For years, nutritionists have been trying to come up with perfect diet plans that will help in weight loss. It has taken plenty of scientific research to aid in the weight loss battle. However, losing weight is usually determined mainly by three factors. These include; exercising, eating habits, and dietary protein.
Exercise is essential for every human regardless of whether they want to lose weight. Not only does it burn out the calories in the body, but, also helps other internal organs function with ease. Your eating habits also play a huge role in your weight. The habits can either bring balance or increase the calorie count in the body. With a balanced level of calories in the body, you are sure to get the optimum weight.
Dietary protein, on the other hand, has been reported to be the major factor that aid in weight loss. For this reason, we are putting all focus on the amount of protein needed to lose weight and everything surrounding your diet to ensure perfect results. Read the article in its entirety to find out more.
Understanding what Protein is
Our bodies are fueled by the foods and drinks we ingest. However, there are special macronutrients needed to aid in the processes and general functioning of the body. Protein is the perfect example here. It is an essential macronutrient that plays a huge role in virtually all functions and processes in the body. For starters, it majorly helps in exercise recovery and is an important nutrient needed in our body to lead a healthy life.
Protein is made up of carbon elements, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, all of which are combined to form the building block of protein, amino acids. The main functions of protein and amino acids are to generate body tissues, create enzymes and cell transporters, and keep an optimum fluid balance in the body.
Guidelines on daily protein intake
As said earlier, plenty of scientific research has been put on finding the best possible way that helps in weight loss, other than exercising. For this reason, nutritionists have come up with a suitable dietary protein plan that will aid in monitoring your daily intake for better results in weight loss.
First things first, you should take note of your weight to determine the amount of protein you require. The recommended amount of calories ranges between 10-35% from protein. This is in accordance with the nutrition guidelines. What you should keep in mind is that always regulate your protein intake. Consuming too much of it will not be helpful to your body. While some people think that a higher protein intake is good for the body, this can have drastic effects as well. Weight loss is also determined by the type of protein one takes.
The minimum recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your weight. Therefore, you should work to ensure you are eating enough protein in accordance with your body weight. Taking too little of the daily recommendation will not be sufficient for muscle building, conserving lean mass, and supporting better body structure in many active individuals.
What role does protein play in weight loss?
So far, we cannot say for certain that protein can solely aid in losing body weight. What is more, it is not clear that taking protein-rich diets is ideal in reducing weight. However, with what we have deduced from the studies on body weight and protein, the above argument fits the bill. Consuming high dietary protein can have plenty of benefits for weight loss. Let us go through the major benefits of protein in the body.
- Providing Satiety
Hunger is a great contributor to weight gain. This is because, as one gets hunger pangs, there is always the need to eat more. Therefore, sticking to a nutrition plan when one is extremely hungry can seem like an impossibility. In this case, protein comes in handy. High protein intake has a tendency to provide more satiety while minimizing hunger.
For instance, studies say that taking high protein meals stretches the time between meals while reducing the amount of food they will eat next. This helps to curb their appetite while keeping them full. What is more, adding protein supplements in water instantly reduces hunger compared to drinking plain water. Most high dietary proteins have between 30% – 40% of protein calories. This means that your body gets enough calories to function as it should and gets rid of the ones it does not need.
The source of the protein determines the satiety one gets. However, the difference in the protein sources is almost negligible because most people benefit from consuming various types of protein sources. Here, we can only estimate the amount of protein needed for you to remain full for longer, which ranges between daily 1.8 grams to 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram of your weight.
Maintaining Lean Body Mass
Lean body mass is better preserved as one consumes reduced calories when they include more protein in their diet plan. According to one study conducted on the effects of protein on body mass, both low protein intake and high intake were taken into account. The individuals taking low protein lost more muscle mass compared to those taking high protein.
Similarly, those taking high protein daily are able to retain their body muscle mass than those consuming less protein. Muscles in our bodies are extensively made up of protein. Muscles, like most body tissues, are active and continuously broken down and regenerated. So, gaining muscles requires your body to generate more protein than it gives out. That is why individuals who are building muscles tend to eat foods rich in protein while exercising.
Therefore, it is safe to say that consuming the right amount of protein greatly improves your lean body mass. For individuals looking to lose weight and maintain the muscles they have built, increasing their protein intake is ideal. It aids in losing fat while preventing the loss of muscle mass during dieting. A balanced lean mass contributes to a better body composition with a minimal amount of fat.
Thermic Effect of Food
This refers to the energy required for food digestion. Breaking down, digesting, and converting food into energy requires more energy. Therefore, protein comes with the highest energy expenditure for all three processes in the body. Thus, it is said to increase the thermic effect of food in the body. However, it is worth noting that the thermic effect of food has minimum effects on energy expenditure and weight loss, but it shouldn’t be ignored.
Protein doesn’t accumulate in the body as fat
While trying to lose weight, your body tends to consume more energy than it is depleted. Therefore, it is important to minimize the intake of calories so that the body can utilize the ones stored in the body as fat.
Our bodies have different ways of processing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Storing carbohydrates and fats is easy. However, the protein undergoes a different biochemical process to convert as fat for storage. That is why protein is difficult to store as body fat. In this case, consuming more protein while trying to lose weight is more effective compared to eating foods rich in carbohydrates and fats. This means that even if you consume a high amount of protein while losing weight, your body will still have reduced stored fat.
Best Protein Sources for weight loss
The period of losing weight is usually a difficult one, especially when hunger hits. As such, having a full stomach is essentially ideal in this situation to maintain adequate energy levels to run your body effectively. We mentioned that protein maximizes satiety in the above section, so it is essential to consume protein from a healthy source.
Healthy protein sources include lean meat such as salmon, eggs, cod, tuna, and turkey. For those who don’t want to add meat products to their diets, healthy protein sources include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, beans, and lentils. However, it is worth noting that beans and lentils have high-fat levels. Therefore, ensure to monitor the intake for better results. Red meats are extremely rich in protein but can lead to health issues such as increased blood pressure.
In the world today, many people are looking to maintaining a healthy weight for their general well-being. You will find that they engage in various practices that promote weight loss. If you find yourself in this situation, try including protein in your diet. High dietary protein is said to have plenty of benefits for weight loss than many other practices.
For you to achieve better results with protein for weight loss, supplement with regular exercise. Combining a high protein diet with exercise proves to produce excellent and fast results compared to staying sedentary. Staying hydrated is also essential for weight loss to help keep the balance and function of the cells in your body. If, by any chance, getting protein-rich meals is difficult, using protein supplements can help a great deal. These include protein snack bars and whey protein.