Why Women SHould Eat More PRotein
The RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to 46 grams per day for the average woman so many will believe as long as they are hitting this target they are doing well, well…. how far from the truth you could be. Many women are scared of higher protein consumption for the same reason they are scared to life weights… “I don’t want to be big and muscley”.
The truth is research suggests the average natural women will only be able to gain 20-25lb of muscle in their lifetime, they have lower testosterone levels than men which limits the amount of muscle they can attain and maintain. So ladies there is no need to worry about “bulking up” because it simply wont happen, all some added tissue is going to do is enable you to eat more without gaining fat, have a better shape, protect you from injury in later life and be healthier.
Most women’s goals are to improve their body composition to improve their confidence or in ladies terms “tone up” and that is exactly what you can do with the addition of weight training and more protein in your diet.
TWO REASONS TO EAT MORE PROTEIN
1. Additional protein aids muscle growth
In a study performed at the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory, two groups of aspiring female physique athletes were tested. One group ate a high-protein diet consisting of 1.1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, while the other group ate half that amount closer to 0.5-0.6g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
All the participants completed same 4 workouts per week for 8 weeks, at the end of the study the high protein group gained 4.5lb of muscle whilst the low protein group only gain 1.5lb of muscle, thats a 300% increase in the high protein group. The low protein group was still above the RDI and I believe that is why the low protein group still managed to build muscle, any lower and I believe the muscle gain would have not been significant. This study concludes that protein intake impacts your muscle building.
2. Protein may aid fat loss
The same study also indicated the potential fat loss benefits in women when consuming a higher protein diet. The study tested the body fat percentage of the participants and found that the high protein group lost a HUGE 33% more body fat than the low protein group. What makes this even more impressive is the fact the high protein group also consumed 425 calories more yet they still lost more body fat. This indicates the potential benefit of the thermogenic effect of protein in comparison to carbs and fats as protein increases the metabolic rate up to 25% wheres on average carbs and fats are less than 10%.
Now this doesn’t mean you should go and build your nutrition plan solely around protein sources as there is a threshold and a calorie surplus is still a calorie surplus so you will gain weight, this isn’t an excuse to over indulge and claim “its protein it has a higher thermic effect” because although it does overindulgence will still result in fat gain regardless of the macronutrient. Also remember that your body still required essential fatty acids for health, well-being and hormonal balance and although carbs are not essential they are the bodies preferred fuel source so i’d still recommend combining all 3 macronutrients!
- Campbell, B. I., Aguilar, D., Conlin, L., Vargas, A., Schoenfeld, B. J., Corson, A., … & Couvillion, K. (2018). Effects of high versus low protein intake on body composition and maximal strength in aspiring female physique athletes engaging in an 8-week resistance training program. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(6), 580-585.