Can protein powder be used for weight loss?
In the fitness and bodybuilding industry, myths and rumors (aka “BroScience”) run rampant. It’s often difficult to cut straight to the facts. One common question I hear all the time is “Can you use protein powder for weight loss?” This is one of those “yes and no” type answers.
Protein powder cannot directly be used for fat loss. In order to lose fat, you need to create a caloric deficit; you need to be burning more calories than you are eating. That being said, let’s take a look at our macro nutrients and their calories.
Protein actually has 4 calories per gram just like carbohydrates. The difference is protein is not your body’s preferred fuel source (carbs are!). If consumed in excess protein will lead to weight gain (again calories in vs. calories out!).
How can you use protein powder for weight loss?
Protein can indirectly help us burn calories. When we workout, we are actually damaging our muscles micro fibers. The body responds to this by repairing and building the muscle tissue bigger and stronger. In order for this recovery process to occur, we need protein.
Muscles burn calories at rest. The bigger our muscles are, the more calories we burn at rest. This is the same reason it is important to include both a weight lifting program along with cardio exercise into your routine to help maximize your weight loss results.
How much protein should I take?
This will vary person to person. But generally, the rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, a 200 lb bodybuilder should aim to consume 200 grams of protein per day. If you can’t reach your daily requirement from food, you can use protein powder to supplement your diet.
For more information about protein, please see Personal Trainer Joe B’s Video Here