Protein is an important food group. It’s crucial for muscle growth and repair, and it helps you recover faster after exercise. But, did you know, it’s also important for weight loss, and eating more protein could even help you lose that weight faster?
In an effort to lose weight, I have tried lots of different diets, with very mixed results. Shakeology worked, but I found it too expensive, which is why I wrote my article Shakeology alternatives. I’m still a big fan of meal replacements shakes for weight loss, but sometimes it’s nice to eat “real food.” I’ve also tried low carb dieting, and that worked very well too.
Not sure which diet is right for you? Let me help! Check out my article What’s the best diet for me for guidance and advice.
I was thinking about these diets and then had a thought about what they have in common – protein! Meal replacement shakes are invariably high in protein, and low carb diets are high in protein too.
What makes protein so good for weight loss?
Here’s what I learned!
Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Unlike carbs, protein takes a long time to digest, and that means it stays in your stomach for longer, keeping you feeling full for a long time. Losing weight means eating less, and that often leads to hunger. Once you get hungry, it won’t be long until you break your diet and eat something you shouldn’t. But, with more protein in your meals, you’ll feel less hungry.
Protein helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can also make you feel hungry, and plays havoc with your energy levels. Protein does not affect your blood sugar levels very much, unlike carbs, which is why a higher protein diet will often lead to more stable energy. This stops you from having to snack to keep your energy levels up. Fewer snacks mean faster weight loss.
Protein boosts your metabolism. When you eat protein, your body has to work extra hard to digest and utilize it. This uses calories. The number of calories used varies, but can be as much as 20-30% of the amount you have eaten. The more protein you eat, the more your metabolism is boosted, and the more calories you burn – even at rest and while you sleep.
Protein preserves your muscle mass. During a diet, it’s very common to lose muscle. This can lead to a reduction in your metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn per day. If this happens, weight loss can become very slow, or even stop altogether. Eating more protein helps you to preserve your muscle mass, so you won’t experience any metabolic slowdown.
So, there are four very good reasons to include more protein in your weight loss diet. But how do you do it? That’s a good question.
You could make high protein meal replacement shakes, use protein bars, or supplement your diet with protein powder. Or, if you prefer whole foods, you can eat more things like chicken, fish, eggs, and meat. However you do it, eating more protein can help you lose weight faster – and that’s a proven fact.
As important as protein is, it’s only one of the nutrient groups required for a healthy diet. Make sure you check out my article Nutrition Facts – A Practical Guide About Nutrition – for information on what you should and shouldn’t eat for health and weight loss.