How to avoid getting fat while taking protein, according to a nutritionist 

How much do you whey?

It’s May, the sun is out and your Zante trip is just around the corner.

You turn to the gym, protein shake in hand. But how do you stop it from making you fat? How do you know that you’re doing it right without the embarrassment of asking your muscly mates?

We spoke to nutrition expert and lecturer at Glasgow University, Dr Emilie Aspray, to find out her top tips.

Biceps, triceps, wonky cupboards

Biceps, triceps, wonky cupboards

What does protein do?

Emilie tells us when you drink a protein shake, or eat a protein bar, “the proteins that we eat are broken down by the body into their basic building blocks, the amino acids.
“These amino acids are utilised to build proteins in our body – not only those in our muscles, but also proteins which are important for immunity, or hormones, for example.
“Some of the amino acids can  also be used to create energy. There’s about four calories per gram of protein.”

How should you take protein?

Surprise surprise, Emilie tells us that “the best way to consume proteins is as part of a balanced diet”.

This, she assures us, will cover the person’s need in term of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and mineral) with adequate hydration.

“It’s always advisable to undertake a specific diet under the advice of a registered dietitian.

“A balanced diet following the Eatwell plate model is a good point to start. This involves eating a wide variety of foods and drink in the correct proportion and amount to meet energy requirement and maintain adequate body weight.

“More protein does not mean more stores, or more muscle. The body regulates the amount of nitrogen it receives and too much protein can actually harm the kidney, and displace the intake of other important nutrients.”

A modern twist on a triangular classic

A circualar twist on a triangular classic

How much protein is too much protein?

Doccy Aspray whipped out the stats and told us “the  reference nutrient intake is 0.7gram per kg body weight per day for a normal adult. For athletes, this could go up to 1.2-1.7 grams per kg body weight per day.
“Too much protein is more likely to put a strain on the kidneys than make you fat, however, consuming a lot of protein may mean that energy intakes are exceeded (if on top of the normal diet) – that extra protein is extra energy, and any energy not utilised will lead ultimately to weight gain.”


Will it help me get my Malia 2k15 bod?

“The first thing to do is get active, go to the gym, exercise! A careful look at protein nutrition may be useful for people who train regularly and have specific goals for performance, muscle growth and recovery.
“The concept of a ‘summer bod’ seems more of a once a year attempt to get fit – in which case a good exercise regime and a balanced diet will be just fine.”