Overeating will make you fat, irrespective of the food item, only if you enter into a surplus. But, on one hand, people think overeating only on protein lets you get away, without getting fat, and on the other hand, people think excess protein leads to weight gain.
In this article, we will be discussing how overeating on protein is a good strategy while maintaining lost weight or losing weight.
What do we mean by ‘overeat’?
Overeating simply refers to eating more calories than your body needs, hence entering into a surplus of calories in the day. Now, we know that overeating or being in a caloric surplus will result in a gain in body weight, particularly fat regardless of consuming the healthiest of the items. But there is some silver lining to this.
Let’s understand the concept of the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
Simply put, it is the total calories you burn in the process of digestion.
Let's understand this with the help of an example. Overeating 100 kcal protein leaves us with a net ~70 kcal absorbed by the body, while overeating 100 kcal carbs or fats leaves us with a net ~90/95 kcal absorbed by the body. This means for every 100 calories extra that you have, 20-25 kcal is something you have control over.
Evidence shows that overeating carbs and fats add fat to your body in a similar fashion to protein. Increased body weight happens primarily through fat mass and water weight. But, Protein is BAE. Overeating on protein has very little effect on fat gain even on surplus calories to an extent.
In fact, a study by Antonio et al. 2014, determined that consuming 5.5 times the daily recommended allowance of protein, 4.4g per kg per day did not affect body composition despite overeating by 800 kcal per day (PMID: 24834017)
Protein appears to have protective effects against fat gain even on surplus calories, especially combined with strength training. It also stands out for its properties of being one of the most satiating macronutrients out of all. Evidence from 7 studies repeatedly shows us that high protein diets may be the key to promoting positive body composition.
Now that you are ready to overeat, 3 ways to do it right
1) Make sure high protein food does not come with added fats or carbs
Eg. Overeating on chicken tikka can add a lot of calories from fat with protein!
2) Overeat on protein, but in limit. Be sensible and be human
Eg. Imagine you overeating without a limit and messaging us :X
3) Try to make your diet high-protein & protein dominant, which will push carbs and fat macros lower. Eg. Taking away carb and fat macros for protein