How High Protein Diets Work

By Christine Hronec  

According to the FDA, the daily standard for nutrition is actually 2000 calories a day of which only 10 percent of those 2000 calories is allocated towards protein, at only 50 grams of protein per day. Now, what a lot of people don't realize is that 50 grams of protein per day is the bare minimum requirement your body needs for DNA resynthesis. This has nothing to do with muscle recovery, muscle growth, fat loss, or any athletic goal. This is just for your body to be able to replicate and reproduce DNA. That standard is not going to apply to most people. 

The bodybuilding community has definitely recognized the value and benefit of high protein diets because it is essential to allow your body to facilitate the growth of lean muscle mass. One of the biggest issues I see is that most people are not consuming adequate amounts of protein when in a caloric deficit. When you're in a caloric deficit, what is actually happening is you're allowing your body to facilitate fat loss because you are consuming less than the calories you need to function relative to your maintenance calories. This enables your body to draw energy from a stored energy source. The key to making sure that your body taps into stored body fat, as opposed to your lean muscle tissue, is being in a positive nitrogen balance.

high protein diet, chicken, beef, eggs

Now, of all the three macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat, protein is the only macromolecule that contains nitrogen. So, when you are in a caloric deficit, you need to be in a positive nitrogen balance to allow your body to spare your lean muscle tissue, so when it's time to oxidize energy, your body is actually going to oxidize from your stored body fat sources and not your lean muscle. The folks who miss out on this actually end up losing weight, but they have a more "skinny fat aesthetic", as opposed to a tighter, leaner physique. So, the key is making sure you're dialing in your protein intake accordingly.

Now, the next question is how much protein should I be taking in a day? The general rule of thumb in the bodybuilding industry is roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.  When I do my client's calculations, I base it off of the lean body mass of your goal weight. Let’s say hypothetically, you are 250 pounds. That does not mean you should start eating 250 grams of protein per day. Let's say your goal is to get down to 150 pounds and at 150 pounds you want to be 20 percent body fat. So that means, that 20 percent body fat at 150 pounds, is only 80 percent times that 150 is what you should be consuming in terms of protein per day. Now keep in mind, for those of you who are on maintenance or those of you who are even seeking to gain, you don't need to be at such a high positive nitrogen balance. It’s crucial to go higher in protein when you are looking to shred and drop body fat. This ultimately translates into upwards of 100 to 150 grams of protein per day for women. For men, we're probably talking about somewhere between 150 and 200, maybe even closer to 250 for men, depending on how massive you are, it can be seriously challenging to do so. 

How do you get more protein?

A great way to do that is by utilizing protein supplements. I'm the owner and founder of Gauge Life Nutrition Supplements. You don't need to take protein supplements. You absolutely do not need to. However, it's going to be a more convenient, economical way to hit those protein macros, so that way you can spare your lean muscle mass and you can drop that body fat with ease. One serving of our protein has 25 grams of protein per serving. You take two scoops of this in a day, that's already 50 grams. Throw in our collagen on top of that, that's already an additional 20 grams. So, if you take two scoops of whey protein in a day, plus a scoop of collagen, that's already 70 grams. Almost half of what you need to take. Now again, you do not need to take protein supplements, but some people, me personally, I would rather take a shake or two as opposed to eating tons and tons of chicken because it becomes a lot after a while. Regardless of how you choose to get your protein, know that is it an essential element of the fat loss process. For more information on quality supplementation visit