Many people are under the impression that protein should only be consumed by those who are trying to gain weight or build massive amounts of muscle. This is simply not the case, protein should be consumed by everyone, it’s an essential nutrient that our bodies require to function.
The short answer is no, it doesn’t. However eating too much of any nutrient, including protein, can cause you to gain weight.
As I’ve already mentioned protein is an essential portion of the diet, and humans need a certain amount of protein on a daily basis. These molecules play a vital part in the regeneration of body tissues, including muscle.
Furthermore, protein has many other roles at the molecular level, it even serves to boost the immune system. Not only does protein not make you fat, it actually helps you burn fat by aiding the recovery process! Adequate protein intake is also important if you’re trying to add more calorie burning muscle to your frame.
How much protein should you be eating? It depends on who you ask. Most nutrition experts will tell you that your body requires less than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. So a 140 pound female would only need to eat about 65 grams of protein a day according to this suggestion.
This estimate is a little bit low when compared to suggestions commonly made by fitness professionals. Many of the top trainers suggest that their clients eat 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. This same 140 pound female would need to eat about 100-120 grams off protein a day.
If you’re unsure how many grams of protein you’re eating each day, I would encourage you to keep track for a week or two. This way you’ll get a pretty good idea of how much protein you’re eating on a daily basis.
Once you’ve tracked your nutrition for a few weeks you can easily determine if you need more protein in your diet. You can get protein from several sources. Here is a short list of some of the best sources of protein:
- Beef (lean)
- Nuts & Seeds
- Cottage Cheese
There are plenty of other foods that are high in protein, if you prefer to eat them feel free, these are just a few of my suggestions. If you find it too difficult to prepare foods high in protein another option to consider is a protein supplement.
Protein powders are a quick, convenient way to get your protein. I know there is a bit of a stigma as far as their taste, but there are actually plenty of good tasting products available, you just have to try a few to find one you like.
The bottom line is that protein doesn’t make you fat.
If you’re adding some extra pounds it’s most likely not from excessive protein consumption, it’s probably from excessive food consumption. Specifically refined, processed foods that are high in carbohydrates and saturated fats. If you want to point your pudgy finger at any nutrient point it at high glycemic carbohydrates and saturated fats.