Why Have a High Protein Diet?
A high protein diet represents a massive change from the modern American diet of starchy carbs, high fat foods, and high fructose corn syrup. If you’re doing P90X and following the P90X Nutrition Guide, you’re probably asking the question, “Why have a high protein diet???” Well, I’m going to give you three important reasons.
In Phase I of the Nutrition Guide, we reduce high fat foods and carbs. Suffice it to say we want to reduce the traditional American diet types of fats that are getting put in our bodies.
Top 3 Reasons to Have a High Protein Diet
- Protein boosts your metabolism. It takes twice as much energy to break down proteins as it does carbohydrates. Your body can charge through carbs pretty easily, but it has to work to break down proteins. This means after you eat a high-protein meal, your body must burn calories to break it down. Some studies have shown people with high-protein diets burned up to twice as many calories in the hours after their meals, than those on high-carb diets.
- Protein flips your “satiety” switch. Huh? That’s a fancy way of saying it makes you feel full. Would you keep eating if you felt full? Probably not. High fructose corn syrup has the exact opposite effect, which is why they make a 64 oz big gulp. That’s between 800 and 1,000 calories, but you don’t feel full after you drink one. “Satiety” is important stuff. You shouldn’t want to eat a bag of chips and a hot dog after consuming 800 calories of anything.
- Protein is the building block of muscle. This is oversimplified, but true. Lean protein helps promote muscle growth. Muscle burns fat. Huh? Adding muscle mass requires your body to expend energy to sustain that muscle. Adding one pound of muscle requires your body to burn up to 50 calories a day to maintain it. That’s one pound, folks. Try adding 10 and you can see why people that add about 10 pounds of muscle look the way they do. Their bodies are simply working more efficiently.
Trans fats, and most saturated fats, tend to be stored in the fat cells very easily and we are trying to change that. (Life isn’t black and white, so I’ll let you know that some fats are healthy for you.) The reasoning behind reducing starchy carbs is a little more complex. When the body takes in a lot of starchy carbs, it treats them like sugars and the body responds by producing insulin to process those sugars in your blood. This causes the body to store more fat because it just does not have any where to store those carbs. In addition, this insulin response actually tells your body to store fat as a precautionary measure. Keep that up long enough and you are headed for diabetes.
Here’s a video illustrating this principle:
When you eat a lean chicken breast, you make your body work for it and it pays you back by building muscle. It also makes you feel full when you’ve consumed an appropriate amount of calories. When you eat a burger meal, the fat gets stored as excess fat, the fries and bun create an insulin response, and the high fructose corn syrup in that yummy soda keeps you from feeling really hungry even though you’ve gobbled down a huge meal from a caloric perspective. That’s just not a good mix. The soda also increases the acidity of your blood, which you can read more about here—How Diet Soda Makes You Fat.
So, that’s the nutshell in answer to your question “Why have a high protein diet?” There are even more benefits of protein, but I want to keep this simple for now. Given the benefits of protein, is it any surprise that the P90X Nutrition Plan focuses on it so much in the first phase of the diet? Hopefully, all this makes sense. If not, click on the button below to email me.