What Makes Protein so Great for Weight Reduction?
What goes into your body influences how well your body is able to maintain itself. That’s why your diet is equally as important as how much exercise you get, particularly when you’re attempting to cut the pounds and add some lean muscle mass to your body.
The problem is that far too many folks jump straight to things like fat burners and fad diets or whatever the advice du jour happens to be when these things are only really valuable once you’ve got the major factors sorted out.
The solution to your weight-loss woes could be simpler than you could have ever envisioned. By making small changes to your diet to incorporate more protein (both through modifying food choices and adding supplementation), you might finally find yourself gaining an upper hand in the war against weight.
Let’s explore the three biggest benefits that protein has when it comes to losing weight and achieving that shredded physique you’ve dreamed of.
#1: A Sense of Fullness
Among the very most prevalent issues for people struggling with portion control and overeating is the matter of anxious eating and frequent, mindless snacking. While this issue is certainly multifactorial—it may stem from everything including the basic urge to eat more of things that taste good to a manifestation of atypical depression—one area where protein can help is with satiety.
Satiety is the felling of fullness you get after eating a meal. If you’ve ever wondered why you can seemingly demolish a bag of chips or a huge bowl of pasta, but a small serving of meat fills you up, the answer is in the protein. Because protein digests more slowly and is often underrepresented in our diets, our bodies (and the hormones that control hunger) have become very sensitive to how much protein we get. On the other hand, carbohydrates (which digest rapidly and provide quick-burst energy, but aren’t useful in building tissue/muscle) are abundant, and our bodies don’t really care one way or the other how much we consume.
#2: More Energy to Digest
Protein has another edge over fats and carbohydrates: it possesses a higher Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). We touched on the fact that protein is harder to break down in the previous paragraph, and the TEF is a quantitative measure of just how much energy your body has to expend in order to derive a set amount of energy from a unit of protein (as opposed to carbs or fats). Protein has a high TEF, so this means your body must expend a large amount of energy before breaking protein down into a kind of energy your body can use.
Studies show that protein has a TEF that’s about five times that of lipids. This added energy needed to break it down has a few neat implications with regards to your daily diet. Some estimates put the TEF of protein at roughly 20%, which means that 100 Calories of protein is really only 80 (in terms of what your body can use). That said, consider the TEF a bonus—if you try to increase your intake to “make up” for the calories lost to digestion, you’ll end up overeating.
#3: Protein Boosts Muscle
And, let’s be honest, building muscle is probably the main reason people think of when it comes to supplementing or eating more protein. Muscle is good for you not only because it builds strength and contributes to a lean physique, it’s also widely known that individuals with more muscle on their bodies burn off more calories than individuals with less muscle mass.
A diet with more protein allows you to add more muscle to your body by utilizing the two mechanisms already covered. With more lean mass on your frame, your body will be naturally inclined to maintain muscle while burning fat for fuel during long, strenuous workouts.
In summary, by simply adding protein to your daily diet, you can reap the advantages of a higher basal metabolic rate, increased muscle mass and a tendency to eat less.
These three benefits combine to form the building blocks of healthier eating and exercise habits. This is the reason why targeting foods rich in protein might be the first step for virtually any dieter aiming to slim down.