How to eat more than you burn (without gaining weight)
What's the secret?
The secret comes down to macronutrient choice and here, you need protein. As I detailed in Season 2, an experiment in which subjects consumed a caloric surplus of 800 calories (3,360 kJ) for eight weeks gained an average of just 1.7kg, and it was fat-free mass (the good stuff like muscle, skin and water).
The conventional equation of 29,400 kJ in a kilo of fat would have them gaining 6.4kg! The raised eyebrows in the global fitness community homed in on the source of the surplus – slow-release protein casein. Therein lies the secret.
You know the saying ‘A calorie is not a calorie’? While they may in theory behave similarly in terms of fuel and body mass, calories behave differently depending on whether they come from protein, fat or carbohydrates. The super science is thermogenesis, which basically renders many calories missing in action (like magic). In fact, it’s not as mysterious; simply, it takes a greater percentage of energy from protein to produce energy or heat than it does carbs or fat – think 30 per cent versus carbs’ five to 10 per cent and fat’s two to three. That is, almost all calories from fat are fair game for storage.
Apply this disappearing act to the surplus above and you can see where we’re going. When you're hungry, you can go over your daily calories via a whey or casein protein shake and not stress about fat gain. But caveat calorie cheat – it only applies to the protein portion of the surplus calories, so don’t go mistaking a T-bone as 100 per cent protein; the fat portion still complies with regular laws of physics.
To get maximum bang for your extra food-budget buck, find a protein source with negligible carbs and fat. It’s that simple.
Dayne Hudson (pictured) is a sports nutrition specialist. He also hosts FIT'N'FLEXED on the TEN Network.