“What’s the ONE best diet for weight loss?”
Nope, sorry that is ALWAYS the wrong question!
“What’s the best diet for improving body composition?”
Now you’re talking my language.
For me athletes focus way too much on dropping weight. Ok, so yes; if you’re carrying excess timber then dropping weight is ONE goal.
But before I go off on a tangent about why athletes shouldn’t drop out carbohydrates, drop calories super low (Just stop that), go on exclusively high fat diets…. the list of DUMB ass diets out there is endless
See ^^^ tangent, focus Simon, focus!
Let’s revisit something I said yesterday in my video (From my paid group)
“Keeping your caloric budget as close to your calculated range while running on a small deficit, eating adequate protein means your amazing body becomes very efficient at using these fuels (foods’), dropping body fat and maintaining lean muscle”
I’ve added something to this, can you see what it is yet?
THE key macronutrient that will promote a leaner body composition is Protein. In-fact there are some exciting studies that show when in a large caloric surplus, athletes who ate a High Protein (HP) diet did not gain body fat. <= YEAH YOU READ THAT RIGHT.
I think it’s important to point out here that protein is not a magical substance for large muscle gain.
A lot of athlete’s think that a HP diet = huge muscle gains INSTANTLY! Let me assure you that doesn’t happen.
Think about it. If eating a few chicken breasts, a tin of tuna, two cappuccinos and some yoghurt with your oats for breakfast were that Anabolic we would all be very HENCH!
What creates that muscle anabolism is the training.
To get big requires a certain way of training in the gym and trust me, it has never included vast quantities of catabolic exercise such as swim, bike and run.
So now that I have this clear in your minds, let’s talk why HP diets could help you get the desired body composition you’re looking for and be very healthful.
Out of all the macronutrients protein has the higher thermogenic effect of digestion. Between 20% and 30% of total protein ingested gets leached off its TOTAL caloric value.
If you eat 100g of protein…well you do the math.
Protein is harder to eat which means increased mastication that stimulates gut hormones that tell us we are full sooner.
HP diets have also been shown to trigger off other gut hormones that control and influence satiety factors.
Excess protein in a HP diet is often used as material to build and refashion muscles, tendons, hair, skin, hormones, enzymes and bone rather than stored as body fat.
Studies of HP diets in older age group athletes are starting to show it helps mitigate age related sarcopenia.
Piqued your HP interest yet??
Ok, so there are some rules to follow when it comes to HP diets. ( I know rules jeese!)
First off what is a high protein diet? 2 to2.5g per KG of body weight. Any more than that and you have reached your threshold. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go over that. It just means past that threshold your body will turn any excess into other things.
It has to be from a complete source. Animal protein, dairy and whey (Yes I know it’s a dairy by product).
Why? Because it has all the complete and non-complete protein blocks plus is high in Leucine which is CRITICAL for MPS (Muscle protein synthesis) and the key ingredient in significantly increasing mitochondrial content.
For maximum MPS 30g of protein per main meal that includes 3g of Leucine in each, spread over 4 meals has been shown to be the most potent. Interestingly spread over 5/6 meals has been shown to be less effective and over just two or one even less.
What you need to remember is this. Total protein matters, 30g of protein in each meal that includes 3g of Leucine spread over 4 main meals matters, total calories matter.
The way I see HP diets is this.
As an athlete we should all be eating as close to the guidelines as possible. This way we get the optimal amount of protein to drive recovery, build muscle machinery and assist in driving a lean body composition.
Yes, protein has a higher thermogenic effect of food but you shouldn’t rely on this to deliver greater lean gains. Calories are KING remember.
However, you could Hypothesise that a HP diet stands slightly taller than other diets when matched for calories.
It’s worth thinking about.
Thanks for reading
Simon de Burgh
2 X Winner of Gym Based PT
Level 2 British Triathlon Coach
Performance & Nutrition Director
PS: For some further reading go here vvv