Protein & Weight Loss

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 diet1. There are several factors at work and we've outlined them below for you.

Protein helps promote 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 maintain healthy blood sugar levels

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

Seek balance

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.

Learn more about Protein Basics and Protein and Athletic Performance.

1 Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR (2012) Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetic, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr 108:S105-12.
2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9416027
3 Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB (2009) Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care 12:86-90.
4 Layman 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.

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