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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Eating a bunch of protein tears up my stomach

This is a topic that I discuss daily with my women clients.

A common occurrence when embarking on a fat loss program is that the new increase in protein in your meal plan causes you digestive problems. You start having all sorts of belly issues and you start dropping protein gas bombs, pooping Godzilla turds, having green apple splatters and other vile, nasty stuff. The stench of your new endeavors is enough to melt paint and make you gag on a windy day. High Protein intake gives a whole new meaning to the farting term”silent but deadly”.

Guys can usually deal with this without major alterations to the alignment of the stars. Women, on the other hand, have traumatic reactions to this newfound horror. For women, this is unacceptable and it immediately puts a halt to fat loss efforts. Women would rather be fat than smell like a smushed, road kill armadillo on a Texas highway at high noon.

This is a common issue that affects everyone when they change their meal plan. When you start a fat loss program, you probably tried to change the types of food that you are eating, first. You clean up your diet and start making good food choices. This includes a massive increase in protein for the average person. You start making progress but then the gas cloud starts filling the breathable air with the stench of death and that brings everything to a gagging and screeching halt. You sound off with a loud and thunderous “screw this” and the protein is no longer part of the equation. As a result, progress slows or stops and then you start popping handfuls of pink poka dotted anti-depressants to avoid dragging a razor blade across your wrists. Don’t panic, there is hope.

Of course, it is not a topic that is easily talked about by most women so you avoid it like the Ebola virus when discussing your fat loss progress with your trainer. There are reasons for this phenomenon and things that you need to do to correct it. The protein is a must for fat loss and lean tissue development. So cutting it out is not the answer. The answer is that you must make sure that when you change your food choices, you do more than just add more protein and don’t eat anything else. This is common as many people only hear the part about eating more protein and cutting back on bad stuff like all of the processed death foods that come in a box. So you end up cutting out a bunch of stuff and only really adding a ton of protein. You fail to add in the rest of the plan which includes tons of fibrous carbs from vegetables and fruits, good fats and lots of water. When you add in all aspects of your newly designed macro nutrient ratio, you get the proper amount of fiber and fat, which balances out the increase in protein. This eliminates most of the protein belly trauma and gives you the essential elements for fat loss, lean tissue development and overall health.

There are a bunch of reasons why high protein intake causes an upset belly. Changes in your body’s PH level, the amounts of stomach acid, digestive enzymes and micro nutrients can wreak havoc on your system and any increase in one type of food alters this delicate balance. That is why you need to eat clean and balanced with the right amounts of each macro nutrient. Carbs, fats and protein have to be added to your meal plan in the right amount with the right frequency for your system to achieve balance. You need to add them all in together as a combined total meal plan. You don’t want to cut out the case of coke and three tons of pizza, pasta and bagels and just add a ton of protein. This is why the stink bomb hits you. You need to cut out the garbage food and add all of the healthy whole foods from your meal plan – not just protein.

So the bottom line is don’t cut out the protein, instead add your fibrous carbs from vegetables and fruits, good fats (like fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds) and drink plenty of water. Get plenty of antioxidants and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) through your healthy whole foods and supplement your plan with stuff like yerba mate tea, green tea and a multi-vitamin. By making your meal plan balanced and clean, you can still take in the protein that you need for fat loss and muscle development without the dreaded belly trauma.

Eric Dempsey
Dempsey’s Resolution Fitness
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