Protein helps you lose weight because it is satiating, keeps you full, and grows your muscles.
A high protein diet is not only helpful in muscle growth but also helps in weight loss. Period!
Protein – One of the Important Macronutrients for Weight Loss
Proteins are made up of amino acids and are known as the building blocks of life. Your body uses protein for growth and maintenance. Most people know that protein is a necessary part of their diet and helps in building muscles. But most of them have no idea how important protein is to the body.
There are 20 different amino acids that combine to make all types of proteins. Protein is an essential nutrient for your body and can serve as an alternate source of fuel when needed.
Primarily, protein helps in:
- The energy source for tissues and cells in the body.
- Production of hormones, antibodies, and other important substances.
- Securing the growth and development of muscles, hair, skin and bones.
Foods with the highest protein content are:
- Skinless, white-meat poultry
- Lean beef
- Low-fat milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat cheese
Protein can be divided into three types according to the essential amino acids:
1. Complete Protein
It contains all the essential amino acids. Animal products like eggs, meat, and dairy products.
2. Incomplete Protein
It contains at least one amino acid. Plant-based proteins such as legumes, cereals, and peas.
3. Complementary Protein
It is a mixture of two or more incomplete proteins. Let me explain it with an example. Rice contains low amounts of the amino acid lysine and high amounts of the amino acid methionine. Dry beans, on the other hand, contain greater amounts of lysine and lesser amounts of methionine. You will get all the essential amino acids when these two foods are Combined.
How Does Protein Help in Weight Loss?
Protein is famous for weight loss because it improves satiety and decreases fat mass. Some of the other reasons for weight loss with a high protein diet are increased secretion of satiety hormones (GIP, GLP-1), the increased TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), reduced orexigenic hormone secretion (ghrelin), and protein-induced alterations in gluconeogenesis to improve glucose homeostasis.
You lose your fat and overall body weight during the weight loss process. Diet is a crucial part of this process and should not be done without enough high-quality protein intake.
Now that you know a lot about protein, let us now discuss in detail how protein (of high quality) can help you lose weight effortlessly.
Eating more protein helps curb hunger for a longer time than consuming equal amounts of the other macros. For example, eating 200 calories from protein will keep you more filled than eating 200 calories from fat or carbs.
A study found that people taking low protein diet (10% protein, 60% carbs, 30% fats) had lower GLP-1 levels (a hormone that helps reduce appetite) for 24 hours after eating than to those taking a greater amount of protein (30% protein, 40% carbs, 30% fats).
Another study found that people including more protein in their diet tend to eat 400 fewer calories without any restrictions.
From the above studies, we found that a high-protein diet helps in more satiation and reduces appetite. It means there are more chances of weight loss with a higher protein diet.
“In a Nutshell: Eating more protein helps control hunger for a longer time”
Protein Burns More Calories
The calories taken to digest and process macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbs) in your diet is known as the TEF (Thermic Effect of Food).
-When you eat Protein, around 15-30% of calories are burned through processing.
-When you eat carbs, around 5-10% of calories are burned through processing.
-When you eat fats, around ~0-3% of calories are burned through processing.[Trusted Source]
Your body burns 40-50 calories during the processing when you eat 100 calories from protein.
“It means a high protein diet will have a higher TEF”.
Ok, let me explain it by giving an example.
The total TEF is approximately 10% of your total caloric intake.
If you eat 1600 calories, your body will burn 160 calories in order to digest and absorb that food. Right?
It means protein burns more calories than fats and carbs during processing and results in weight loss.
“In a Nutshell: Protein takes the most energy to digest (20-30%)”
Positive Impact on Weight Regulated Hormones
Everything in your body is actively controlled by your brain. And, if we talk about weight, it is regulated by a hormone known as the hypothalamus.
Your brain process a lot of information to decide when and how much to eat.
A diet with a higher protein decreases your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases the levels of satiety. This is one of the reasons how protein helps you lose weight as it lets you eat fewer calories automatically.
“In a Nutshell: Protein lets you eat fewer calories, hence leads to weight loss”
Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
Life is all about balance so is your food. Eating too much of anything can put you in trouble-including protein.
Weight loss is all about eating fewer calories or we can say by establishing a negative calorie balance, though this may be credible on a high-protein diet.
With a high-protein diet, you might be at a higher risk for heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, and hyperlipidemia [Source].
Eating protein more than the recommended quantity will later be converted to glucose. And, if you are in a sedentary mode, the metabolites will be stored as glycogen and fat, which is unsuitable during the weight loss.
A High-protein diet has been proved to be beneficial for weight control as discussed above.
Protein has a large effect in reducing hunger, it burns more calories than any other macronutrients. As a result, protein helps in weight loss.
However, knowing the consequences of eating more than the recommended protein can help you achieve your goal easier.
Last but not least, it is important to talk to your doctor first about any health problems.