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Should You Eat More Protein to Lose Weight? A Guide

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Protein is a macronutrient popular for its ability to promote healthy weight loss. However, simply eating excessive amounts of protein won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Instead, it can cause weight gain, much like gaining weight from eating excess carbs or fat. For this reason, you need to estimate how many grams of protein you need a day to get the best results.

Keep reading to find how much protein you need to lose weight while not losing muscle mass.

Protein: An Overview

Protein is essential for nearly all bodily functions and processes. 

There are 20 different types of amino acids which combine to give protein. Some amino acids are classified as “essential” and must be obtained from food, while others are classified as “non-essential”, and your body can produce them. Getting adequate protein daily is essential for optimal health, growth, development, and function at every age and stage. Those on a weight loss mission greatly benefit from pairing higher protein intake with cutting calories and exercising.

Role of Protein in Weight Loss

Protein is a Satiating Macronutrient.

Research claims protein has satiating effects. People are less likely to stick to a diet plan if they feel constant hunger. Consuming the appropriate amount of protein keeps you full and reduces hunger, which is helpful for weight loss.

Preserves Lean Body Mass

Lean muscle mass means better body composition, which makes you look more toned and lean overall. In addition, you store less body fat if you have more muscle mass. Maintaining your muscle will therefore be quite advantageous when trying to lose weight.

Increases the Thermic Effect of Food

The thermic effect (TEF) of food refers to the increase in the metabolic rate after digesting your food. Protein has the highest thermic effect of all three macronutrients. As a result, protein digestion and metabolism burn more calories. The little metabolic boost from protein is called diet-induced thermogenesis, something minor yet crucial for burning calories.

How Much Protein a Day to Lose Weight?

Maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process, and one must continuously make dietary modifications. A weight loss diet should be adequate in all other nutrients except simple carbs and empty calories. In addition, it must contain all major food groups.

A diet comprising 1100–1200 kcal, wherein 25-28% of calories come from protein, can work for weight loss generally. Dieters can take 1 to 1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight if they aim to lose weight. Protein needs for athletes and other heavy exercisers range from 1.5 to 2g per kilogram of body weight. But, since everyone is unique, a general value will not work for all. And, of course, factor in your weight and activity level to determine your personalised protein needs. Therefore, you should consult a nutritionist for correct protein requirements and portion sizes. 

It is essential to understand that high-protein diets aren’t for everyone. Even though it promotes weight loss in some, its long-term effects are still debatable. Moreover, studies have indicated that high protein consumption can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, cause osteoporosis or poor bone health, lead to cardiovascular problems, damage kidneys, cause constipation, and other health-related issues.

The HealthifyMe Note

An individual requires, on average, 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. However, when it comes to weight loss, aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kg. That will help to boost the satiety hormone and curb hunger hormones. However, be mindful of balancing your fat and carbohydrate as well. Keep in mind that fat and carbohydrates are also vital nutrients.

Protein Choices Available to Meet Your Protein Needs

Animal-based Protein

Animal protein choices include lean chicken, poultry, seafood, fish, eggs, and dairy. Research suggests that protein in red meat, such as beef, may raise the chance of developing chronic kidney disease and several other medical conditions. However, dairy, fish, and seafood proteins do not have this adverse effect. Therefore, you must include various options in your diet. Moreover, since your aim is weight loss, you should consume skinless poultry, lean cuts of red meat and low-fat dairy.

Plant-based Protein

Plant-based proteins include tofu, beans, avocados, lentils, soy, almonds, and seeds. Canned products like beans or peas have high sodium content, which is detrimental to weight loss. Therefore, reading the nutritional panel at the back is vital before purchasing a canned/ tinned product.

Protein Supplements

These supplements come in various forms, including concentrates, shakes, powders, beverages, bars, and more. Protein supplements are a convenient way to add extra protein to your diet.

A word of caution here: 

These supplements have their fair share of additives, flavourings and preservatives, so read the labels before purchasing.

Conclusion

Most high-protein diets advocate increasing your protein intake to 28-30% of your calories, but the protein requirements can vary widely from person to person. To discover which eating approach could be most effective for you, consider consulting a dietician. Nutritionists and health experts from the HealthifyMe team can assist you in determining your protein requirements and accelerate the process of reaching your goal.

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