal diet had on body composition of weight stable, healthy subjects (BMI 22 ± 2 kg/m2, age 25 ± 8y) :
The protein group (n = 12) increased protein intake (11 ± 14 g, P < 0.05) and had significantly higher daily protein intake vs. control (n = 4) (80 ± 21 vs.59 ± 11 g, P < 0.05). Fatmax increased significantly in the protein group (0.08 ± 0.08 g/min, P < 0.01). Fat-free mass increased independent of change in body weight (P < 0.01), and fat mass and fat percentage decreased (P < 0.05). Change in Fatmax was a function of change in protein intake (r = 0.623, P < 0.05), and not of changes in body composition or VO2max.
In view of the fact that some of you may experience difficulties with obtaining a high amount of quality protein from canteen food or whatever you are forced to eat. I suggest you consider buying a quality protein supplement, if you haven't already.

On a side note: While you still want to have you fast digesting whey immediately after workouts. It might be a good idea to complement these with a protein blend. My current favorite, by the way, is Gaspari's Myofusion: decent amino acid profile and fantastic taste.