The faulty gym dogma: You must eat a lot of protein on a low carb diet.
This is one of those really annoying things that pops up again and again and again when people talk about lower carb eating. The automatic belief that low carb eating automaticlly means high protein eating. And it aint just the detractors that get it wrong either; even the enthusiastic low carbers often assume the bovine kill count has got to rise for them to bask in the healthy glow of a low carb diet. (and yes, the sun does always shine brighter when you eat low carb)
And do you know what… there is nothing wrong with that. If I could get more of my clients to adapt a proper low carb diet for this one reason alone i would be happy… because i wold know that they would also be getting all the other benefits that come with it.
The problem is most people on low carb diets are just eating way to much protein and way to little fat. I put the so called “health and fitness magazines” and their supplement owning company’s on trial for the over eating of protein. As for the under eating of fat, that comes down down to our good friend, Ancel Keys, and organisations like the WHO, (World health Organisation) who, for the past 60 years have been using misinformed guidelines and seriously dodgy science to frighten the beejesus out of people about fat. Now i am not going to go into the who Fat is good thing here or we’d never back to the point i am trying to make, but just in case you need to be reminded, Fat does not make you Fat, carbohydrate makes you fat. And fat is not bad for your health or heart, (except in very rare cases). Now back to the overeating of protein.
Ask just about anyone in a gym, or connected to a gym, or married to someone who goes to a gym… how much protein you should be taking in when training and I almost guarantee you the answer will be 1 to 1.5 gram or more per lb or 2 to 3 grams or more per kg of body weight. But in fact there have never been any real studies to say this is so… it’s just bro science, and before that it was a marketing idea by the protein makers to sell more protein. Guess it worked.
Any of the real studies out there on this matter have shown that at most…. and i do meant at the very most, all you need is 0.7 grams per lb, or about 1.4 grams per kg. So if you weigh about 200 lb or about 90 kg 135 grams of protein is all you need.
I know so many guys (At one time I was one of them) who at that weight were downing 300+ grams of protein a day!!!
But here is the real kicker…. if you are taking in that much protein on a low carb diet then guess what; your body is not burning fat for fuel, which eh… is kinda the whole point of going low carb (paying no attention to the rest of the benefits of course).
If you are coming form a high carb diet then you are effectively a sugar burner. You then switch to lower carb eating to start burning off fat but if your new diet is too high in protein and to low in fat, rather than switching over to burning fat for fuel your body just switches over to burning protein instead.
The reason for this protein burning comes down to your mind and body’s addiction to sugar (and make no mistake it is an addiction). It want’s the sugar and you have stopped its supply. Now the body could just turn straight to fat and start using key-tones for fuel, as it is designed to do. But, the addiction to sugar takes a few weeks to break and so the body goes looking for its fix. And the easiest available source of the sugar it wants is right their in the excess amount of Amino Acids flowing through the system due to the over consumption of protein. Though the process of glconeogenesis your mind and body get their fix and your body has no need to burn fat. And just to make matters worse, if you do run low on amino acids for conversion then the body has all the back up fuel it can want in your muscles. NIGHTMARE!!!
The fastest way to go from high carb to low carb and start burning off all that excess fat for fuel instead of your valuable muscle mass is, drop your carbs to under 50 grams per day, eat only 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight and eat lots and lots of fat. Oh and I really do mean lots of them… Aim for at 70% to 80% of your calories coming from fat. Do this for 3 to 4 weeks and then reassess. This will assure that when your body runs out of stored glycogen and starts to panic as it’s sugar supply is cut off it wont turn to your muscle to get its fix and will as quickly as it is possible to do so, switch over to burning your body fat for fuel. RESULT!!!
One tip to help the whole process of fuel conversion move along more quickly is to use plenty of Medium Chain Triglyceride’s (MCT) fats, such as those in Coconut Oil and Coconut Butter. MCT’s are converted to key-tones very quickly on entering the body which is exactly what a fuel hungry, sugar free, body is looking for.
I dare you to just try this approach for 30 days and test the results for your self.