While losing weight isn’t always the goal when it comes to leading a balanced lifestyle, making a few changes to your diet can be a helpful way to lose weight healthily. But why not follow the science instead of a fad diet? In which case can eating more protein be good for weight loss?
Protein is a macronutrient that plays a key role in the health and normal functioning of our bodies. Studies have shown that it can also help keep us fuller for longer, which may play a role in successful weight loss.
Here we discuss how protein can help with weight loss, where to get the best protein sources from your diet and other tips for losing weight in a sustainable way. In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to the best protein bars. Do you like to drink your protein in shake form? We’ve also rounded up the best protein shaker.
dr. Rebecca Breslow is a physician, researcher and writer. She graduated from Yale University and received her medical training at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Children’s Hospital. She was a practicing physician in academic medicine for 17 years, during which time she wrote numerous publications for academic and lay audiences. She currently focuses on freelance medical writing and editing to make medical, health and wellness information accessible to a wide audience.
How is protein involved in weight loss?
Protein is an important macronutrient that plays many important roles in the body. It aids us in muscle recovery and contributes to the structure of our tissues and the general functioning of our body. Everyone needs some protein in their diet to stay healthy.
“Protein is important as a building block of the body because it helps to maintain muscle mass,” explains Jinan Banna, nutritionist and founder of Jinan Banna (opens in new tab). “It also has many other functions in the body and is important for weight loss because it helps you feel full, so you don’t overeat.”
But how does protein contribute to weight loss? Well, according to a review published in Frontiers in Endocrinology (opens in new tab)high-protein diets can help us feel full longer, expend more energy, build lean muscle mass, and sustain weight loss for longer periods of time.
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (opens in new tab), researchers found that high-protein diets can lead to higher energy expenditure and thus more weight loss. “Our study proved that the same number of calories, but from different diets, can trigger different reactions in energy metabolism,” said study co-authors, Carla Prado and Camila Pinto.
In other words, if you eat the same number of calories as you eat now, but increase the amount of calories that come from protein, you can expend more energy and thus lose some weight.
Another study published in food diary (opens in new tab) found that healthy young women tended to eat fewer snacks between meals if they followed a high-protein diet. In addition, the body finds it more difficult to store protein as fat – so by eating a diet with more protein, you will find that your body stores less fat over time.
How much protein should you eat to lose weight?
There is no set amount of protein recommended for weight loss. However, according to a study published in nutrients where 16 athletes were randomly assigned to two different protein diets (high v, low), the findings suggested that eating about 1.8-2.9 g of protein per kilogram per day improved people’s feelings of fullness and therefore over the course of the time contributed to healthier eating and weight loss.
This range is slightly more than the government-recommended protein intake. For the average person, 0.8 g per kilogram per day is usually sufficient. For people who exercise regularly, the recommended amount is increased to 1.2-1.7 g per kilogram.
Try increasing your protein intake slowly by replacing processed foods or excessive carbohydrates or fats with protein-rich foods instead. The best protein powder can also come in handy if you’re struggling to get enough protein from your diet.
Can you eat too much protein?
It’s important not to overdo it with your protein-rich diet. when you eat too much proteinside effects can include bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, dehydration, and even some more serious health problems.
“Eating too much can mean you’re on a nutrient-deficient diet because you might not be consuming many other foods you need, such as fruits and vegetables and sources of healthy fat like olive oil,” says Banna. “Our bodies need nutrients that are found in foods from all food groups, and overdoing it with protein can mean we can’t consume all of those nutrients in the right amounts.”
Always talk to your doctor before starting any new diet to make sure you don’t overdo it with your protein intake.
What are good high protein foods for weight loss?
While many of us immediately associate protein with meat, there are also many protein sources that are suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
“You need to vary your protein sources,” Banna says. “Fish can be included in your diet if you eat animal foods as a source of omega-3 fats. Plant-based protein sources are also a healthy part of the diet, such as beans and tofu. Poultry is also a good source of protein, and red meat is also welcome. be absorbed more sparingly.”
Here are a few high-protein foods to try:
- Meat: beef, pork, lamb, veal
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey
- Fish: salmon, haddock, shrimp, mussels
Looking for more information on how to lose weight by changing what you eat? View our guides on how to follow a vegan diet to lose weight and how to follow a mediterranean diet to lose weight?.
Other tips for successful weight loss
Changing your diet is not the only way to lose some weight. It’s also important to make other lifestyle adjustments so that you reach the healthiest weight for your body type. Here’s what the experts recommend:
- Get regular exercise: a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that while cardio and strength training are both beneficial, they have different effects.
- Stay Hydrated: Don’t confuse your thirst for hunger. Try to drink a glass of water before going for a snack.
- Eat a balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables (and some protein), rather than processed foods.
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat regularly: Skipping meals can lead to unhealthy snacking and an ineffective digestive system
Obesity can lead to a number of health problems, but it’s important to remember that everyone has a unique body type and natural weight, so don’t confuse being skinny with being healthy.
If you and your doctor agree that it’s healthy for you to lose weight, it may be helpful to discuss how to increase your protein intake. Remember to keep eating other crucial foods like fruits and vegetables to stay healthy and strong as well.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.