How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally
Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss and a better looking body.
A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones (
Protein can help you lose weight and belly fat, and it works via several different mechanisms.
This is a detailed review of the effects of protein on weight loss.
When Should You Take Protein Powder
Many athletes prefer to take protein powder right after a workout but it largely doesnt matter when you take it. Although there is some research to suggest that hydrolyzed whey protein is more effective directly after exercise, your body uses protein throughout the day.
As long as you take the appropriate amount of protein powder every day, you can consume it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The only benefit of taking a protein powder immediately after a workout is that you wont forget to take it. Many athletes like to stack their protein powder with other supplements so it makes sense for them to take their powder after a workout. This way, they can consume all of their at the same time.
If you decide to take a casein protein, you may prefer to take it at night. Casein takes longer to digest than whey proteins, making it a popular option for athletes who want to stave off muscular degeneration during the night. Take it before bed after an intense workout to speed up your recovery and fight off next-morning fatigue.
Does Protein Reduce Hunger
Hunger is an inevitable side effect of cutting calories, but the type of foods you are choosing might help curb your appetite more than others. Protein is thought to have some well-documented satiating effects, particularly while on a diet .
In one study, consuming 30% of calories from protein caused participants to eat almost 450 calories less per day – leading to twelve pounds of weight loss in 3 months . Some research has even suggested 25% of your calories coming from protein can help curb cravings .
It is no wonder popular high protein diets recommend roughly 30% to 40% of calories come from protein, which would equal out to 150 to 200 grams of protein per day on a 2,000 calorie diet .
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Can Protein Help You Lose Weight
Increasing your protein intake beyond that might be helpful for those looking to shed some pounds as long as it does not mean excess calories. “It can help with weight in that it can balance satiety, or our fullness factor,” says Melissa Majumdar, M.S., a registered dietitian at Emory University Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While calorie restriction is typically required for weight loss, loading up on protein-rich foods can help you feel satisfied even within those caloric constraints.
This relates to hormones, which can trigger the body’s cues for both hunger and fullness. “When we eat a meal and it gets into our small intestines, we release hormones to tell us to stop eatingand protein is the best at ,” explains Fujioka. To be specific, protein is better as a satiety signal than its fellow macronutrients, fat and carbohydrates.
Moreover, that fullness factor isn’t fleeting. “Studies show that it’s both with a single mealso if your meal contained protein, then it would create more fullnessbut also a 24-hour period,” says Majumdar. “So, over the course of the day, if there was more protein incorporated, that can control hunger better.”
Then there’s the fact that protein is a key player for creating muscle mass. “Whenever we lose weight, we naturally lose some of our lean muscle mass, and protein can help preserve that,” says Majumdar.
Can I Replace A Meal With A Protein Shake
It is safe to replace a meal with a whey protein shake, but moderation is key. Its still important to eat a range of whole foods to receive the nutrients you need, including protein .
Whey protein powder is a supplement, so treat it as such! If youre going to replace a meal with a protein shake, try to limit it to once per day to ensure youre still getting the proper nutrition. Additionally, you can ask your nutritionist or dietician for assistance in finding the right balance for you.
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What Is The Thermogenic Effect Of Protein
It takes energy to digest your food – commonly referred to as the thermic effect of food . And as it turns out, each macro requires a different amount of energy to digest.
Protein is thought to be the most thermogenic of all the macros – causing a small spike in metabolism to digest protein foods compared to fat and carbs . And it is commonly believed that eating more protein overall may lead to tiny increases in your daily metabolism and overall energy expenditure.
TEF only accounts for 10% of your total energy expenditure, but because dieting is associated with decreases in metabolism over time – due to prolonged caloric restriction and decreases in mass, this minor effect on metabolism may be worth considering .
Can Whey Protein Reduce Belly Fat
Some studies show that consuming proteins can directly affect belly fat, especially when combined with strength training.
Whey protein helps you feel full, suppressing the urge to eat large meals or snack all the time, thus helping you to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Additionally, most protein powders are not high in calories. One scoop contains approximately 100 calories and can be low in carbs, fats, and sugars , making it an appealing alternative to foods and snacks that contain more calories, additives, carbohydrates, and fats.
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What Does The Science Say
There has been a lot of research on the role of protein in short-term weight loss and muscle gain. However, the long-term effects of a high-protein diet require further study.
Some studies suggest that health problems may potentially result from eating a high-protein diet for extended periods. The authors of a review paper focusing on the high-protein diet warned that it could lead to higher acid loads for the kidneys and that people may be at risk of the health conditions that come with eating high amounts of animal fat.
