Protein needs in fat loss

For the fat-loss phase, one needs 1.2 to 3.4 g of protein per kg of body weight daily. There are three separate ranges within this band.

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Executive Summary Video

Proteins help our body perform many functions including muscle, bone, and skin building. They also help in immunity and digestion, which includes the making of hormones and enzymes.

Proteins have a role in weight and fat loss. They help in reducing appetite by keeping us full longer. They increase our calorie burn rate by raising our metabolism.

We need to consume more protein than normal during the fat loss phase. There are two types of people who want to lose fat:

  1. People who are obese or overweight:
    Such people have relatively sluggish metabolisms. They have a higher tendency to store fat than build muscles (that is, directly store protein). They need 1.2 to 1.5 g of protein per kg of their body weight daily.
  2. People who are lean but need to lose fat:
    Such people may be wanting to look more cut-up or be more competitive in their sport. Such people need to retain muscle mass while losing fat. So they need even higher dietary protein intake. They are advised 1.6 to 2.4 g of protein per kg of their body weight on a daily basis.
  3. Athletes and Heavy Lifters:
    This is a very small category of people who need to perform at top-level of competitiveness. International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) advise 2.2 to 3.4 g of protein per kg of their body weight daily for such people.

My Views

  1. These are the recommended protein intakes for optimal health. The bare minimum requirement or RDA still lies between 0.8 to 1.0 g of protein a day per kg of body weight.
  2. While the protein requirement for fat loss in lean people appears higher, one should note that obese people can be 30% more in weight than lean ones for the same height and ideal weight. Since the protein needs are specified per kg of body weight, 2 g per kg for a lean person is 1.5 g per kg for an obese person.
  3. Many top sports people have professional dietitians helping them with their diet. So such high amounts of protein are feasible for them to take in their diets.
  4. For the laypeople, the practicality of taking high protein through the diet is challenging and one must resort to supplemental protein, especially if one is a vegetarian or a vegan.

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First published on: 25th December 2021
Image credit: John Diez on Pexels

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