Various kinds of nutrients are needed by the human body for its proper functioning. Proteins are the most important among them. Proteins are considered as the building blocks of the body. Amino acids are the main components, which make up proteins in the body. This is the reason that protein is used by bodybuilders and athletes for maintaining a better looking body along with providing the body with essential nutrients. It has been proved in medical studies that high protein intake has many health benefits. Some of the most prominent ones are that it alters various kinds of weight-regulating hormones in the body, helps in reducing appetite significantly and most importantly, helps in boosting metabolism. With increased metabolism, fat is burnt in the body and one gets a lean and slim figure. It has been seen that protein helps in losing stubborn belly fat and also helps in losing weight successfully. In this article, we will discuss in detail as how protein diet helps in losing weight effectively.
Levels of various weight regulating hormones are altered by proteins
All the activities in our body are regulated via the brain. The weight of a person is regulated by the hypothalamus area of the brain. The brain processes different kinds of information to understand as how much one should eat and when one should eat. These signals are transmitted to and from the brain via various kinds of hormones (1). When a high protein diet is taken, it helps in minimizing the levels of ghrelin, which is the main hunger hormone in the body. Levels of satiety hormones like peptide YY, GLP-1 and cholecystokinin are also increased in the body. These help in curbing appetite in the body. When protein is increased in the diet and replaces fats and carbohydrates, hunger hormones are reduced significantly and satiety hormones are increased. Hunger is reduced considerably with this and thus lesser calorie intake takes place. Overall result is reduced weight and increased fat burning.
More calories are burnt in the body with protein intake
Metabolism is boosted to a great extent with the help of a high protein diet. This is possible due to high thermic effects and many other associated factors. As a result, the body is able to burn more calories all throughout the day, even when the person is asleep (2). In various studies it has been seen that high protein diet has increased calorie burning by almost 80-100 calories per day, which is only possible with boosted metabolism in the body. The effects are more pronounced when eating a caloric surplus or during overfeeding. In one study it was seen that calories burnt could be increased by 260 more units when a person was overfed with high protein diet. Metabolic advantage is obtained with more protein in the diet.
Metabolizing and digesting proteins helps in burning calories
You might not know that after completion of eating, some of the calories obtained are used for metabolizing and digesting the food. This is known as the thermic effect of food (3). The thermic effect of carbs is 20%-30%, while that of fat is 0%-3% and of carbs is 5% – 10%. Thus, if you consume 100 calories of proteins per day, only 70 usable calories is counted as protein has thermic effect of 30%.
Food cravings are cut down by protein and late-night snacking desire will be completely eliminated
Food cravings and harmful snacking options are a major contributor to weight gain and obesity and considered as enemies for a dieter. Late-night snacking is a killer and leads to very rapid weight gain, which is very difficult to get rid of. The calories from evening or late-night snacking pile up to the accumulated calories throughout the day, making scenario worst. Protein helps in controlling these irresistible cravings and snacking desires. One of the best solutions for reducing cravings is having a protein-filled breakfast. Load up on proteins in the breakfast and seen how significantly cravings are reduced throughout the day.
When appetite is curbed, automatically it leads to less food intake and that means less calorie intake. Study reports have shown that people who take high protein diets have been able to reduced calorie intake by almost 441 calories per day, which is quite a large figure. The appetite advantage of high-protein diet is thus evident.
Muscle loss along with metabolic slowdown is prevented with protein intake
If you thought the weight loss is synonymous to fat loss, you are mistaken. It is not the same and does not happen at the same time always. When weight is lost, muscle mass tends to be lost as well. But most people want to lose body fat in all ways. Losing weight does not mean losing muscle mass or decrease in metabolic rate. By increasing protein intake, you will be able to lose weight successfully, but there will be no effect on the muscle mass. No muscle mass loss will take place when the body is supported with adequate protein intake. Also, the metabolic rate will remain maintained so that calorie burning takes place in proper manner, burning excess fats and calories.
The amount of protein that the body needs
Doctors and healthcare experts opine that women need 46 grams of proteins daily and men need 56 grams. With this amount, protein deficiency in the body can be averted successfully. However, if you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle mass with the help of protein, the intake has to be much higher. If you want to calculate how much protein is needed for weight loss, the calculation is done as a percentage of calorie intake of the individual. Generally, protein intake at 30% of calories is effective for weight loss. The protein intake should be distributed throughout the day and there should be some protein source with every meal that you eat.
There are different kinds of food items which are rich in protein. Some of the most prominent ones include animal protein, fish protein, eggs, legumes, dairy protein etc.