There are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to losing weight, these include reducing calorie intake, increasing physical activity, adjusting the nutritional composition of your diet, and utilising nutritional supplements. There is a stand out leader from all of the above rules, and that is calorie reduction. There is no denying the importance of exercise in weight loss, however before you scoff that chocolate because you’ve just been to the gym, remember the old adage ‘you won’t outrun a bad diet’ still holds true!
The multi- purpose protein supplement
It has taken some time, but protein has only now really moved from being perceived as solely a ‘mass gaining’, ‘bulking’, or ‘muscle building’ product for those people wanting to ‘bodybuild’. Finally protein is now recognised as an all-round supplement that offers much more besides the above, and is now used in health, vitality and longevity, as well as performance enhancement and weight loss. Protein’s applications can range from treating age related sarcopaenia (muscle wastage), managing muscle and recovery, as well as satiating hunger, reducing glycaemic load and, consequently, supporting weight loss.
How protein naturally supports weight loss
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that protein isn’t natural. Just because protein comes in ready made in a tub doesn’t mean that it’s no longer a natural source. Yes it undergoes processing, but so it should, and this doesn’t make it any less natural. The whey protein is still derived from a cow…if you want to consume unpasteurised cow’s milk then that’s your prerogative. The processing that milk undergoes to produce whey protein powder is actually key to its weight loss properties, the filtration processes extract the carbohydrate and fat components from milk leaving you with just the good stuff… whey. By removing the excess carbs and fat, you inherently reduce the total calorie content of the protein, and less calories are good for weight loss.
Protein is very useful at reducing the glycaemic load of a meal or foodstuff. The glycaemic load is basically the amount of total carbs present in a meal and how this will exert a glycaemic response in the body (blood sugar spike), basically, the more pronounced the glycaemic response the higher the insulin spike, and this increases the likelihood of fat storage (if there is a surplus of total calories). By consuming protein supplements around the same time as a carb source such as a rice cake, you actually serve to slow the release of carbs into the body, albeit this is only marginally as powdered proteins are ‘semi- elemental’ i.e. partially digested, but the theory holds true.
Protein builds muscle to burn fat
A lot people wanting to burn fat don’t want to look bulky in the process, they are generally looking to strip off excess body fat whilst improving muscle tone. This is fair enough, but when used properly, protein supplements (not to be confused with ‘mass gainer’ supplements) can support weight loss by aiding muscle repair. You can increase the metabolic load that your muscle place on your body without necessarily increasing the muscle size. Exercise (cardio or resistance training) increases your muscles energy expenditure, so replenishing your muscles with protein rather than carbs or fat will optimise calorie partitioning so that the calories from the protein shake are used to repair and replenish muscle rather than be shipped off for glycogen storage.
As your muscles become denser due to your training, they impart a larger metabolic load on the body. The raised metabolic load increases energy expenditure both at rest and when exercising, this means your body is more likely to enter a calorie deficit which in turn leads to fat loss.
Where ‘Diet Proteins’ come in…
Sticking to the ‘raised metabolism’ theme, diet proteins contain around 45-70% protein, similar to regular protein supplements, whilst also containing active fat metabolisers which aim to do just that…metabolise fat. Metabolising fat basically means to burn fat for energy, so if you can raise the metabolic rate by adding in a few key ingredients like L- carnitine and Green Tea extract then why not. Add to this the elevated gastrointestinal transit rate of fat through the bowel by adding fibre, and you increase the physical excretion of any fat you consume, as well as increase the feeling of fullness.
The addition of calcium, a range of vitamins and minerals to support the nutritional profile of the product, and have a pretty well balanced meal replacement too. NOTE: Meal replacements do not provide ALL of the vitamins and minerals needed to meet your daily requirements, but they do provide enough to warrant 1 meal replacement per day e.g. breakfast or lunch. So you could swap a meal with a balanced diet protein such as USN Diet Fuel in order to reduce your total calorie intake, as well as improve the nutritional density of your diet as a whole.