Protein has long had a reputation for making you bulk up rather than slim down, but the latest research suggests a high protein diet is the key to losing weight and staying slim.
Adding more protein is one of the best adjustments that we can make to our diets to achieve a longer and leaner body. When used in the right way it can ensure we get the most out of our workouts, allow us to burn fat more efficiently and build the right type of muscle to both look and feel better in the long run.
The seemingly untapped nutritional key to getting beach body ready, we asked founder of The Library Gym and Strong Nutrients Zana Morris , to set the record straight about protein and to recommend the best and healthiest ways to incorporate it into our diets. With these words of wisdom at hand, the fear could finally be taken out of protein for good.
WHY IS PROTEIN ESSENTIAL FOR A LEANER BODY?
“From the age of 30, we are losing ½ lb of muscle every year. This loss includes collagen which therefore means skin will sag and lose tone, skeleton muscle is lessened and internal muscles such as your heart are affected. Given that 1lb of muscle burns between 50-100 calories a day, you can see how this loss will begin to affect your body.”
“Protein is essential to recover some of this loss. It will encourage firm tissue which holds you in shape, increases collagen for firmness and skin tone, strengthens muscles and increases stamina! So we should welcome our friend protein...it is the only one of the three food groups that builds structural tissue in our body which breaks down into essential amino acids.”
HOW CAN WE INCORPORATE MORE PROTEIN INTO OUR DIETS?
“It is key to eat high quality protein or protein that is high in net protein utilization (NPU). This means you can eat less but get more benefit. NPU foods are grass-fed steak, wild salmon, organic free range eggs... or for vegetarians, try clever food combining to increase the NPU. Mix beans with rice to make it more effective or apple with cottage cheese.
“For a healthy, high NPU snack, try fruit yoghurt such as Total 0% Fat , £2.39 or sugar-free peanut butter, (or any nut butters). Adding nuts and seeds to shakes and food is also a great way to take in good quality, healthy protein.”
WHAT ARE THE BEST PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS?
“I swear by my Strong Nutrients Building Blocks , £34.95 and my Casein Protein Shake , £27.95. Building Blocks is protein in the purest form you can get and are super-fast absorbing – the body can utilize the benefits within 20 minutes. They also cleverly fill in any nutritional gaps and make any amino acid combination the most effective for the body.
“My Casein Protein Shake (in chocolate or vanilla) is again exceptionally highly absorbed and utilized protein – it is very high in alkaline which is great for joints and low glycaemic which helps us to firm and tone.”