There is nothing worse than irresistible cravings for foods you shouldn't be eating while you're trying to get and stay lean. What makes these cravings more difficult is deciphering the genesis of those cravings. But with the dietary protein tricks I'm going to show you, you will be able to hack your brain and biochemistry to reap time dependent benefits of protein.
There are two different reasons why we eat. While trying to achieve fat loss, it is very easy to get them confused, but knowing the difference is essential.
This is eating because your body actually needs fuel, this is real hunger. When trying to "lean out" you're going to feel the hunger drive derived from physiological eating. Unfortunately this is part of the game. I'm going to show you some different tips and tricks to buffer these feelings but getting lean means that you will be a little hungry.
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Reward-driven eating feels the same, you still want to eat, but the driving force behind those stomach rumblings are not physiological in origin. Instead they are driven by sight, smell, stress, thoughts, and memories. A classic example of this is mindless eating in front of the TV. Or impulse buying of junk carbs like a candy bar or French fries. Succumbing to reward-driven eating is the fastest way to get derailed from your diet. On the other hand, eating clean is paramount.
Most Important Meal of the Day
It is often been debated which is the most important meal of the day. Some say that it is your post-workout meal while others say that it is breakfast. While there may be no definitive answer to this debate if we are going to look specifically at controlling both physiological and reward-driven eating -- Breakfast is the champion and protein is the key.
Protein at Breakfast Decreases Reward-Driven Eating
Breakfast is traditionally a meal where carbohydrates are given a priority but protein is the shining star when it comes to reprogramming your brain to decrease your reward-driven eating sensations. A 2011 study published in Obesity showed that when people were given a high protein breakfast (~50 grams of protein) compared to skipping breakfast or eating a lower protein breakfast (~18 grams of protein) functional MRIs of their brains revealed responses unique to the high protein breakfast. Specifically what they found was that the areas of the brain associated with reward-driven eating were decreased or turned off for several hours following the high protein breakfast.
Protein at Breakfast Decreases Physiologically Driven Eating
Protein has several characteristics that drive its satiating effects. These two main driving forces are the hormones glucagon and cholecystokinin (CCK). Glucagon is a hormone released from your pancreas in response to amino acids. It has the job of initiation the remove of energy from your liver (unlike insulin which is a fuel storage hormone). Glucagon released in response to a high protein meal can help ensure stable blood sugar levels yielding steady energy.
CCK is released from your small intestines in response to the presence of either protein or fat. CCK initiates the release of digestive enzymes but it also has a neurological effect and interacts with your central nervous system by sending satiety signals.
Research from Purdue University shows that the hunger dampening effects of protein are best sensed by the body at breakfast compared to other meals through the day. This study also reported that these effects were only seen in the men that were on a diet and not the ones eating a maintenance level of calories. This further stresses the importance and benefit of consuming ample protein while dieting or eating clean, especially at breakfast.
[Editor's Note: If getting lean while maintaining muscle mass is a priority (and we're sure it is, if you're reading this), then adding Vectron to your supplementation regimen is an ideal choice. Vectron contains an elite fractionated protein complex called Prolibra, a specialized bioactive peptide matrix along with a special whey mineral complex designed to precisely target essential mechanisms of body transformation. That protein complex has been validated in an independent, randomized, double-blind, 12-week clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, in which subjects taking Prolibra showed significant improvements in the ratio of lean mass to fat as compared to a placebo group. Vectron , combined with Dr. Mike's timing strategies, make a powerful one-two punch in the war against excess fat.]
The Wrap Up
I don't have to convince you that protein is important but paying a little extra attention to where you are portioning the protein in your diet is. Make sure that breakfast is a high protein meal and this will help combat both physiological and reward driven urges to make poor eating choices making it easier for you to stick to your diet and hit your fat loss targets.