The average dietician says that women need about 46 grams of protein daily, and many women aren't even getting that much. And sadly, two out of every three American females are overweight or obese.
Many of them fall into a category called "normal weight obesity." That's when a person has a normal body weight but a high percentage of body fat and hardly any muscle. We call it "skinny fat."
How do you fix it? Well, the usual: lift weights. But one study gave us another tip: eat more protein. In fact, when women bumped up their protein intake while eating a maintenance number of calories, they gained muscle and lost fat without working out. And it only took an additional 46 grams of protein.
Researchers recruited 47 sedentary, skinny-fat women and divided them into two groups:
- Standard Protein Group: On average, this group consumed 69 grams of protein per day (0.5 grams/pound of body weight).
- High Protein Group: This group consumed 115 grams per day (46 more grams than the standard protein group, or 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.)
Both groups were given maintenance-calorie meal plans to follow for 12 weeks – they shouldn't have gained or lost weight.
So, What Happened?
Remember, both groups consumed a maintenance level of calories, just under 2000 per day. Here's what happened:
- Standard Protein Group (68g per day): Gained 0.4 pounds of fat. Lost 0.6 pounds of muscle.
- High Protein Group (115g per day): Lost 2 pounds of fat. Gained 2.8 pounds of muscle.
The Big Takeaways
- Even though they were eating maintenance calories, the "standard" protein group gained some fat and lost muscle. Their body weights probably stayed the same, reminding us that scale weight is deceptive. They consumed more protein than the average female and more than some dieticians recommend, yet their body composition worsened. Extend this eating plan and the standard protein group, without even overeating, would gain almost 2 pounds of fat per year while atrophying about 2.5 pounds of muscle.
- The high protein group gained almost 3 pounds of muscle without lifting weights and lost 2 pounds of fat.
- Both groups were eating roughly the same number of calories. The high protein group fit that extra protein in by replacing some carbs. However, their diet plans were not low-carb; they consumed about 200 grams daily. This is generally what happens when people adopt a high-protein diet: it's more satiating, they're not as hungry, and carby foods are unconsciously reduced.
How to Use This Info
A couple of the women in this study couldn't complete it because they weren't compliant with their supplied meal plans. They were probably in the high-protein group. Eating over 100 grams of protein daily can be daunting.
They were told not to use supplements, but a single daily protein shake would've fulfilled their needs. Two scoops of Metabolic Drive contain 42 grams of protein, almost exactly what the high protein group needed to add to their diets.
The evidence is overwhelming: most women need more protein. A protein-first eating strategy leads to more metabolism-boosting muscle, fewer cravings, and less body fat. Drinking one MD protein shake daily is easy and delicious.