It has long been thought that “a calorie, is a calorie” no matter where it comes from. This has led to a number of diet plans and weight loss plans to contain a reduced amount of calories consumed from all foods; carbohydrate, protein and fats. However protein can be an extremely useful tool in promoting weight loss. Benefits include improved satiety, increased lean body mass and increased metabolic rate.
Effect of Protein Consumption on Body Composition
Recently a research study looked at the effects of protein consumptions on body composition in resistance trained individuals. Antonio et al (2014) compared the effects of a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) to a control group (1.8 g/kg/d). The high protein group not only consumed higher amounts of protein but also more calories (800 calories) due to the higher protein intake.
The results of the study showed that there were no significant differences in body composition, body weight, fat mass or percentage body fat between the high protein and control groups. This indicates that consuming more calories from protein has no effect on fat gain. The study also confirmed that there were no differences in training volume; indicating that this could not be an explanation for a lack of difference in body composition between the subject groups.
The results help to disprove the age old saying “a calorie is a calorie”. This can also be useful knowledge for those following a weight loss diet and training programme. It allows you to increase protein consumption to make up for deficit in other macronutrients. Increased protein intake also helps to promote further fat loss by improving satiety, reducing overall calorie consumption.
Increased protein consumption will also allow you to hold onto lean body mass, keeping your metabolic rate elevated. It provides you with the knowledge that increasing your calories from protein when trying to add muscle mass will not result in fat gain alongside muscle gain.
Antonio et al (2014) The effects of consuming high protein diet (4.4g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11:19, doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-19