In this article we are going to explain in the simplest and most visual way possible, everything you need to know about protein consumption to gain muscle and lose fat using science as a basic tool.
What are proteins for in our quest for a muscular body?
Within our body there is a process known as muscle protein balance, where new muscle protein is synthesized and old protein is broken down, this, as the name indicates, is generally in balance, that is, your muscles are maintained and do not grow. However, to gain muscle mass, what we are looking for is to be in an anabolic state, that is, there is more protein synthesis, and this happens when more protein is created and less degraded.
Now that we know that our goal is to increase protein synthesis, we must know that the two things that increase it the most are muscular resistance training, such as lifting weights, added to a diet with an adequate level of protein, and when we say adequate we must stop Of course, it should not be too little, nor should we exceed it. To better understand this, let’s move on to the next point.
How much protein should we consume?
To resolve this, we have a meta-analysis published in 2017, which analyzed 49 studies on the topic of protein consumption and its relationship with muscle mass gains. It was found that the consumption of 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight, which is what is usually recommended to the general population, is very little to see sufficient muscle growth, so if we want to maximize our gains It will be necessary to increase that range, where by reaching 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of weight we find an optimal consumption point for those of us who practice muscular resistance training and want to maximize gains.
It is important to emphasize that although the graph appears to have no improvements with higher consumption, the 1.6 grams per kilogram of weight is only a reference point and should not be seen as the universal limit, that is, it does not mean that if If you consume a little more you will no longer obtain any benefit. There are other meta-analyses where it has been found that consuming up to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day gives excellent results in maximizing muscle gain in many trained individuals.
There are even other studies that show how up to 2.7 grams of protein can help protect muscle in bodybuilders working on a competitive physique.
With all this information and seeing that the range can be quite wide, it is possible that many now wonder where in that range they should be, and for this we will review it in a very visual way, understanding that this is an idea and that to nothing is absolute, however, it can guide people with this doubt very well.
The point is to see protein consumption as a continuum, where we will start from 1.4 grams per kilogram of weight up to 2.8 grams, to have a fairly complete range. In turn, this continuum is divided into 2 subranges, one more oriented toward people who want to gain muscle mass and the other toward those seeking to lose fat.
The idea is to understand that by focusing on gaining muscle, due to the fact that we will be in a caloric surplus and this represents having more energy, it will make us have better workouts and even better quality of sleep, since we will be creating many favorable conditions to create new muscle tissue, therefore we don’t need as much protein. But when we talk about fat loss things change, since being in a caloric deficit our body will be subtracting energy from its reserves, so our muscle mass will be at risk, so we must force the conditions so that this does not happen, and That’s where the importance of having a higher protein intake comes in.
To complement the previous point, it is important to understand that the level of fat you have also has a great influence, because with a low level of fat, as in the case of bodybuilders, there will be more risk of losing muscle, so going to the upper limits consumption can be a good option, but on the contrary when you still have a lot of fat and you are a bit new, then it will not be necessary to increase consumption too much, since we will have many energy reserves in the body and the muscle will not be in so much risk.
In the same way, if we get to go beyond these ranges, there is no major problem, since various affirmations about any possible affectation to the organism have already been denied.
Protein powder supplements.
Now that we know what protein is for and in what quantities to consume it according to our objective, we can talk about protein powder supplements and their role in the diet.
Here it is key to understand that to reach our protein goal we must consume foods high in this macronutrient, such as meats, eggs, dairy products and legumes, to name the most common options. Therefore, it is necessary to have these foods in our diet with adequate portions to be able to meet the desired total protein during the day.
The idea with this is to understand that if you have no problem controlling all your meals and without complications you manage to meet the total protein directly from your diet, then there is no need to purchase a protein powder, since with your diet you will be completing your range perfectly.
But on the contrary, the further you move away from this perfect panorama of controlling your diet and protein, whether due to lack of time to prepare all your meals or because you end up consuming foods low in protein or do not usually consume meat and dairy, then in In this case, a protein powder can help us a lot, since in a simple and practical way we can add a good amount of protein, which in most of these supplements is usually around 20 to 30 grams per serving. So if, for example, you are on a diet of 140 grams of protein in your day, you will already have 30 grams from the supplement and you will only have to complete the remaining 110 grams through your normal diet and foods.
Let’s look at it this way, 30 grams of protein powder is very similar to about 150 grams of lean beef or chicken, or about 5 or 6 eggs, however it is much easier to consume since you just have to blend it and take it without Invest more time in your preparation.
Taking this into account, protein can also help you even if you are one of those who perfectly comply with their diet and daily requirements, since they can easily make their diet simpler by replacing some of their meals with a shake. In the end, the idea is that the diet is also simple and enjoyable to facilitate adherence and enhance results.
Another important point in favor of protein powder is that it is generally just that, pure protein per serving, with small amounts of carbohydrates and fat. So you will free yourself from many unnecessary calories from other macronutrients, which can be perfect for those who are in the process of losing fat and need to take maximum care of their calories.
To exemplify the above, suppose that instead of eating 5 eggs that have approximately 325 calories and about 27 grams of protein on average, you can opt for a shake with 27 grams of protein powder, which would barely have a fraction of the calories of eggs, thus avoiding nearly 200 extra calories.
How to choose a protein powder?
There is a lot of appreciation issues here, aspects such as flavor, price and the sensations when consuming it, and even the ease of acquiring it. All of that is very important.
For example, at the NEOFIT company, we develop a protein combining vegetable sources such as amaranth and rice, which apart from giving it a delicious flavor, provide a very complete formula in protein and amino acids, achieving an amount of 27 grams of protein for each serving. 35 grams, which makes it an excellent option. This of course has laboratory bromatological support, thus avoiding contributing to the protein deception that has been seen a lot in the world of supplements.
It is also likely that doubt arises about whether there is much difference between a vegetable protein and a whey protein in terms of effectiveness; it is known from scientific studies that there are no significant differences as long as they are quality proteins. So with this said you can choose the option that you prefer and best suits you.
In any case, we will be working on NEOFIT so that we will soon have a new version of 100% whey protein available, for those who prefer this option. You can review in more detail all the information about EON protein and the different presentations available here .
I hope that this information has allowed you to better understand this whole topic about protein powder supplements, and that of course you can apply it based on your goals, don’t forget to share it.