Meat sweats. What are the “meat sweats”? Well, in college, my buddy Vons was the first person I heard who used the term. I chuckled, and then asked, “What the hell are the meat sweats?”
Turns out that meat sweats are a true thing. Although my friend referred to it as “When you start sweating because you’re eating so much meat,” there is also a scientific terminology of this tasty event. It is called the Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF) and it is literally the increase in energy required from your body to breakdown the food. Even though this amount of energy is rather small compared to what we use when exercising it is no joke that your body works harder to break down certain foods, specifically protein aka MEAT.
The equation: Eating + protein = + TEF = + energy (metabolism) = +heat (aka meat sweats). If there is an increase in energy then there is an increase in heat. There’s some thermodynamics for you right there. Thanks U-WL, I knew I’d put that Physics degree to good use some day ;).
Now back to TEF.
Each macronutrient (carbs, fats, and proteins) has a different TEF. Proteins have the highest thermic response while fats have the lowest. What does this mean? That your body works harder to break down protein compared to the other macronutrients. For every 100 calories (25 g) of protein ingested your body burns off 25 calories (approx. 6 g) says Precision Nutrition. The text also states that in the grand scheme of things, the TEF accounts for about 10% of your daily energy expenditure.
So do you think eating more protein will help you achieve your fat loss goals? Yes, but to an extent. We burn way more calories by EXERCISING and BUILDING LEAN MUSCLE so eating more protein shouldn’t be the only step you take. However, it’s no wonder why so many trainers and health professionals alike prescribe a high protein diet for their clients! We’ve just discussed the TEF and I haven’t even touched based on the other great effects from consuming protein (BUILDING LEAN MUSCLE and FEELING FULL just to name a few).
“So eating more protein will help me burn more calories and it helps me build more lean muscle while keeping me full?”
You got it. That’s protein in a nutshell.
Now before you go and spend $55.00 at GNC on your favorite whey protein, remember this: protein supplements are just that. SUPPLEMENTS. They are used to help supplement your protein count in your diet. These powders also have a lower TEF which means you don’t quite get the same internal effect as you do when eating whole food protein (no surprise there). Whey protein is the most common type of protein supplement and it is specifically used before, during, and after workouts because it is more EASILY DIGESTED by the body. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest whey.
You can have a small protein shake in the morning to help get your metabolism started and maybe another small one before bed (the bed one is dependent on your goals). If you choose to use your whey protein for a meal, then you need to combine other whole foods to create a well-balanced meal and also to help slow the digestion process. Combining whole food macronutrients creates a different TEF; therefore, adding in peanut butter, berries, spinach, almond milk, and flax seed can stunt the TEF and help keep you full. Simply adding Greek yogurt, berries, and walnuts will do the trick as well.
As you can see, adding more protein to your diet has several benefits. I’ve written about the benefits of eating more protein before and yet it can’t be said enough. EAT MORE PROTEIN. BURN MORE. MEAT SWEATS, AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!