The Essential Reasons to Stop Believing Protein is Bad For You
The world of nutrition can be so confusing.
First ‘they’ say one thing, then another, then another, and then we go back to the beginning again…it’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and scream.
One of the bits of information circulating lately that’s causing a fuss is that protein, and especially meat, is linked to cancer and other deadly diseases. That definitely sounds scary, don’t you think?
But, is it time to give up your protein for the rest of time?
First of all, the research has not done a good job of tying meat or protein intake to disease at all (we will be releasing an in-depth piece that examines the research soon). Suffice it to say, Hybrid doesn’t agree that the scare tactics about protein intake have much scientific merit.
Protein has been proven safe and nutritious in healthy populations…and has only been associated with disease in populations that have existing health issues like organ disease or are already unwell due to poor lifestyle factors (smoking, obesity, drinking, being inactive). This is not the protein’s fault, it’s the outcome of an underlying or emerging health condition.
BUT…what research has shown effectively is that protein intake directly affects weight loss in a positive way, meaning that the more protein in the diet (when compared to carbohydrates and fats), the better the weight loss results.
Protein is the nutrient that is most likely to aid in the building of muscle in your body, and more muscle means higher metabolism and less body fat! (Don’t worry ladies, this doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up like a dude.)
And, protein is less likely to convert into stored fat when compared to carbohydrates and fats.
So, if you want to lose weight, you want to eat protein!
Now of course there’s a caveat here. When it comes to protein consumption I am certainly not suggesting that it’s a ‘free for all’ and that you should eat as much of whatever kind of meat or protein you want.
No, no, no.
If you overeat any category of food, you will gain weight, not lose it, not to mention the other health consequences that may follow…
BUT you do want to ensure you’re consuming an average of 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day.
- If you are considerably overweight, you will want to use the lower end of the calculation (around 0.6 grams per lb), and
- If you are leaner with less weight to lose, you’ll want to be closer to the 0.8 grams per lb range.
AND of course, lean sources of protein are best for weight loss. So, for your main proteins try to stick to:
- skinless chicken breasts and thighs, white fish, crustaceans (shrimp and crab etc.), eggs and egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and whey powder, OR
- the vegan alternatives: beans, legumes, some nuts and seeds, and vegan protein replacements and shakes.
Ground meats, fatty cuts (usually red meats), and nut butters should be avoided when you are trying to lose weight. These aren’t inherently ‘bad’ foods, but they are high in fat which makes it difficult to control your caloric intake.
So, to answer the question at hand: NO, protein is not bad for you.
In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight you should probably be increasing your protein consumption, not decreasing it. Take note of what you’re eating each day and adjust your protein intake according to the guidelines above.
Tell us in the comments below: if protein is good for weight loss, does this mean fat is bad?