Protein serves as a central component of your medical weight loss plan. When we design your nutrition strategy, you will learn that you need to eat a certain amount of protein each day, to support your body’s needs and keep your metabolism burning. So does that mean you should just focus on that number, and fit protein into your day in whatever way is most convenient? Can you just eat a steak or large piece of salmon, and you’re done?
Well, maybe not. As it turns out, when you eat your protein might be just as important as how much protein you eat.
Some studies have shown that as we get older, our ability to absorb and use protein can decline. One such study showed that there appeared to be no benefit in eating 40 grams of protein at a meal, versus just 20 grams. If the body cannot process more than about 20 grams of protein at a time, the excess will simply be stored as fat – like any other calorie.
But when you spread out your protein intake throughout the day, you could reap greater benefits. In fact, one study showed that consuming protein every three hours, versus every six hours, increased muscle gain in those engaged in a weight training regimen. This conclusion was true even though the amount of protein consumed by each group was the same! So yes, it appears that simply setting a macro goal for protein isn’t quite enough; staggering protein intake throughout the day will lead to better results.
As for that muscle tissue: It’s important because as you add muscle to your frame, you also increase your metabolism. This means that even when you’re working or sleeping, your body is burning through more calories just to maintain itself. And boosted metabolism is definitely one significant key to your medical weight loss plan!
And of course, eating protein throughout the day helps you to feel full and prevents cravings for the types of less-healthy foods that you should avoid.
To discuss your protein goals in more detail, call us to schedule an appointment. We can get you on an effective medical weight loss plan, or simply help you learn how to maintain your new weight after a loss.