How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally
Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss and a better looking body. A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones. Protein can help you lose weight and belly fat, and it works via several different mechanisms.
Protein Changes The Levels of Weight Regulating Hormones
Your weight is actively regulated by your brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus. In order for your brain to determine when and how much to eat, it processes multiple different types of information. Some of the most important signals to the brain are hormones that change in response to feeding.
A higher protein intake actually increases levels of the appetite-reducing hormones, while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone (ghrelin). By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones.
This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically.
Digesting and Metabolising Protein Burns Calories
After you eat, some calories are used for the purpose of digesting and metabolising the food. This is often termed the thermic effect of food. Protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%). This means that 100 calories of protein only end up as 70 usable calories.
Protein Makes You Burn More Calories
Due to the high thermic effect and several other factors, a high protein intake tends to boost metabolism. It makes you burn more calories around the clock, including during sleep. A high protein intake has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories burned by about 80 to 100 per day.
By making you burn more calories, high protein diets have a "metabolic advantage" over diets that are lower in protein.
Protein Cuts Cravings
Cravings are the dieter's worst enemy. They are one of the biggest reasons why people tend to fail on their diets. Another major problem is late-night snacking. Many people who have a tendency to gain weight get cravings at night, so they snack in the evening. These calories are added on top of all the calories they ate during the day.
Recent studies have found that protein has a significant effect on reducing cravings and the desire to snack at night. Breakfast may be the most important meal to load up on the protein. In one study in teenage girls, a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced cravings.