Interested in the Nigerian Protein Diet?
Then keep reading...
Perhaps you have been trying so hard to lose weight or gain some muscle mass, yet you just can’t crack it. One of the issue may be that you are not consuming enough protein.
Today, I am going to open your eyes to the numerous benefits of protein, and how it can help you finally crack your body goal struggles.
Sounds good? Let’s jump in…
What are proteins?
Proteins are essential group of macro-nutrients. They are the building blocks of all human tissues. A high protein diet is when 20% or more of your energy consumption is made up of proteins.
What is the recommended amount of protein?
In the Western world, proteins tend to be over consumed. Because it is not a hard macro-nutrient to get, and people overeat in general. However...
In developing countries, proteins tend to be either under consumed, or consumed just enough to avoid deficiency.
The recommended protein intake for a sedentary adult is 0.8g/kg/day. If active or doing endurance training, it is 1.2 – 1.4g/kg/day.
If strength training for muscle gains, aim for 1.7 – 2g/kg/day.
Sources of protein:
There are animal and plant source of proteins. Just as carbohydrate is broken down to glucose, proteins are broken down to amino acids.
The body needs 22 amino acids, and 9 of them cannot be made by the body.
Therefore, this must come from foods. It is important to be mindful that certain source of protein contain all the amino acids and others do not.
1. Animal sources of protein
Animal sources of protein typically contain the complete amount of the amino acids required. And they provide a high amount of protein per gram consumed (see table below).
People may not consume animal protein because they are vegetarian or vegan.
Also, animal proteins can be more expensive, but you can always find cost effective choices.
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck.
- Red meat: beef, goat, lamb
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy: Milk, yoghurt, cheese.
Protein per 100g
Calories per 100g
Sardine (oil drained)
*Lean is minimal amount of fat, the higher the fat content the higher the calories.
2. Plant sources of protein
You do not need to be vegetarian to enjoy these foods, as part of a balanced diet. They should certainly be prioritised if you are vegan, as they will form the main source of protein.
Most foods on here will not only provide protein but will also provide complex carbohydrate (which results in slow and steady sugar release), fibre (which keeps you fuller for longer and helps your gut health) and various vitamins and minerals. See examples on the table below.
Protein per 100g
Calories per 100g
Black eye beans (boiled)
Red kidney beans (boiled)
Bulgar wheat (boiled)
Fura / millet (dry)
The takeaway from the tables above is that some foods may have a high protein content but also have enormous amount of calories, so they should be used in moderation, like nuts.
Others may have a modest amount of protein but barely any calories like okra and ugu, so they can be utilised a lot more.
Overall go for a mixture of these and choose foods that serves a lot of macronutrients, like beans and legumes will cover carbs, yet still provide a decent amount of protein. Sardines can provide both protein and good fat.
How to practically increase your protein intake:
Start by completely rethinking your plate composition. You can even picture your plate as a pie chart.
Instead of a mountain of rice in one corner, a heap of deep-fried ripe plantain in the other, and a tiny chicken somewhere.
Significantly reduce the amount of rice, and add more chicken, fish, beef, or whatever protein you fancy. Add nutritious vegetables in the place of rice, this will also fill you up and they also contain proteins (every little helps).
Benefits of a Nigerian protein Diet
Here are some of the key benefit of consuming protein:
Protein is the most filling of the 3 macro-nutrients. It helps keeps you fuller for longer. Therefore, you will consume less food / calories overall, resulting in weight loss. This can be achieved without an over-restrictive diet. Equally, when you have achieved your goal weight, continue to take high protein meals to maintain your weight, as it will help keep away unnecessary cravings.
2. Building and maintain muscle mass
Protein is the building blocks of muscles. Eating adequate amount of protein during weight loss can help preserve the muscles you have already. However, combining it with strength training will not only maintain the muscles you have already but will allow you grow your muscles.
3. Maintain strong bones
Eating high protein diet especially when combines with strength training can result in stronger and healthier bones. This reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures. After menopause, women have a significant drop of oestrogen (this is protective to bones). Weaker bones can crack easily with minimal force. So, think of this intervention as insurance policy, to prevent fractures in later life.
4. Boosting metabolism
As discussed in one of the previous posts, protein has the highest thermogenic food effects. Meaning that the body expels more energy in break down and absorption of protein. So, less energy will be left for conversion to fat.
5. Helps in physical healing
People who are malnourished including having a deficit in protein can have poor wound healing. So, increasing your protein intake can provide building blocks to allow the body to heal and repair itself faster. This is also relevant when strength training, as tiny tears on the muscles (when stressed by the resistant weight) are healed with your high protein meals. Resulting in bigger and stronger muscles.
High protein meal, exercise, and strength:
Nobody ever had an endorphin high from a low calorie and high protein meal. Therefore, this post will not be complete without mentioning exercise. Especially strength and resistance training.
Depending on your starting weight, you may need to do more cardio to burn extra fat, but it is never too early to incorporate strength training as part of your exercise routine.
Unlike cardio, where you cannot target where to lose weight from. You can target what area of your body to shape / enhance with strength and resistant training.
And by the way ladies, lifting weight would not make you look like a man!
Those super muscular women that you have a mental image of, do very intense and relentless training for years and years.
A large proportion also take steroids and testosterone (which is a dominant male hormone), so don’t worry and get lifting. Trust me, there is beauty in strength.
The bottom line
Well, there you have it. Weight loss or building muscle is simple, but it is not that easy. However, you can give yourself an edge and a higher probability of succeeding by incorporating a high protein meal with strength and resistance training, while respecting your caloric limits.