Is Protein Good for Weight Loss?
It may seem like the best way to lose weight is by reducing the amount of food you eat but it isn’t that simple. For sustainable long term weight loss, it is usually about improving the quality of the food you eat. The best way to do this is to look at the nutrients you aren’t getting enough of and adding them to your diet. For many people, one of those nutrients is protein. In this article, we are going to learn if protein is really good for weight loss and if so, how it works to help you shed those extra pounds.
Is Protein Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, eating enough protein is good for weight loss. Even though protein is a source of calories just like fat and carbs, adding it strategically to your meals can help you shed weight faster.
Research shows that high protein meals help in maintaining a healthy weight. Of course, just like anything, protein must also be consumed in moderation to get any real benefits from it.
Why Protein is Good for Weight Loss
Adding protein to your diet is an effective weight loss strategy for many reasons including the following:
Protein improves satiety after meals. Since protein digests slowly, it helps you stay full for longer after meals. This is because one of the first triggers of hunger is an empty stomach. Since protein takes longer to digest, it stays longer in the stomach keeping you satisfied and protecting you from constant cravings and snacking.
Protein supports the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. As you may already know, muscles are mostly protein. Even at rest, muscles burn a lot of calories, therefore, the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn at rest and during exercise. Eating enough protein, especially if paired with resistance training can tremendously increase the rate at which you burn fat.
The process of digesting protein also burns calories. Similar to all body processes, the digestion of protein in the gut burns calories. This adds to the number of calories your body burns in a day increasing your chances of losing weight.
Proteins help in the formation of new hormones, some of which control hunger. Hunger is controlled by a region in the brain known as the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is controlled by the levels of certain hormones such as cholecystokinin which is made from proteins.
What Foods are Highest in Protein?
Most foods have some protein in them but the best sources are:
Meats such as beef, pork, chicken, and duck
Dairy and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts
Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
Legumes such as beans and chickpeas
Protein supplements such as protein powder, protein shakes, and protein bars.
Remember that even though it is true that animal protein is superior to plant protein in quality, you can still meet all your protein needs on a plant-based diet.
If you are struggling with meeting your protein needs with only foods, a high quality protein supplement is a great way to boost your intake. Another way to meet your daily needs is having protein at all your meals, even breakfast and snacks. This can help you spread your protein intake across multiple meals instead of having to get it all in two meals.
How much protein should you eat a day to lose weight?
The amount of protein a person needs varies according to their sex, body weight, and level of activity. The average requirement for adults is about 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams of protein for men. For weight loss purposes, try to get at least 30% of your calories from protein.
You can also use your body weight to estimate how much protein you need. The average adult needs about 1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass. If it feels right, you can track your macros to ensure you hit your target. However, it is not always necessary. A well-balanced diet should be enough to meet your protein requirements if you are in good health.
Does protein burn belly fat?
No, protein doesn’t burn belly fat. However, increasing your protein intake can help you lose body fat by helping lose weight everywhere. There is nothing that will help you lose fat only on your belly. The only way to lose fat on your belly, or anywhere for that matter, is to lose weight all over your body.
What protein is best for weight loss?
The best type of protein for weight loss is protein from whole foods. As long as you are getting your protein from whole sources like unprocessed meats, nuts, and seeds, it should support your weight loss journey. Protein from supplements is also supportive of weight loss as long as they are of the highest quality and are made from whole foods.
Does protein burn fat without exercise?
No, protein doesn’t burn fat without exercise. Protein can help you lose weight after exercise but not by directly burning fat. Instead, protein makes your body more efficient at burning fat and also protects you from constant cravings after meals.