When we think about our diet and losing weight we almost always think that eating less is the only way to do that! Right? Nope, not exactly! We should actually be eating More! More Protein, that is!
Current studies have concluded that people eating more protein can actually boost their fat loss and maintain more muscle mass better than those who are just focused on “counting calories.”
The food we consume is made up of 3 main macro-nutrients which are Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein. The most important nutrient for losing weight is protein.
What an Impact Protein can Have on Your Diet and Body!
When you have a high protein diet you will reduce your appetite, boost your metabolism and even reduce your body’s level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This leads to a significant decrease in your hunger.
So protein can make you eat fewer calories automatically and this is the main reason people lose weight with protein
Studies have compared the actual “fat loss” of 2 people who lost the same amount of overall body weight. The first person was on a high protein diet and lost about 25% more ”fat” than the second dieter, who had only the “recommended” level of protein in they’re diet. This blew me away!
This means that the second person obviously lost a great deal more muscle than the person on the high protein diet! This is definitely not good for your body because muscle burns 3 times more calories than fat. We want to lose the fat not the muscle! The fat is what makes our bodies look unpleasing.
Also, when you have more muscle you don’t have to worry about eating ice cream as much because your body burns the calories off much more efficiently……even while your sleeping. (I’ts just an example chill out! LOL)
A High Protein Diet Helps Your Digestive System Metabolize and Burn More Calories.
After we’ve eaten a meal, our bodies use some of the calories for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food.
This is called the “Thermal Effect of Food” (TEF). Some studies have shown that protein has a Thermal Effect of around 30%. While Carbohydrate is around 7% and Fat is about 0-1% (the other 2 “macro-nutrients” I talked about earlier)
This means that…..if you consume 100 calories of protein then your body burns 30% of those calories off and only stores 70 calories. Studies have shown that people on a ”High Protein” diet, burned an additional 450 calories per day.
Obviously by making your body burn more calories, a high protein diet has a significant “metabolic advantage” over conventional diets that are lower in protein and focused primarily on Carbs and Fat loss.
Protein Reduces Your Appetite!
When you consume protein rich foods this makes your body feel “fuller for longer.” This leads to less urge to eat.
If you have a problem with “binge snacking” protein will help curb that urge. With a protein diet you can actually eat more and still lose weight because your body is satisfied for longer.
Anyone who’s ever been on a diet will tell you that fighting off the hunger is a constant battle.
The good news is that It doesn’t have to be.
A High Protein Diet Helps Us Avoid Muscle Loss While Losing Weight.
As I mentioned earlier in the article………..weight loss definitely isn’t the same as fat loss but is often misunderstood as such or over looked by dieters. Often times when people lose weight, muscle mass is usually reduced also.
What people need to stay focused on is how much body fat they’ve lost and not necessarily what the scale says. Decreased muscle mass is a result of weight loss that most people don’t want.
Another more common side effect when your losing weight is that your metabolism tends to decrease. Basically, you end up burning even fewer calories than you did before you lost the weight.
They often call this your body’s “starvation mode.” This can result in hundred’s of fewer calories burned each day. Getting plenty of protein throughout the weight loss process can reduce muscle loss, this will help keep your metabolism higher as you lose body fat.
A proper strength training routine is another IMPORTANT factor than can reduce your muscle loss and slowed metabolism during the weight loss process.
For that reason, a high protein intake and consistent strength training routine are two incredibly important components that should go “hand in hand” in order to get the most out of your “Protein Weight Loss Plan.”
A high protein intake and strength training routine, not only keep your metabolism high, they also ensure that there is actually some muscle tone underneath the fat because you may end up looking skinny with lose skin instead of fit and lean once you’ve lost the weight!
This Isn’t A Miserable Diet! Eating High Protein is The Easiest and Most Delicious Way to Lose Weight!
When your eating to achieve a high protein intake you don’t need to restrict yourself of anything in order to benefit. It’s all about adding food to your diet.
This is awesome because the majority of foods that are high in protein also taste really good! Eating more of them is going to be easy and satisfying.
By increasing your protein intake on a permanent basis, you tip the “calories in vs calories out” balance in your favor.Over the next months and years the difference of your waistline could be dramatic.
Just remember however that your calorie intake still counts. Protein will reduce your hunger and boost your metabolism, but you won’t lose weight if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn.
What’s the Ideal Amount of Protein For You?
The “recommended” amount of protein intake is 46 grams for the average woman and 56 grams for the average man according to the (Dietary Reference Intake) DRI. This may be just enough to avoid muscle deficiency but is DEFINITELY not IDEAL if your goal is to lose weight or build muscle mass.
As mentioned earlier in the article: Try to aim your protein intake at about 30% of your daily food/calorie consumption. According to studies, this is very effective for losing weight. You can find the number of grams of protein by multiplying your daily calorie intake by 0.075. For example, if your on a 2,000 calorie a day………….2,000 x 0.075 = 150 grams of protein.
The way I and most strength trainers decide how much protein we need is by using our body weight. (I’ve proven this strategy effective over the years)
Depending on which of the following 3 categories best describe’s you, simply multiply the following quantities of protein by each pound of your body weight.
#1. Semi active people require 0.6 grams for each pound of body weight.
#2. Full time athletes require 0.8 grams for each pound of body weight.
#3. Weight lifters trying to build lean muscle mass require 1-1.2 grams for each pound of body weight.
Great Sources to Add More Protein to Your Diet.
Increasing your protein intake is simple. Just eat more of protein-rich foods.
Some examples of these include:
- Soy Beans
For a complete list of high protein foods check out my Protein Food Reference List.
For most people I recommend having a protein supplement on hand as well. This ensures that you get enough protein especially if your lifting weights.
Check out my protein supplement review page. You will find the perfect protein powder for weight loss!