How much protein do you need to optimise satiety optimising nutrition origin electricity account

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We can remove some of the noise in this plot by breaking the data into 20 groups and looking at the average. This next chart shows the % protein versus the % target intake on average for each of the 20 groups of people. Each of these dots represents the average of 25,000 days of food logging.

Assuming most people are aiming for a calorie intake about 15% below their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), we can estimate their lean body mass using the Katch McArdle formula. From this, we can then estimate their lean body mass (LBM) and convert the chart into protein in terms of g/kg LBM as shown below.

Increasing your protein intake from 0.7 to 2.4g/kg LBM appears to correspond to a spontaneous calorie reduction of approximately 15%. When we consider the fact that protein does not yield as much energy due to the thermic effect of food, we end up with a spontaneous energy deficit of more than 20% simply by prioritising protein!

My preference is to talk about protein in terms of g/kg LBM because it relates to the amount of metabolically active muscle mass. However, body weight is simpler because you don’t need to think about how much body fat you have. Meanwhile, ideal body weight suits some because they have an idea of what weight they would like to be.

If your goal is increased satiety, fat loss and decreased hunger then you will want to move towards the higher levels of protein. In the first instance, you can just try to make sure you hit a minimum protein intake each day based on your weight and body fat. This will help kerb the cravings and manage your overall intake.

However, most people who are interested in nutrition are looking for fat loss and/or diabetes management (and not therapeutic ketosis), hence we set the minimum protein intake at 1.8 g/kg LBM. Dietary approaches with lower protein than this ‘minimum effective dose’ tend to have a poor nutrient density.

Many people get confused with the numbers and units, which is why we created the Nutrient Optimiser. to calculate your ideal macronutrient range as well as provide you with some suggested foods and meals that will help you reach your goals. Responses to common concerns

People that produce adequate insulin in their pancreas (i.e. not Type 1 diabetic) tend to see a fairly stable blood sugar response to protein. [3] Some people even experience a drop in blood sugar, so start slowly and titrate up to a more ideal protein intake. [4] [5]

While a low carb high-fat diet will mask the symptoms of diabetes by stabilising blood sugar and reducing your HbA1c, it is the reduction of fat stored around your organs that will ultimately reverse your diabetes! [6] [7] Too much protein will ‘kick me out of ketosis’!

If you need to lose weight then more protein will likely drive an energy deficit, which will cause higher ketone levels as you consume your body fat for fuel. However, keep in mind that BHB ketones are mainly a transport or storage form of energy and do not correspond with effective use of fat for fuel. [8]

If you are more concerned about elevating your blood ketone levels than the fat that is being stored in your liver, pancreas, heart, eyes and brain and driving you towards the most common diseases of our western civilisation, then may I politely suggest that you should review your priorities?

Unless you have late-stage kidney failure and are on dialysis ‘too much protein’ is not a concern. [9] [10] If you are concerned about your protein intake you should talk to your nephrologist (kidney specialist) about the optimal protein level for your situation. (If you’re not already seeing a nephrologist there’s probably no need to be concerned about ‘too much protein’ hurting your kidneys.) Will protein raise mTOR and give me cancer?

We need a balance between building up (mTOR and anabolism) and breaking down (fasting and autophagy). What we do know for sure in all this is that excess energy (regardless of the source) seems to be one of the biggest contributors to diabetes, cancer and other metabolic diseases that accelerate ageing. [11]

Optimising your diet with adequate protein to improve satiety and reduce body fat levels to ensure you are physically robust and independent for as long as possible sound like a much safer bet than crossing your fingers hoping that protein restriction (which only seems to work on worms in a Petri dish) will extend your life. Protein is a poor source of energy!

Yes, fat is an efficient fuel source compared to protein. But if you have excessive stored body fat then getting more fuel is not your highest priority. Your body is highly motivated to ensure you consume adequate protein to prevent loss of lean muscle. Getting adequate fuel is secondary.

Eating lower protein foods means that, in the pursuit of adequate protein, you will need to consume more fuel (i.e. carbs and/or fat) than your body can use. Conversely, eating higher protein foods reduces appetite. With adequate protein locked in to build and repair muscle (and enable other vital functions), your body will be happy to get the fuel it needs from your excess stored body fat.

Forcing your body to convert some protein to glucose for energy (a.k.a. gluconeogenesis) is not such a bad thing. If you always give your body some fat or carbs when you need energy it will never need to dip into your body fat stores. But I don’t want to be a bodybuilder!

The ‘good news’ here is that it takes a lot of intentional effort (and often some extra chemical or hormonal assistance) to build massive muscles. Optimising your protein intake will only enable you to manage your hunger, lose body fat and reverse your diabetes.

Thanks so much for reading! In the next article in this series, we’ll look at what the data can tell us about the relative satiety provided by fat, carbs, sugar and fibre. You might be surprised by the findings! So make sure you subscribe to ensure you receive it!