Low-carb diets have gone mainstream. Celebrities including Halle Berry, and Mark Consuelos swear by them and research shows they work.[i],[ii] The success of these diets comes from their focus on lean proteins and healthy fats.
Here are 3 ways protein helps with weight loss.
Protein Reduces Your Appetite
Protein makes you feel fuller. Part of this is due to the fats found in high-protein foods.[i] Another key factor is the way protein affects your “hunger” hormones.
Your body regulates hunger with a hormone called ghrelin. When ghrelin levels increase, you feel hungry. After you eat, your body switches to producing hormones that reduce your appetite.
In one study, individuals who increased their protein intake to 30% of their diet reduced their daily calorie intake by 441 calories.[ii] That’s more than 20% of the average daily 2,000 calorie diet.
Researchers also report people who eat high protein breakfasts feel less hungry when compared to people who eat high carb breakfasts.[iii]
Less hunger means less snacking! Which certainly makes it easier to lose weight and manage it too.
Eating Protein Burns More Calories
It takes more calories to digest protein than it does to digest carbs. As a result, a high-protein diet provides fewer available calories than one based on carbs.
High protein diets have been shown to continue calorie burning for up to 2 ½ hours after meals.[iv] People on high protein diets have even been shown to burn more calories even when they’re asleep![v]
Protein Boosts Your Metabolism
When you reduce carbs, your body turns to fat for energy (glucose). The process of turning fat into energy burns more calories, a sign of increased metabolism.[vi]
The Best Protein is Lean Protein
Meat often comes to mind when talking about protein, but the reality is, there are many good, non-meat proteins. There are a lot of excellent plant-based proteins. Nuts, for example, are an excellent source of essential proteins and healthy fats. Avocados are also popular with many high-protein, low-carb dieters for their protein and fats.
Many dieters also turn to protein powders for weight loss like Protein Infused for a simple and easy way to boost their protein and ensure they get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need to manage their weight.
- [i] Veldhorst MA1, et al. Presence or absence of carbohydrates and the proportion of fat in a high-protein diet affect appetite suppression but not energy expenditure in normal-weight human subjects fed in energy balance. Br J Nutr. 2010 Nov;104(9):1395-405. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510002060. Epub 2010 Jun 22.
- [ii] Weigle DS1, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):41-8.
- [iii] Palacios OM1, et al. A Lean Pork-Containing Breakfast Reduces Hunger and Glycemic Response Compared to a Refined Carbohydrate-Containing Breakfast in Adults with Prediabetes. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 May-Jun;37(4):293-301. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2017.1396266. Epub 2018 Feb 9.
- [iv] Johnston CS1, et al. Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):55-61.
- [v] Whitehead JM, et al. The effect of protein intake on 24-h energy expenditure during energy restriction. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Aug;20(8):727-32.
- [vi] Veldhorst MA. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):519-26. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27834. Epub 2009 Jul 29.