Protein is the most critical macronutrient on the Shortcut to Shred program. Muscle is made out of protein, which is essential for muscle growth, repair, and recovery. It's also a critical fuel source. Your body can break protein down and use amino acids as a muscular energy source.
Research suggests that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets work well for fat loss. This is particularly true for those trying to maintain or build lean muscle at the same time.
It is difficult for the body to take protein and convert it into body fat. It's not impossible, but out of the three macronutrients, the body has to work hardest to convert protein into body fat. It's either going to use protein to synthesize tissue, or break it down for energy. Protein is a home run when it comes to dropping body fat, building muscle, and gaining strength.
- Lean cuts of meat: top sirloin, flank steak, lean ground beef
- Poultry: chicken and turkey, white and dark meat
- Fish: halibut, sole, salmon
- Dairy: whey, casein, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese
- Plants: soy, beans, nuts, grains, etc.
"Anyone who is training intensely needs at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Research suggests that eating as much as 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight is very effective at promoting muscle growth and strength gains."
Anyone who is training intensely needs at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Research suggests that eating as much as 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight is very effective at promoting muscle growth and strength gains. You will eat 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight throughout Shortcut to Shred. Research supports this quantity of protein, as do the results of my own clients.
TYPES OF FAT
Polyunsaturated, such as
Fat is not the enemy. Eating fat doesn't necessarily make you fat, but certain fats are better than others. Fat is the second-most critical macronutrient in Shortcut to Shred for several reasons.
As you progress through Shortcut to Shred and your carb intake decreases, you'll eat more fats. Let's dig into some fat facts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential polyunsaturated fat. They're called "essential" because your body can't produce them on its own. They also offer a wide range of health benefits. For example, they've been shown to enhance fat loss by turning on genes that increase fat burning. They also help decrease fat storage.
Omega-3 fats produce beneficial prostaglandins that decrease inflammation. They've been found to increase muscle recovery and growth, and they support skin, vision, and brain health.
Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. If you eat canned tuna, choose white albacore over chunk light. Even sardines fit the profile.
"Saturated fat is not the enemy. It is critical when you're training intensely as you will during Shortcut to Shred."
Saturated fat is not the enemy. It is critical when you're training intensely as you will during Shortcut to Shred. Saturated fat promotes healthy testosterone levels and is especially important to men. You want to maintain your test levels to build muscle and strength, train harder, recover better, and lose more fat.
Whole eggs are a great source of saturated fat. One study revealed that people who ate three egg yolks per day gained twice as much muscle as subjects who only ate egg whites. Egg yolks contain protein, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol, which you need to help maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes.
When combined with saturated fats, monounsaturated fats have been found to promote healthy testosterone levels.
They also function as an energy source during hardcore workout sessions. Peanut butter is a terrific source of monounsaturated fat.
Trans fats are the only fats you should absolutely avoid. Trans fats have been altered in the lab to give products a longer shelf life. The body doesn't recognize this altered fat molecule or know how to process it, so the trans fat molecule gets into your cells and causes havoc. Trans fats may even increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
People fear and monitor fats because fat is calorically dense. There are more than twice as many calories in a gram of fat than in a gram of protein or carbohydrates.
Calories per Gram:
- Protein = 4
- Carbs = 4
- Fats = 9
Because they're calorie-dense, fats can push you over your calorie limit. You will eat roughly 0.5 grams of fat per pound of body weight during Shortcut to Shred. You have to be cautious of how much fat you eat, but if you stick to the nutrition plan, your calories will stay in check.
Calories are an important factor when you're trying to burn body fat, but calories aren't the only factor. Your macro choices are more critical.
Sources: Table sugar, white potatoes
Effect: Spike blood glucose and insulin levels
Sources: Most fruits, whole grains, sweet potatoes
Effect: Less dramatic impact on blood glucose and insulin levels
Carbohydrates provide few benefits other than energy. Few people realize that, out of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates are the only ones that are not essential. There are essential amino acids and essential fats, which your body can't produce on its own, but there are no essential carbohydrates.