High Protein?

Here is the difference between weight loss and maintenance broken down

Some very important things to understand here..
Total Energy Expenditure

lets say for ease that 2000 calories is maintenance level that is how many calories I would have to eat to maintain not lose and not gain

But I want to lose some body fat so I am in weight loss

170g protein – 680 kcal – 49%
70g fat – 630 kcal – 45%
20g carbs – 80 kcal – 6%
total 1390 kcal

this looks high protien low fat, except now lets add in the amount of fat that would come from fat stores

170g protein – 680 kcal – 34%
70(dietary)+68(body fat)g = 138g – 1242 kcal – 62%
20g carbs – 80 kcal – 4%

now we see that when total energy expenditure is accounted for and the fat coming from the body is accounted for that the diet is in fact high fat!


all the fat would come from the plate to keep from losing weight..

A diet that looks low fat and high protein may not be once body fat is figured into the big picture!!

And this is also a really big reason why grams always grams NOT % when figuring a diet!  Even at 3g/kg lbm this diet is ketogenic and is within the ketogenic “ratio” you just have to look at the big picture!


Chart below from
Dr. Stephen Phinney – ‘Achieving and Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis’



MPS ~ Muscle Protein Sythesis

MPS Muscle Protein Synthesis What is MPS?

—>The synthesis of muscle protein is essential to the body’s ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance of its skeletal muscle groups. MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) can Benefit you whether you are trying to lose extra body fat or you are trying to gain muscle. Optimizing the quantity and timing of protein intake to trigger MPS and dictate what part of LMB (Lean Body Mass) the AAs (Amino Acids) are directed to can optimize body fat loss and muscle gains. Why is MPS good for fat loss?

—>The reason that whey is thermogenic is because when you trigger MPS it calls on a significant amount of energy, it is very expensive, and this increases fat burning… why higher protein diets are good for fat loss and why specifically triggering MPS is good for fat loss as well. When we are trying to lose fat we want our bodies to be as inefficient with calories as possible. The more energy or calories we burn the more fat we burn, and so long as we are not eating too much fat, this means an increase in how much fat we are losing from our body stores. How does MPS help increase muscle mass?

—> Changing protein intake does not change over all LBM increases, but does change where the AAs are put for storage. For instance Dr. Norton found that when the leucine content of a meal did not reach the threshold to trigger MPS, that those AAs then go to the liver, and the liver gets bigger. He hypothesizes that the Leucine threshold might be different in different tissues. And since the liver is like a sink for AAs that maybe the threshold in the liver is lower then the threshold in muscle so when less leucine is taken in at a meal more AAs go to the liver. So optimizing protein intake & timing to trigger MPS can direct more AAs to be stored as skeletal muscle. Optimize protein intake to trigger MPS

—-> First its important to eat enough protein (specifically getting enough leucine) at each meal to reach the threshold to trigger MPS. This will vary depending on protein source anywhere from 27g for Whey to 43g for chicken, see the chart in the pic below for minimum protein amounts per source. –

—> Secondly the timing of meals is equally important to avoid a refractory response, meaning MPS isn’t triggered after the first meal. Eating meals too close together does not let the plasma leucine levels fall between meals. MPS is not triggered again if leucine levels stay elevated. This time between meals also allows for ATP to be replenished. The optimal spacing of meals is 4-5 hrs apart. This timing not only allows plasma leucine levels to fall but also for ATP to be replenished; both of which are required to trigger MPS at later meals.

—-> Thirdly more meals are better. With optimized intake and timing MPS is triggered with each meal. More meals = more times MPS is triggered. Say for example if your protein goal is 120g: 1 meal – 120g – MPS once 2 meals – 60g each – MPS twice 3meals – 40g each – MPS three times So with three meals you are going to burn 3 times the energy (body fat) and store 3 times the amount of AAs as muscle compared to only one meal.

—->Lastly, if meals are not optimized to trigger MPS then calories are used as just energy or stored. However if MPS is triggered, calories are used and demanded. MPS is similar to vigorous exercise in this respect. As protein is metabolized and MPS is triggered (while on a low carb diet) fat is mobilized to be used as energy and liver fat gets used first! Important points

*MPS is beneficial to everyone whether your goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle.

*Optimize intake to hit leucine threshold & avoid refractory response.

–>27-43g protein per meal depending on source –>meals 4-5 hours apart

–>more meals are better Further study and sources:

Jeff Volek

Dr. Layne Norton presents on Refractory Phenomenon

The need for Protein throughout the day The Truth About Protein: How Much And How Often? Written By Dr. Layne Norton

Photo Credit