Protein is a macronutrient that is best known for being the building block of our muscles, but it’s really much more than that. There are dozens of processes that proteins partake in within our organism, so our bodies need quite a bit of it in order to function properly.
For example, protein molecules function as antibodies that protect us from dangerous diseases after we’re vaccinated against them, and without this particular ability that proteins have, we’d be incredibly susceptible to all sorts of lethal viruses and bacteria.
The protein hemoglobin, on the other hand, is responsible for the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies, making sure that all of our cells get enough of it in order to keep functioning properly. So proteins are very cool in general, but did you know that eating more of them can actually help you lose weight faster? If this is new to you, you might want to listen up, because today I want to talk about just some of the ways in which protein can help you burn fat and shed those extra pounds as quickly as possible.
A Faster Metabolism
Whenever I talk to overweight people about obesity, one of their primary complaints is that they wish they had a faster metabolism – that the fact that their metabolism is slower than most is hindering their attempts at weight loss.
The good news is that by adopting a high protein diet, you can significantly increase the speed of your metabolism because of the way the body metabolizes this macronutrient. When we ingest a food that is high in protein, our body actually has to put in energy in order to digest it and break it down into nutrients that it can actually utilize.
Studies have shown that nearly 10 percent of the calories that you take in when ingesting protein is instantly used up in the digestion process alone. This is also known as the “thermic effect” of food, and it is an effect that is not triggered when eating carbohydrates or fats, because they’re much easier for the body to break down.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only eat protein or eat too much of protein because it still contains a certain amount of calories, and eating more than your recommended daily intake will still make you gain weight and hinder your dieting attempts.
Reduced Appetite & Cravings
In the battle against weight loss, your single most dangerous enemy is the cravings that you get throughout the day. Cravings can happen for a number of reasons and only one of them is actually hunger. As we know, when we eat foods that are tasty, our brain releases the feel-good hormone dopamine, and this is why certain types of food are really addictive.
Therefore, it’s perfectly possible for your brain to make you crave certain types of food just because it’s “bored” and wants more dopamine, even though your body objectively doesn’t need it, and this is exactly the kind of thing that you want to avoid.
One of the ways to control your cravings and make sure they don’t come up as often as they usually do is simply to eat more protein. Protein takes a longer amount of time to digest within our organism, which is why food that is high in protein is generally more filling and leaves you feeling full for longer periods of time. For example, eating a simple slice of bread which is almost pure carbohydrates will be far less satiating than a hardboiled egg or some steak.
I especially recommend that you up your protein intake in the morning, as it will help to prevent those midday pre-lunch cravings that a lot of us tend to succumb to.
Less Muscle Loss
You might think that your ultimate goal is simply to lose as much weight as you possibly can, but this is a common misconception. Your real goal should be to lose fat and keep all the muscle that’s hiding underneath it, but being on a calorie-deficient diet – which is objectively the only way to lose weight, to eat less than your body needs –can often cause a loss in muscle as well as fat.
This is because protein contains energy just like fat does, and while fat is generally first on your body’s list when energy reserves are low, it can mess up and you can actually notice some muscle loss if you don’t provide it with enough protein to compensate.
So, this means that you should not only lower your overall calories when going on a diet, but you should also up your protein intake considerably to make sure you’re burning off only fat.That way, when those pounds begin to drop, you’ll have some sexy muscle underneath to show for it, which is always a plus.
As you can see, protein can have a considerable effect on your weight loss efforts, so it’s a really good idea to get enough of it at all times. Fortunately, protein can be found in all sorts of both animal and plant foods, so it won’t be too much of a challenge to find food that contains enough of it for all your daily needs, even if you’re a vegetarian.I wish you the best of luck in your weight loss efforts, stay fit and healthy!