In addition, diets that limit carbs may harm a persons health. Children and teenagers are at particular risk of malnutrition from eating insufficient carbohydrate.
Still, most research indicates that high-protein diets are beneficial for weight loss, at least in the short term.
There are many possible ways to include more protein in the diet, even for those with other dietary restrictions.
For example, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or those who avoid dairy can still eat a high-protein diet.
People can either adjust their current diet to include more protein or follow a specific high-protein diet plan.
Taking the steps below may help a person when they start a high-protein diet:
Most people can safely follow a high-protein diet, at least for a short period.
While some studies indicate that high levels of protein may negatively affect the kidneys, other shows that people with healthy kidneys will not experience any adverse effects.
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein
Although the first three products listed here are all whey protein powders, we understand that not all athletes can consume dairy or animal products. For that reason, we wanted to introduce an all-natural, organic plant-based protein powder.
Orgain Organic Protein is completely vegetarian and vegan friendly, made from all-natural ingredients, such as:
- Acacia gum
- Vitamin K 70 mcg
- Phosphorous 250 mg
Despite its high vitamin and mineral content, we did have a few complaints about Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein.
First, it contains more fat and sugar than all other products listed so far, with less protein. One serving of Orgain Organic Protein contains 3.5 grams of fat and another 6 grams of sugar. This makes it less effective for anyone trying to lose weight. Its also a bit high in sodium, with 180 milligrams in each serving.
Finally, it relies on stevia and sugar alcohol for added sweetness, both of which have been shown to cause digestive problems and cramping in certain populations. If this isnt a problem for you, you may enjoy Orgains three flavorsChocolate, Vanilla, and Peanut Butter. Find it on Amazon and try it out today.
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Casein Can Keep You Fuller For Longer
Similar to whey protein, casein is milk-based and contains all the essential amino acids. However, it is absorbed slowly in the body .
Casein has also been linked to improved body composition and increased feelings of fullness.
Among male athletes, taking 70 grams of casein in the morning and evening over 8 weeks increased lean muscle mass by an average of 2.4 pounds .
Compared to whey protein, casein does not seem to be as effective at increasing muscle mass. However, it does appear more effective than other protein supplement sources, such as soy and wheat protein .
When it comes to satiety, whey protein is absorbed quickly and can enhance feelings of fullness. Casein is digested more slowly and may keep you fuller over a longer period of time .
One study followed overweight men on a weight loss diet that included either whey or casein supplements. After 12 weeks, those taking casein supplements lost an average of 8% of their body weight. Those taking whey lost an average of 4% .
However, this study was small and the evidence is mixed.
Other studies comparing the effects of casein and whey found no significant difference in weight loss or body composition in the long-term, making them equally as good for weight loss .
Casein is absorbed slowly, so may be more satiating in the long-term. Taking it regularly has been linked to weight loss and improved body composition.
How Much Protein Is Really Needed As A Vegan Or Vegetarian Athlete
Well, that depends. There is no research that a vegetarian or vegan athlete has higher protein needs than someone consuming a mixed diet. However, consuming the variety of foods, complementary proteins, and essential amino acids must be taken into account for an overall balanced intake.
According to the Recommended Daily Allowance , the average person needs 0.8 grams/kilogram a day of protein.
An active individual has increased protein needs. Exercising or training five or more days per week requires 1.2-1.7 g/kg per day. With higher intensity exercise there is increased protein utilization for protein development and tissue repair. This roughly equates to 82-116 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person.
There has to be adequate carbohydrate and overall calorie intake for the muscles to utilize protein as well. Not consuming enough carbohydrate and fat will also force the body to break down protein for energy. However, protein is not our bodies preferred energy source and should be reserved for its main functions of building and repairing tissues.
If too much protein is consumed, as with any other nutrient, the excess is stored as fat. It is not about one nutrient but the whole picture of our intake. Consuming extra protein does not allow the body to store more protein. All extra amounts of food are stored as fat regardless of the nutrient it is consumed from.
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Which Type Of Protein Is Best
Different types of protein may affect your body in distinct ways.
For instance, whey is absorbed quicker than casein. This makes it optimal for promoting muscle protein synthesis after exercise and could possibly help you feel less hungry in the short term .
While some small studies have shown whey protein to be more effective than soy and other plant-based proteins when it comes to weight loss, there are other small studies that show no real difference.
This seems to support the idea that individuals and their individual lifestyle factors are more important than the type of protein when it comes to weight loss or other desired outcomes (
As long as you are consuming a variety of protein sources throughout the day, these deficiencies likely wont cause a problem. But its always a good idea to talk with your doctor or consult with a registered dietitian before incorporating any new supplements into your diet.
