5 Ways Protein Helps You Lose Weight
Whether or not you are trying to lean up or simply see the scale budge, protein is going to be your B.F.F. If you are having trouble dropping pounds, chances are that you are not eating enough protein on a regular basis which can hinder your weightloss journey more than you might realize.
How much protein do you need? As a general rule of thumb, most women need about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight although some ladies will need a bit more; especially if they are very active.
Protein has been crucial in my weightloss journey back when I lost 45lbs in 2010 and even after having both of my babies. Not only that, protein played a huge role during my pregnancy as I aimed to eat 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
How does it help exactly? Read on!
Here are 5 ways that protein helps you to lose weight:
1. Increased Thermogenesis. Did you know that simply eating food burns calories? Think about it-your body has to process and digest every bit of food that goes through your digestive system. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) and it represents the energy required for the digestion, absorption, transport, metabolism and storage of all the foods you eat and accounts for approximately 10 per cent of daily caloric burn. Out of all macronutrients, protein has the highest TEF. This is due to the fact that protein is the most complex macronutrient and it demands a lot more energy because your hormones, enzymes, and other metabolites require it for processing. Simply put-if you eat more protein, you will burn more calories.
1. Increased Satiety. Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories. While there is still much to be discovered on the topic, it could be due to the fact that protein activates satiety hormone release which helps you to stay fuller for a longer amount of time. This helps to stop those mindless cravings as well as managing your appetite. Now that I am postpartum and nursing a baby, I could really use all the appetite control that I can get! Nursing burns a lot of calories and it also makes you very hungry. At night, when I am craving something to snack on, I will grab a packet (or scoop) of protein and mix it with almond milk for a filling treat.
1. Preservation of Lean Muscle Mass. Protein is the building block of muscle so it only makes sense to fuel and repair muscle tissue with just that: protein. By upping the protein in your diet, you will keep lean muscle mass on which, in turns, burns more calories. One important thing to keep in mind is that if you are cutting calories for a goal of weightloss, you will need to up your protein intake to prevent losing any muscle. During my pregnancy, I heavily relied on protein shakes to fuel my workouts because something that I noticed from my last pregnancy is that I lost a ton of muscle mass. This second time around, I kept my protein intake high and was able to build muscle even while expecting.
1. Curbs Carb Cravings. Protein is super important when curbing carbohydrate cravings. Most women do not realize that eating carbohydrates triggers the brain to crave more carbohydrates. Now, I am not saying that carbs are bad-I eat tons of carbs daily, but if you are wanting to transform your body or lose weight, protein is going to be the key player here. By consuming more protein, your body will stop craving as many carbs as it once did. This will lead to a greater feeling of fullness and you will see the scale start to budge. I am personally one HUGE carboholic! Eating protein filled snacks helps to keep me from constantly wanting to grab bread, cookies, pasta, etc. Don’t get me wrong-carbs are wonderful and essential, but protein is the true star for fat loss.
1. Protein Changes Your Hormones. Remember how we discussed how protein keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time? This is all due to the fact that it affects the hormones in your body that signal hunger. Two important hormones that shape our appetite and hunger signals are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is secreted primarily in fat cells, as well as the stomach, heart, placenta, and skeletal muscle. Leptin decreases hunger. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Ghrelin increases hunger. Eating a diet high in protein increases your Leptin levels while decreasing your Ghrelin levels and this is why protein makes you feel.
It is best to get your protein from whole food sources such as lean beef, poultry, and fish, but it is never a bad idea to keep a good protein powder on hand for when you need protein quickly. Another great thing about protein powders is that it delivers a large amount of protein at once so you do not have to go eat a huge steak in one sitting.. although I do love some steak! I use protein shakes 5 days a week right after finishing up my workout and I could not go without them in my daily diet.
My favorite protein powder is the All Natural Whey from MRM in the strawberry flavor. You cannot go wrong with anything from MRM, though.