Protein is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to weight loss. Besides helping maintain an ideal weight, protein also has numerous health benefits for our bodies, from preventing cardiovascular diseases to helping increase the muscle mass of bodybuilders. However, in this article, we will focus on how protein helps lose weight.
Protein Changes the Levels of Certain Weight Regulating Hormones
You may have noticed that there are overweight people that actually don’t eat much. Also, there are skinny people who eat a lot! The fact is that body weight is continuously regulated by the brain, or more precisely, by the area called hypothalamus. It continually processes multiple types of information to determine when and how much you need to eat.
When you ingest a food that has high protein quantity, your body will feel fuller, and therefore you will eat less, and also less frequently. Also, a high protein intake will reduce the levels of ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone. A good idea is also to replace carbs and fat with protein, which will not only lead to reducing hunger but will also boost several satiety hormones; these hormones play a primary role in appetite reduction.
All of this will lead to a reduction in hunger, which is the main reason why proteins help reduce body weight and maintain the desired weight.
Protein Digesting and Metabolizing Burns Calories
Many people think that you lose calories only when you exercise. Working out is indeed the fastest method for losing calories, but you actually lose them every time the body needs the energy to do something. This means that you also lose calories while digesting and metabolizing food since this is a body process that also requires energy. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The good thing when it comes to protein is that it has a high thermic effect of 20-30 percent, compared to carbs which have a thermic effect of 5-10 percent, and fats, that go as low as 0-3 percent. At its best, when 100 calories of protein are ingested, only 70 calories will become usable calories. As we can see, on average a half of your intake of proteins are used in the digesting and metabolizing process.
Protein Makes You Burn More Calories
Due to its high thermic effect and due to several other factors, protein also helps boost metabolism. You should know that a slow metabolism is directly linked with obesity. It is scientifically proven that protein makes you burn more calories even when you sleep.
The fact is that a high protein intake will increase the number of burned calories up to 100 calories per day. This effect of protein is mostly expressed while eating at a caloric surplus, which is also known as overeating. A study that was conducted recently showed that the number of calories burned per day, thanks to protein, could reach up to 250.
Since proteins make you burn more calories, diets that include high protein intake have a metabolic advantage over the ones that are lower in protein. As we can conclude, protein indirectly affects calories burning by boosting metabolism, which then has a direct impact on burning calories.
Protein Reduces Appetite
Another great thing that protein does is that it reduces the overall appetite, and it is achieved via different mechanisms. Since protein reduces the appetite, it will automatically reduce the daily calorie intake. The fact is, you will end up eating fewer calories regularly, without having to count calories and control portions sizes.
Also, note that this is not just a theory; numerous studies have shown that people who eat more proteins automatically start eating fewer calories. Another interesting study in 2018, found people who ate 30% of their calories as protein drop their daily calorie intake by almost 450 calories, which is a tremendous amount.
Protein Reduces Cravings
The good thing about protein is that it reduces both cravings and the desire for late-night snacking. When you are on a diet, cravings are your worst enemy and the main reason why people fail with their diets. Additionally, late-night snacking is another problem, since most of us who stay up late at night usually have cravings for a snack.
Another bad habit when you eat at night is that you won’t have any activity to burn the calories, since you will be sleeping for the next few hours, and most of the calories will turn into fat.
However, in a recent study, it was shown that a diet with 25% calories from protein reduced cravings by more than 50% and cut the need for late-night snacks by almost 60%, which is impressive. Another critical thing to consider is that breakfast might be the most important meal to ingest lots of protein, which will drastically reduce cravings during the rest of the day.
The good thing about protein is that it has an impact both on reducing the calories coming into the body, and also on boosting the calories leaving the body. You may have heard of people who go on a diet and lose weight, and then after a short time, their weight returned. Well, research shows that it rarely happens to people who are on a high protein diet, since protein also prevents weight regain. It seems that high protein intake should be included in almost every diet.
As you can see, protein is an excellent nutritional supplement in every possible way and has absolutely no adverse effects. It reduces cravings, burns up to 30% of calories, makes you burn more calories, boosts metabolism, and even has a positive impact on certain hormones. If you are looking for a way to lose fat, or maintain your desired weight, then protein should be your primary nutritional supplement.