Fat Loss Success Series: Protein - The Building Block For Fat Loss Success

Protein is a key component of muscle, bone, skin and hair. When we think of muscles, it’s not just about those biceps in the gym, it's also about your heart and your digestive tract. Consuming enough protein across a day is really important for more than just building muscle.

When you consume protein, your body breaks it down into its individual amino acids which are then stored in a ‘pool’ of amino acids in the body. These amino acids are our body’s building blocks and your body will draw upon this body of amino acids to produce the proteins and molecules that it needs to function day to day.

Our individual protein needs vary depending on who we are and what we do. Some factors that may influence your requirements include:

  • Your age - as you age, you may need more protein

  • Your sex - men often need more protein than women

  • Your current training routine

  • Your goals eg weight loss or muscle gain

  • Whether you are following a plant based diet - if so, you’ll likely need to consume more protein foods.

When we talk about protein requirements, we talk about it in terms of grams of protein per kilo of body weight. This helps us to somewhat individualise your protein requirements just based on how much you weigh.

For example if you weigh 70kg and we say that you need 2g per kg, you’ll need to aim for 140g of protein across a day.

We used to just care about the total amount of protein in a day, however, now, the research is supporting a protein intake goal per eating occasion. We are finding that distribution is actually an important factor. Eating your protein in smaller doses across a day is better than consuming it in a single meal at night. To this, I like to aim for 0.4g of protein every 4 hours to make best use of the protein you are consuming.

So if you weigh 70kg, you’ll be looking to consume around 28g of protein at each meal.

As we age, our body isn’t able to digest or utilise our dietary protein quite as well - this pattern is called ‘protein resistance’. This means that as we age, we may actually require higher doses of protein at our meals. So rather than 0.4g/kg at each meal, we might be looking at the 0.5g/kg mark.

Lastly, on the topic of protein for today, is protein quality. Not all sources of dietary proteins are equal and protein quality very simply refers to how well a protein can perform it’s metabolic role in the body. 2 of the key factors that can affect this is the availability of particular amino acids and also the digestibility of the protein.

There is much to talk about on this point, however, very simply, animal sources of protein tend to be of higher quality and plant sources tend to be of a lower quality. Does that mean that we should never consume plant sources of protein? No! Plant proteins have been associated with many health benefits, however, it is important to note that if you are consuming a plant-based meal, I’d recommend consuming a larger portion of protein than you normally would.

So we know that we all have very different protein requirements, however, as a starting point, I recommend consuming 0.4g of protein per kg of your body weight every 4 hours (or at each meal and snack).

If you are an older wiser adult or following a plant-based diet, you may need a little more protein at these meals.

We'd like to kindly thank Hannah from All Bodies Services for the content of this blog. We are grateful to have an incredible partnership with Hannah & her team of expert Nutritionist's and Dietitian's to guide our members on their journey with food.