By Coach Miles
Protein is so important. Without it, your body would simply shut down and fade away. So many of your systems and biological processes need protein in order to operate properly. Consuming the right amount is the key! Especially while on a diet that is meant to promote weight loss.
In one study, researchers gave a group of volunteers a breakfast consisting of either eggs, cereal, or croissants…and all had the same calories. They then recorded how much these volunteers ate at lunch and dinner. The difference they found was astounding:
When beginning a weight loss challenge some people tend to just think that, “Oh, let me just eat nothing and I will lose the weight”. Besides being very unhealthy this mentality can actually lead to negative side effects physiologically and psychologically. Without the proper amount of Protein consumption, you begin to face something called Catabolism. Catabolism is a breakdown of muscle tissue within the body. This occurrence is contradictory to our weight loss goal. We are looking to change our body composition by reducing excess fat NOT muscle. In order to do that we need to eat ample amounts of Protein, plain and simple.
Here are 5 key Reasons why Protein helps during weight loss:
- PROTEIN SATISFIES & SAVES CALORIES In the beginning of your weight loss journey, protein is important because it helps you feel fuller longer. Consuming protein slows down digestion making us more satisfied and less likely to go back for seconds. Over the course of multiple days, your calorie savings can help with weight loss.
- IT CURBS CARB HIGHS AND LOWS I don’t know about you, but when I come off a sugar high I tend to make food decisions I’ll later regret. Pairing proteins with carbohydrate-rich foods slow down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream, which may help keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing which eventually leads to cravings.
- PROTEIN REQUIRES MORE OF YOUR ENERGY The “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. This happens automatically. Protein has a higher TEF compared to carbs and fat, meaning you’re actually burning more calories to process protein than to process the other two.
- IT FUELS FAT BURNING It may be surprising, but it’s a scientific fact that your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy if it doesn’t have help from either carbohydrate or protein. As you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat. During this process, it is especially important that you continue to eat enough protein in your diet. Having adequate protein coming from your food fuels fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle.
- PROTEIN PROMOTES MUSCLE REPAIR & GROWTH Your protein needs increase especially after bouts of intense exercise so increasing your protein intake on days that you exercise is beneficial. Additionally, if you are strength training consider having a high protein snack right after a training session when the muscle is sensitive to nutrients that it can use to repair and grow.