How Protein Helps You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
We need to eat plenty of protein foods every single day to keep our metabolism running, our energy up and our blood sugar levels stable. You might be eating enough protein overall, but are you eating the right kinds?
Protein is used in every single cell in our body and is critical for building muscle mass, supporting neurological function, aiding in digestion, helping to balance hormones naturally and keeping our mood upbeat. Protein foods are also beneficial for preventing weight gain since they make us feel full and require more work for the body to digest than fast-acting refined carbohydrates. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macro-nutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micro-nutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. List of foods which are good for protein intake:
Non-Vegetarian Food: Eggs, Chicken, Fish, Smoked Salmon etc.
Alternative: Whey Protein
Below are the reasons why one needs protein, and it is largely our fooding habit which can help us ensure that we get adequate intake of protein:
- Supress Hunger
The three macronutrients (fats, carbs and protein) affect our bodies in different ways. Studies show that protein is by far the most filling. It helps you feel fuller, with less food. Part of the reason is that protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the satiety hormone peptide YY, which makes you feel full. If you need to lose weight or belly fat, then consider replacing some of the carbs and fats you are eating with protein. It can be as simple as making your potato or rice serving smaller, while adding a few extra bites of meat or fish.
- Increase Strength & Muscle Mass
Protein forms the building blocks of muscles. Therefore, it seems logical that eating more protein would help you build more of them. Muscle is made primarily of protein. A high protein intake can help you gain muscle mass and strength, and can reduce muscle loss when losing weight. If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle and strength, then you need to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. Keeping protein high can also help prevent muscle loss when your body is in a “catabolic” (breaking down) state, such as during weight loss.
- Strengthens Bone
People who eat more protein tend to maintain their bone mass better as they get older, and tend to have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.
- Reduce Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
Eating more protein has been shown to reduce cravings and desire for late-night snacking. Just eating a high-protein breakfast may have a powerful effect.
- Boosts Metabolism
Eating food can boost your metabolism for a short while. That’s because the body uses energy (calories) to digest and make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF). A high protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories you burn. This can amount to 80 to 100 more calories burned each day.
- Long Term Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. As mentioned above, a high protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to automatic reduction in calorie intake and cravings. Protein also has benefits for fat loss when intentionally restricting calories. If you want to lose weight, keep it off and prevent obesity in the future, then consider making a permanent increase your protein intake.
- How much protein should you eat?
Even though a higher protein intake can have health benefits for many people, it is not necessary for everyone. Most people already eat protein at around 15% of calories, which is more than enough to prevent deficiency. However, in certain cases, people can benefit from eating much more than that, or up to 25-30% of calories. If you need to lose weight, improve your metabolic health or gain muscle mass and strength, then ensuring that you eat enough protein is important.