Wanting to lose weight is something that many of us are familiar with.
Those extra pounds can happen for a variety of reasons.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re trying to lose weight not getting enough protein.
So let’s explore in this post how protein can help you reach your weight loss goals and how it can help you maintain your health.
How Does Protein Help You Lose Weight?
Read thru this list to learn how and why eating enough protein can help you lose weight.
Protein Stops Hunger In Its Tracks
It can do this because protein foods don’t digest quickly as other foods do.
It sticks around in your system longer, so you end up not feeling hungry for longer periods of time.
When you’re not hungry as often, it cuts down on those in-between meal cravings that inevitably lead to weight loss sabotage.
These snack cravings are caused by eating foods that don’t have enough nutritional value like protein does.
Because your hunger is satisfied longer when you have protein, you won’t be eating as many calories throughout the day, which will also help fuel weight loss.
Also, when you have plenty of protein in your diet, you’re not dealing with the steep energy lows that drive people to grab whatever is handy to eat.
Getting the shakes and feeling weak has led to some people consuming as much as an entire day’s worth of calories in one hunger-fueled binge.
Since you’ll feel full longer, you’ll be able to better manage how you eat once you do feel hungry.
More good news about making sure you eat protein for weight loss is that consuming it helps propel weight loss.
There are certain foods that, once you eat them, run through your digestive system with very little effort involved in digesting them.
But protein foods put your body to work during the digestive process.
Because of that, your body is burning calories at a longer and higher rate to digest meals containing protein than ones that don’t.
So in effect, the simple act of eating is spurring weight loss.
You’ll often see weight loss talked about in conjunction with fat burning. Your body can naturally burn fat, but not unless it has what it needs.
There’s a good reason for this.
When you move around and go about your day, your body uses energy.
It takes this energy from the foods that you consume.
When you don’t have the type of foods that work to protect your lean muscles, then what happens is your body will lose muscle.
And that’s something that you don’t want.
In order to protect your body from burning muscle rather than fat stores, it has to have protein.
Protein Helps You Build Muscle
Protein speeds up the process of burning calories, it works to help keep you healthy and builds muscles.
It’s the type of food that you need on a daily basis when you want to burn fat and shed pounds.
But with all of the different diet advice on the market now, knowing how much and when to eat protein isn’t easy to figure out.
Your muscles need protein in order to keep your metabolism higher.
Without it, you won’t burn calories as fast because your muscles won’t have what they need.
So what’s a good rule of thumb to have when it comes to eating protein for the purpose of losing weight?
3 things help you determine how much you need
- Current weight
- How much do you move or exercise
There was a study in 2015 that indicated that older adults built more muscle when they double their protein intake.
Calculate Your Protein Needs
As I said, there are a lot of different viewpoints on how much you need and you will have to do a little research and experimentation to find out the right amount for your body.
Try this protein calculator at WorkoutCave.com to get an idea of how much protein you should start out with.
Macro Protein Calculator by WorkoutCave – Home Workouts With Minimal Space, Equipment And Time!
Spacing Your Protein Intake
Getting lean means that you should eat plenty of protein – but not all at once in big, heavy meals.
Instead, you need to spread out the protein consumption throughout your day.
You can’t absorb all your daily needs in one meal.
You will want to space out your intake and aim for 20-30 grams at a time.
You want the protein to keep your glucose steady so that it keeps hunger at bay.
The Benefits of Protein During Weight Loss
By now, you already know that protein helps keep you feeling fuller, and longer so that you’re not tempted to overeat and hinder your weight loss efforts.
You also know that it helps your metabolism to stay in high gear.
But there’s a lot more than eating protein can do for you to help you be successful.
Even carrying an extra ten pounds of weight can make you feel fatigued and can impact your muscle mass.
1. Fights Fatigue
Because most people who do desire to lose weight don’t always eat the healthiest, they don’t get the daily recommended amount of protein.
So they feel fatigued and experience a loss of muscle mass due to the deficit in their protein intake.
Once you correct that and make eating enough protein a priority, the fatigue will go away and you’ll see a difference in your muscle mass.
People who are overweight – even by as little as twenty pounds – put themselves at risk for developing diseases like diabetes.
2. Stabilizes Your Mood
Protein is known to not only stabilize your moods but it can also boost them.
The amino acids in proteins are needed for your nervous system to be able to work correctly.
It’s also needed to help your body process the production of hormones, which impact your mood and energy.
A lack of protein can make it harder to concentrate and can affect your mood to the point where you’ll get frustrated easier and feel irritable.
3. Better Sleep
You’ll even get a good night’s sleep when you eat enough protein.
The right amount of protein consumption works within your body to get rid of insomnia and boost your ability to fall asleep naturally.
Related: Try The Bedtime Belly Buster Challenge
Amounts Of Protein In Different Foods
So just by reading about protein, you may be motivated to get more in your diet. Now the question is what foods should you eat.
Let’s look at some foods with protein and their amounts.
Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
Chicken breast, 3.5 oz – 30 grams protein
Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams
Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
Tuna, 6 oz can – 40 grams of protein
Porkchop, average – 22 grams protein
Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
Eggs and Dairy
Egg, large – 6 grams protein
Milk, 1 cup – 8 grams
Cottage cheese, ½ cup – 15 grams
Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check the label
Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
Beans (I don’t recommend Soy)
Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) – about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams
Nuts and Seeds
Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein
Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams
Protein Powders – 10 to 36 grams per serving depending on the type of protein.
How I Get Enough Protein Each Day
Since I work out several times a week I typically try to get about 75-90 grams of protein a day.
I’ve researched both sides of the protein issue and I decided not to go too high but also be sure to get enough to build muscle.
Thankfully, my husband isn’t picky about food so he will eat whatever I cook.
I know some people enjoy cooking but I really don’t. In fact, I want in and out of the kitchen as fast as I can.
So here’s what makes the bulk of my protein most days of the week:
- High-Quality Protein Shakes (Isagenix Isalean are my favorite)
- Oatmeal with added collagen (read reviews about its benefits here) or a scoop of protein.
- Grass-fed beef mixed with lettuce and cheese with taco seasoning
- Grilled or poached chicken
Protein has been found in many studies to help you lose weight and stay leaner.
I recommend keeping track of how much protein you eat each day and after a few weeks, you will know if you should increase your amount or if you are doing fine.
If you decided to drink protein shakes be sure to check the quality.
Protein supplements with fillers and artificial sweeteners will impede your weight loss and could be potentially damaging to your health.
If you start taking adequate protein and you still don’t lose the weight you want then you might consider lowering your carb intake.
Again, that is another debatable subject.
Last but not least, consider nutritional cleansing with intermittent fasting.
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Great blog, nice content, good read and informative.