Dropping pounds with proteinCompared to fats and carbohydrates, protein helps you feel full sooner and continue feeling full longer. So you stop eating sooner and get hungry again later when eating protein as compared to other macronutrients. In one study, 20 overweight or obese females were given either:
- Cereal containing 13 grams of protein or
- A breakfast including eggs and beef totaling 35 grams of protein or
- No breakfast
- Produced greater feelings of satiety than the lower-protein breakfasts
- Reduced the production of the hormone ghrelin, which sends the “I’m hungry” message to the brain
- Increased production of leptin, the hormone that signals “I’m full.”
More research, more protein powerThe studies just cited were all about feeling full. That should lead to eating less, which should lead to weight loss. But does it? Let’s not make assumptions. Here’s where the rubber hits the road—or the protein hits the plate. A six-month study of overweight or obese participants resulted in:
- High-carbohydrate diet: 11 lbs lost
- High-protein diet: 20 lbs lost
- All participants lost body fat and weight
- The normal protein dieters lost more lean body mass—muscle you want to keep
- The high protein dieters reported higher levels of satiety and enjoyment of meals
Protein: A primerA protein is a chain of 20 amino acids, of which:
- Nine are called “essential,” found only in food
- Eleven are called “nonessential,” produced by our bodies
How much protein do we need?The USDA recommends 56 grams of protein a day for a 160-pound, 40 year-old man, and 46 grams of protein for women—based on a 40 year-old, 140 pound woman. That’s about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Meals that include meat, fish, dairy, or a super-grain can hit that target without additional help. For vegetarian dishes, a few ounces—a small handful—of each complementary protein can do it. But let’s face it— the protein content of different foods is tremendously variable, and our dining habits aren’t always predictable.
Make whey your natural home remedy for weight lossIf you’re not much of a meat-eater and you’re looking to up your protein intake, whey protein is the way to go. It’s the water-soluble part of milk, and it’s great stuff—absorbed and on the job faster than any other protein, and delivering a substantial amount of L-cysteine, an anti-aging amino acid. In a study of people taking a specialized whey protein beverage, subjects lost significantly more body fat and less lean muscle than subjects taking the control beverage. Ideal. That’s why I recommend all my patients include whey in their daily diet, whether by supplement, or as a beverage, or added to yogurt, a salad, or just about any food. This ensures protein sufficiency when diet doesn’t provide it—important to those who want to lose a few pounds, and essential for those who must lose many pounds—to save their lives. Whey products are available in most health food stores and online. Don’t be put off by the packaging, which promises a bodybuilder’s muscle-bound outcome. Whey is good for every body. Happy high-protein weight loss! References
- “Simple Guide To Choosing Complementary Proteins” Published October 26, 2016. Last accessed April 30, 2017.
- “How to Get Enough Protein In Vegetarian|Vegan Diets” Savvy Vegetarian. Published 2016. Last accessed April 30, 2017.
- Nordqvist, Joseph. “Whey Protein: Health Benefits and Side Effects” Medical News Today. Updated September 10, 2015. Last accessed April 30, 2017.
- Nordqvist, Christian. “Calcium and Calcium Deficiency” Medical News Today.Updated November 6, 2015. Last accessed April 30, 2017.
- Matthews, Brian. “How Protein Aids in Satiety and Weight Loss” Published NA. Last accessed April 30, 2017.
- Matthews, Brian. “The Weight Loss Enhancing Superpower Supplements” Published NA. Last accessed April 30, 2017.