An ordinary nutritionist from yesteryears might claim that women require a daily intake of 40 to 50 grams of protein. Surprisingly, many women often fall below this recommendation. In the present day, the average woman tends to be overweight or obese, with two out of three American females falling into these categories, as noted by the Office on Women’s Health.
Among these overweight individuals, there lies a subset termed “normal weight obesity” or colloquially dubbed “skinny fat.” This condition manifests when an individual maintains a supposedly normal body weight but harbors a high percentage of body fat coupled with minimal muscle mass. While the scale might signal normalcy, the mirror often reflects a different story—a soft physique that forecasts future metabolic health issues.
The remedy for the skinny fat condition, as commonly prescribed, involves dietary improvements and resistance training. However, a study uncovered an unexpected revelation: by increasing protein intake without altering calorie consumption, women experienced concurrent muscle gain and fat loss, sans exercise. Remarkably, a mere addition of 46 grams of protein facilitated these changes.
Examining the Study
The research involved 47 sedentary, skinny-fat women aged 30 to 60, divided into two groups:
Standard Protein Group: Consumed an average of 69 grams of protein per day (equivalent to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight).
High Protein Group: Consumed an average of 115 grams per day (46 grams more than the standard protein group, or 0.8 grams per pound of body weight).
Both groups adhered to maintenance-calorie meal plans for 12 weeks, aiming to maintain their weight. They were instructed to continue their typical exercise routines, which, in most cases, were minimal or nonexistent.
Despite both groups consuming maintenance-level calories (approximately under 2000 per day), the 12-week outcomes were striking:
Standard Protein Group (68g per day): Gained 0.4 pounds of fat; lost 0.6 pounds of muscle.
High Protein Group (115g per day): Lost 2 pounds of fat; gained 2.8 pounds of muscle.
The study unearthed pivotal findings:
Maintaining calories while following the standard protein intake led to increased fat and decreased muscle, signifying that body composition, not just weight on a scale, holds significance.
Even with a protein intake surpassing average recommendations, the standard protein group experienced deteriorating body composition.
A continuous adherence to the eating plan followed by the standard protein group could potentially result in annual fat gain and muscle loss, emphasizing the necessity of higher protein intake and resistance training for true maintenance.
The high protein group, despite not engaging in exercise, exhibited substantial muscle gain and fat loss. This highlights the role of protein quantity within daily caloric intake, surpassing the simplistic notion of “calories in, calories out.”
Both groups maintained similar calorie levels. The high protein group accommodated the extra protein by replacing some carbohydrates in their diet, typically consuming around 200 grams daily. This shift in macronutrients resulted in improved satiety, reduced hunger, and unconsciously curbed carbohydrate intake.
Utilizing this Information
The study revealed challenges faced by some participants in adhering to the prescribed meal plans, likely owing to the high protein requirements. While they were instructed to avoid supplements, a single daily protein shake could have met their needs adequately. For instance, two scoops of Metabolic Drive contain 42 grams of protein, nearly fulfilling the high protein group’s required additional intake.
Even seasoned male lifters occasionally struggle to meet their protein needs. Whether adhering to the guideline of “0.8 grams per pound of body weight” or aiming for simplicity with 1 gram per pound, maintaining sufficient protein intake can prove challenging amid a busy lifestyle. Considering the multitude of benefits associated with adequate protein consumption, incorporating two shakes per day could trigger the Protein Leverage Effect, aiding in fulfilling daily protein needs while effectively controlling hunger and promoting dietary enhancements. Ultimately, this strategy could potentially yield visible improvements in physical appearance within a few months, often without the need to monitor calorie intake extensively.