Protein and Weight Loss
Most people know how crucial protein is when it comes to building muscle.
Bodybuilders and athletes have lauded it’s muscle-building-benefits for decades, and for good reason. What often goes unspoken, however, is the value protein has for people who are trying to lose weight. There is a bevy of clinical research to support the assertion that protein helps people lose weight, and in the process, build lean muscle.
Several studies show that high-protein diet leads to greater feelings of satiation, which in turn lead to a lower caloric intake, which ultimately promotes weight loss. There’s also scientific reasoning for these feelings of satiation, making the results of these studies all the more valid.
It has to do with the hormones the body produces in response to hunger and in response to a feeding. A high-protein diet is effective in stimulating the production of appetite-reducing hormones such as cholecystokinin, while simultaneously reducing the production of hormones such as ghrelin; hunger hormones that tell the body it’s time to eat.
Protein isn’t just going to limit your calories in either. Protein has a high thermic effect, meaning that out of the calories you take in via protein, about 20-30% of it will be used to digest and metabolize the food. Since such a large portion of those calories go towards metabolization, the amount of “effective” calories is only 70-80, putting the consumer closer towards the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
Thanks to this thermogenic, effect along with other factors, high-protein diets have also been shown to increase the amount of calories burned throughout the day by 80-100 calories.
As far as macro-nutrients go, protein is the most important when it comes to building a lean, muscular, healthy body. A high-protein diet will lower your calories-in to calories-out, and works both towards weight loss, and as an effective deterrent to weight gain. Protein, of course, will function best when used alongside a balanced diet with an array of nutrient dense foods.