The exact type of protein powder you use for protein shakes shouldnt make a major difference in fat loss, which means its more important to consider your individual health factors and dietary preferences.
The Bottom Line: Are You Eating Enough High
In this case, the better question might be are you eating enough types of protein-rich foods? After all, according to a 2018 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most adults exceed the recommended intake of proteinconsuming an average of 88 grams a day. As we said before, theres no one-size-fits-all recommended protein intake. But for comparison, most women need around 46 grams of protein per day, and men need 56 grams, according to the USDAs recent dietary guidelines. You may be getting enough of the macronutrient, not all sources are created equalproteins can be lean or high in saturated fats.
Case in point: The amount of protein in a pork chop and piece of salmon are similar, but the pork has more than three times the saturated fat. Similarly, beef and certain cheeses are typically higher in saturated fat, which can raise bad cholesterol levels and have been linked to increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Current guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat intake, but that doesnt mean you have to revamp your entire eating style. Instead, consider incorporating more healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, and seafood to your diet.
Nicole Saporita is a senior content manager for consumer wellness at WW. A writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York, she specializes in health & wellness, lifestyle, consumer products, and more. Her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Prevention, and REDBOOK magazines.
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Digesting And Metabolizing Protein Burns Calories
After you eat, some calories are used for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food.
This is often termed the thermic effect of food .
Although not all sources agree on the exact figures, it is clear that protein has a much higher thermic effect compared to carbs and fat .
If we go with a thermic effect of 30% for protein, this means that 100 calories of protein only end up as 70 usable calories.
About 20-30% of protein calories are burned while the body is digesting and metabolizing the protein.
How Does A High Protein Diet Help You Lose Weight
Protein foods help you lose fat and build lean muscle mass. How so? Protein is hard for us to digest, so when we eat it, we burn more calories and feel fuller for longer, which makes it easier to eat less in a day. Studies show that high protein diets increases thermogenesis and satiety and leads to a reduced subsequent energy intake.
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Protein Payout: 4 Oz 124 Calories 24 G Protein
A longtime enemy of doctors and dieters, pork has been coming around as a healthier alternative of late as long as you choose the right cut. Your best bet is pork tenderloin: A University of Wisconsin Study found that a three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has slightly less fat than a skinless chicken breast. It has 24 grams of protein per serving and 83 milligrams of waist-whittling choline . In a study published in the journal Nutrients, scientists asked 144 overweight people to eat a diet rich in fresh lean pork. After three months, the group saw a significant reduction in waist size, BMI and belly fat, with no reduction in muscle mass! They speculate that the amino acid profile of pork protein may contribute to greater fat burning.
Chia Seeds Vs Flax Seeds Vs Basil Seeds
Chia, flax, and basil seeds have similar nutritional profiles, and all can be part of a balanced diet.
Flax seeds generally contain more calories, protein, and fat than basil and chia seeds. Chia and flax seeds are particularly high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds contain more fiber than basil or flax seeds.
The nutrient content of 100 g of flax, basil, and chia seeds is as follows:
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Dosage And Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration doesnt typically review supplements for safety and effectiveness before they hit the shelves, so its important to research any ingredients you might be ingesting, as well as the trustworthiness of the brand. When possible, choose a protein that has been through the USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program .
Additionally, different brands of protein powder will often suggest different serving sizes. Make sure to check nutrition labels to find the right amount of supplemental protein for you.
If youre lactose intolerant and drinking protein shakes made with whey or casein, you may experience side effects such as:
For an adult assigned female at birth, the recommended minimal amount of protein is about 48 grams per day for those 65 and younger, and 57 grams per day for those over 65 .
Third-party verification, nutrition labels, dietary preferences, and individual health factors should be considered when supplementing a diet with protein shakes.
Protein Increases The Thermic Effect Of Food
The thermic effect of food is the cost of digesting your food.
Essentially, it takes some energy to break food down, digest it, and turn it into energy. Protein has the highest cost of all the three macronutrients.
While the total effect that the thermic effect of food has on daily energy expenditure and weight loss is small, it is not meaningless and is important to note.
In one study, a high protein diet increased the thermic effect of food by roughly 6-8 kcals per hour when compared to a low protein diet, which may translate to ~50-75 calories per day .
However, not all studies show this large of an effect, and the thermic effect of protein is not likely responsible for most of its benefit, but it may be the cherry on top of adequate dietary protein during weight loss.
You can track things like the thermic effect of food, total daily energy expenditure, and macros with the NASM Weight Loss Calculator.
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