Protein & Weight Loss
We all know the time-honored weight loss pillars include eating a balanced diet, engaging in frequent exercise, and cutting overall caloric intake. One way that studies and experts have indicated is successful for people to lose weight and improve overall body composition is through upping the amount of protein in the diet.1 There are several factors at work and we've outlined them below for you.
Protein promotes satiety
Consuming protein from foods like lean poultry, beans or low-fat yogurt, can help promote feeling full which is one of the keys to losing weight1. So consider adding a grilled chicken breast to your salad or low-fat cottage cheese to your breakfast. You may find you’re less likely to overeat later in the day
Protein helps keep blood sugar levels steady
The staying power of protein when consumed with carbohydrates can help balance blood sugar levels.2
Balanced blood sugar levels may promote better food choices. Most of us make better choices when we’re feeling steady.
Protein plus exercise is a powerful one-two punch
Adequate protein intake combined with exercise can have beneficial effects on body composition and stimulate muscle synthesis.3 One study in adult women also reported improvement in the blood lipid profile by the combination of adequate dietary protein and aerobic exercise.4
When looking to lose weight, the best course of action is to seek a balanced regimen you’ll be able to sustain. This means not excluding key nutrients like healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, or fiber-rich foods from your diet. It also means exercising more, and eating less. Upping protein intake isn’t appropriate for everyone (particularly those with kidney problems), so you should consult your doctor before starting a new diet. Protein is simply one piece of a larger puzzle that may help you with your weight and fitness goals.
1Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR (2012) Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetic, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr 108:S105-12.
3Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB (2009) Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care 12:86-90.
4Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, Seyler J, Erickson DJ, Boileau RA (2005) Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr 135:1903-10.