The Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss

The Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss

We’re constantly told by health experts that we should include protein foods in our daily diet. After all, they’re one of the top building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a valuable fuel source That said, did you know that protein is the single most important nutrient to aid your body with weight loss?  


The Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss

A high-protein diet has been proven to help people burn fat naturally, prevent muscle loss and ultimately become leaner. Intrigued? Read on for details.  

1.   Protein Aids Fat Loss

Firstly, protein is classed as an “endothermic” food. What does this term mean? Well, it’s a combination of two words:
  • “Endo” refers to your endocrine and immune system
  • “Thermic” refers to foods that burn fat naturally

In essence, endothermic foods help to boost the hormones that slow ageing and speed up fat loss. As a result, you can build more lean muscle which gives your body more energy on a day to day basis.


2. Protein Helps You to Burn Calories

The high thermic effect of protein means that it’s also known to boost your metabolism. Simply put, it can increase the number of calories that your body burns from 80 to 100 per day. And this includes during sleep!  


3. Protein Reduces Your Appetite

Additionally, protein has the power to suppress your appetite. If you increase your protein intake, or even replace carbohydrates and fat with protein, two things happen:
  • The hunger hormone is reduced
  • Multiple satiety hormones are boosted

Consequently, you will eat fewer calories automatically and end up losing weight. In fact, one study found that a 30% protein, 20% fat and 50% carbohydrate diet caused participants to drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day. Ergo, protein has both a metabolic and appetite advantage.  


4. Protein Suppresses Cravings and Late-Night Snacking

Cravings are one of the biggest reasons we fail to lose weight. After all, it’s just so easy to reach for the snack tub while watching TV after our evening meal. Right? If you think about it though, this late-night snacking can cause an explosion of calories in addition to the calories you’ve already consumed that day. That said, one study found that protein that makes up 25% of your diet can significantly reduce cravings by 60%. This then cuts the desire for late-night snacking by half! The bottom line? Upping your protein intake can make it much easier to sustain a healthy diet.  


5. Protein Helps to Prevent Muscle Loss

Lastly, when you lose weight, you also tend to lose muscle mass. However, this isn’t ideal. You want to lose body fat only. Another side effect of weight loss is a decrease in your metabolic rate. This means you end up burning fewer calories than you did pre-weight loss. However, eating plenty of protein can effectively reduce muscle loss. As a result, your metabolic rate will stay higher as you burn more fat, especially when combined with heavy weight training.  


How Much Protein Should I Have?

According to Healthline, the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight — or 0.36 grams per pound. This equates to:
  • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
  • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
Having said that, individuals who are trying to lose weight should increase their protein intake to maximise its benefits. What are some types of protein foods, you ask?
  • Meats: Chicken, turkey, lean beef, pork
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, haddock, trout
  • Eggs: All types
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils

And keep in mind that you can mix and match these as much as you like.  


The Takeaway

Protein is a crucial food group to include in your daily diet. Its main purpose is to build and repair tissues, as well as provide you with energy. That said, numerous studies suggest that increasing the amount of protein foods in your diet can also be beneficial for weight loss, fat loss and metabolic health.
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