Will Protein Make Me Fat?
Calories—the amount of energy within your food—are important for those trying to gain or lose weight. Ask anyone who has a serious goal related to body composition, and you will most likely find that they are tracking their calories. When considering calories, it is important to realise that a calorie may not simply be a calorie.
The common belief is that when considering body composition, it is a simple matter of calories in versus calories out, but this may be a common misconception. This seems like too simplistic of an approach for a complex system like the human body. Take for instance, if one person were to consume all of their calories from protein, and another person were to consume all of their calories from fat or carbohydrates. Do you think both people would have the same body composition outcome? Probably not.
This is because each macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) behaves differently in the body. If the calories in versus calories out theory were to hold true, then consuming a massive amount of protein should lead to weight gain. However, the research has actually shown the opposite. One study that looked at varying amounts of protein consumption found that individuals consuming ridiculously high amounts of dietary protein gained more muscle and lost more fat compared to those consuming the same amount of calories but less protein. This suggests that it may not be as simple as just tracking your total caloric intake.
These findings beg the question, what is the practical application associated with this information? Surely, someone can’t just consume all of their calories from fat. In fact, this would likely be harmful to someone’s health since they would be missing out on many essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from a diet like this. However, if we consider hunger, then we can see an application for this. Often, those trying to lose weight experience a great deal of hunger. This hunger could be combatted by increasing protein intake without harming body composition related goals. In fact, this practice may even improve your body composition!