Proteins for weight loss – how could this be, you might ask? In this edition of buffscrolls.com, we are going to break down all the pros and cons of having a diet high in protein and how it can help you to lose weight.
Eating a diet rich in protein is by far one of the easiest ways to lose weight.
Before we discuss how protein can help you lose weight and what specific proteins to eat, it is always important to start with a basic understanding of what a protein is.
On a fundamental level, proteins are the connective agents found in most living organisms. Proteins are found in your muscles, tendons, ligaments – even your brain contains proteins.
This macronutrient not only provides you with calories for energy, but it can also help to create a stronger and healthier body.
Proteins = Amino Acids
If you’re into fitness you have probably already heard of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
Let me explain this…
Let’s say you eat some beans… Those beans will be broken down into amino acids through your digestive system. Amino acids like glutamine, valine, leucine, aspartic acid and many more. These amino acids then go to work for various roles in the body – as you will already know from our articles on protein.
Consuming a protein-rich diet can help you to lose weight – but how is this?
Protein for Weight Loss: How Does It Work?
Everywhere people are telling you that eating a diet with more protein can help you to lose weight, but how is this possible?
Here are the three most important reasons why a diet higher in protein can help you to lose weight.
1. Protein is NOT Stored
Perhaps the most unique benefit to protein for weight loss. When you consume proteins your body does not store the excess calories.
This means you can consume more and more protein without your body storing the fuel as excess body fat (similar to a high-fat diet).
Protein is the only macronutrient that your body does not store. Any excess protein that you consume that your body cannot use for energy or connective tissue will be released as waste (poop).
Pretty awesome right? Protein can be effective for weight loss simply because your body does not have a need to store excess amounts of it.
2. Protein is Low in Calories
At the end of the day, weight loss will always come down to how many calories you consume in a day versus the number of calories your body requires to run your metabolism.
Protein is generally low in calories – matched with carbohydrates at 4k/cal per gram. This means that consuming a diet higher in protein can be an effective way to promote weight loss by keeping your caloric requirements low.
NOTE: this will only be a successful avenue if you consume proteins that are low in fat – or have no fat. Consuming proteins from red meats of fish will lead to a higher caloric value due to the fat content that comes along with the meat.
3. Proteins Can Increase Metabolism
There are some amino acids – like Isoleucine and Theanine that seem to have a positive impact on your metabolism.
For example, a diet high in isoleucine can actually help to increase your metabolic rate. Conversely, a diet high in Theanine can help to promote deeper sleep – which is essential for weight loss and energy levels.
Proteins for Weight Loss – What’s the Secret?
Consume a variety of protein sources. One of the biggest issues I see many people have during their quest for weight loss or strength is that they consume the same foods on a daily basis.
Not all proteins are made the same. Since all proteins will be broken down into amino acids, it is important to consume a variety.
Each protein you consume; beans, nuts, fish, chicken – they will all provide you with a different spectrum of amino acids.
With that said, the question may arise – what proteins will be best for weight loss?
Best Protein for Weight Loss
Protein is a very complex macronutrient that provides a vast array of amino acids. When we are looking for weight loss we always want to have the most complete spectrum of amino acids.
Here are the best proteins for weight loss.
Truly one of the best proteins for weight loss – although it is not regularly discussed in strength circles. Hemp protein not only contains an abundance of protein, but it has one of the most complete amino acid profiles of other plant proteins.
Hemp protein will also provide a moderate amount of omega fatty acids – which can help to improve metabolic function and overall weight loss.
You can consume hemp protein by eating the hemp seeds (sold at any specialty store) or by grabbing yourself a hemp protein powder and chugging down protein shakes.
2. Leafy Greens
Many people do not consider vegetables to be protein-dense but they are. We must not forget that weight loss will always come back to total calorie amounts – and vegetables are very low in calories.
Eating leafy greens like kale, spinach, bok choy and other dense greens will not only provide a huge amount of low-fat protein, but it will also provide a great spectrum of vitamins, minerals and hydration.
Leafy greens are hands down the best way to get supplemental protein after consuming other protein-dense foods. They are low in calories, low in fat, and high in nutrient density. Never forget your vegetables.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli – your nemesis as a child, but one of the healthiest food you can consume. I love this stuff, not only does it taste great, but it contains a huge amount of fuel for exercise and sports performance.
Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli will not only contain a very healthy serving of protein (per calorie, more than beef and pork), but it will also contain a huge amount of vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy carbohydrates to assist with recovery.
In fact, many research studies have shown that protein and carbohydrates combined will always serve as optimal recovery for strength and weight loss.
You’re not a kid anymore. Broccoli isn’t scary and it’s one of the healthiest and most effective protein sources for weight loss.
Peas, lentils, beans – these are all in the family of legumes. Not only are they nearly 50% protein by weight, but they also contain a huge amount of fibre and minerals – which are essential for weight loss and strength.
Legumes should be the basis for your protein content – especially on a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, it is important to remember that legumes will contain a large number of calories and you should be consuming far less than you would of leafy greens and Cruciferous Vegetables.
Protein Powder For Weight Loss
Sometimes eating a plethora of vegetables and legumes can make your life difficult. I can respect that. Personally, I take supplemental protein powder to help with my protein demands and they can also be very effective for weight loss.
Not only do they contain very low calories, but the best ones also taste great and contain the same amount of fuel for every scoop – making your life easy on counting calories.
There are a lot of protein powders out there but the best is made by VEGA – hands down. The VEGA Sports Performance series contains the best blend of natural plant proteins with digestive aids and everything you will need to succeed.
Protein and Weight Loss – Bottom Line
Many of us know that protein can help to influence weight loss. Many of us know that by eating fewer calories and increasing our metabolism (through exercise) we can lose weight.
When it comes to losing weight and feeling great there is nothing more simple than taking a balanced and natural approach to your food.
Protein for weight loss is all about consuming foods that contain a wide variety of amino acids, fibre and micronutrients.