When people hear the word protein they often relate it to building muscle. And sometimes women shy away from it because of that very reason.
But protein is an absolute essential macronutrient that I highly recommend being combined in every meal you eat. This is especially true if you are on a body transformation journey and doing both intense resistance and cardio training in your program.
Don’t confuse fat loss and weight loss
I want to briefly mention that our focus should be on fat loss and not weight loss. So many people focus on weight loss and the number on the scale. This is not a good indicator of our success throughout our body transformation journeys. It doesn’t tell us anything about our body composition; how much fat we have compared to how much lean muscle.
Focus on losing fat throughout your programs and use the mirror as a gauge and the clothes you wear. Basically, if your clothes are loose fitting and you can visibly see the changes; then you are on the right track!
Let’s look at three reasons to eat more protein to lose weight and help your body transformation goals.
Reason 1: Promotes satiety & helps maintain stable blood sugar levels
Satiety is a feeling of satisfaction from the food we eat. Protein is important because it helps you feel fuller longer. We know from research that meals rich in protein stabilize blood sugar levels to promote sustained energy and decrease sugar cravings.
Both of these help maintain our satiety levels and are crucial to fat loss!
A higher protein intake has been shown to increase levels of the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while also decreasing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Basically, this leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the reason behind the satiety benefits of protein.
Protein is also important for slowing down the digestion process which also aids in satiety and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Combining protein with the right carbohydrates at the right time slows the absorption of glucose from our stomachs into our bloodstream, which is the mechanism behind keeping our blood sugar from skyrocketing and assists in preventing future cravings.
Reason 2: Promotes thermogenesis
Thermogenesis is the process of calories being released as heat. The “thermic effect of food” is the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Out of the three macronutrients (i.e. protein, carbs & fats), protein has the highest thermic effect of food which essentially means that we burn more calories to process protein than to process carbs or fats.
This is a very important reason why protein should be a part of every meal. In addition to providing satiety benefits, we also burn the most calories just to process and utilize protein.
Reason 3: Promotes muscle repair and growth
As I mentioned in the introduction to this article, we need to focus on fat loss and not weight loss. If we don’t do the right kind of exercise or consume enough protein, we will lose muscle mass which will hamper our metabolism and prevent us from achieving our body transformation goals.
Muscle tissue is like our “metabolic furnace”. It helps us burn more calories even at rest (i.e sleeping). Eating plenty of protein can reduce muscle loss, which will keep our metabolism running higher as we shed the body fat.
This ties into the importance of a progressive resistance training program for building lean muscle tissue. This will enhance the lean tissue we have and help increase our metabolisms and help us permanently keep the body we desire. Protein is crucial for aiding in the recovery from workouts, and building and repairing muscle tissue.
Take home message
I think protein is the king of all nutrients when it comes to fat loss and achieving your body transformation goals. It helps maintain satiety, promotes thermogenesis and aids in recovering and enhancing muscle tissue.
Protein helps us tip the “calories in vs calories out” balance in your favor and helps keep our metabolism revving on high. Over time, this can cause a huge difference in our body transformation goals!
Connect here with Watchfit Expert Dr. Paul Henning