Losing weight is challenging. It takes a lot of time, a tremendous amount of effort, and most importantly – consistency.
There are so many different programs when it comes to dieting, weight loss, and healthy nutrition. Keto, vegan, carnivore, paleo, zone, etc. And as someone with a Bachelors in Nutrition Science, I’m going to the main problem, they all work. . . for some people. But when it comes to the three macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat, protein reigns supreme when it comes to weight loss regardless of which diet or program you choose.
Protein is important for weight loss for multiple reasons, but here are the top 3 in my opinion.
First, protein helps you build lean muscle and recover from exercise. Lots of people that are trying to lose weight are working out which increases our protein needs to repair and recover. Long story short, if we’re working out and not eating enough protein we’re not going to see the improvements in lean muscle that we all want.
Secondly, protein regulates your hormones, and the two major ones when it comes to your appetite, are ghrelin, and leptin. Ghrelin signals your brain when your stomach is empty and it’s time to eat. Leptin on the other hand sends a signal to your brain when you’re full. Eating adequate protein keeps you full for longer and the more protein you eat, the longer you feel full and the less likely you are to overconsume calories.
And the third reason to eat protein for weight loss is that it has the highest thermic effect of food. When we eat food our bodies have to work to digest and distribute the food energy. This process (thermic effect) requires your body to expend energy aka calories burned in order to distribute the nutrients throughout the body. Protein requires your body more energy (aka calories burned) to break down versus carbs or fat. This is precisely why you can’t really consume endless amounts of grilled chicken. Carbohydrates on the other hand have the lowest thermic effect of all, which is why we can smash bags of chips and slices of pizza.
So, today’s weight loss lesson…eat your protein and focus on having protein at each meal and snack!
A good target 🎯 is to aim for about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight 😃 (150lbs means 150g of protein spread out throughout the day).