People often focus on cutting calories and reducing fat intake when it comes to weight loss. However, increasing protein consumption can also be a helpful strategy. Protein is a key nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions, including building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
But how exactly does eating more protein help with weight loss? Here are some reasons:
Boosts Metabolism: Protein has a high thermic effect, meaning that your body burns more calories digesting and metabolizing protein than it does with other nutrients like carbohydrates and fats. This can increase your overall calorie burn, helping to create a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.
Increases Satiety: Protein is also very satiating, which can help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods. This can help prevent overeating and snacking on high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods.
Preserves Muscle Mass: You typically lose fat and muscle mass when you lose weight. However, eating more protein can help preserve muscle mass while promoting fat loss. This is important because muscle tissue is metabolically active and burns more calories at rest than fat tissue.
So, how much protein should you be eating? The recommended daily intake varies depending on age, sex, weight, and activity level. Still, a general guideline is to aim for at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, some studies suggest that higher protein intake (up to 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight) may be more effective for weight loss.
Good protein sources include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Incorporating protein into each meal and snack can help you feel fuller and more satisfied and may even help you shed unwanted pounds.