Want to increase the rate of fat loss you’re experiencing? If you only make one change to your diet, increase your protein intake. This is one of the fastest ways to kick-start fat loss for a number of reasons.
Most people don’t have much protein in their diets, consuming primarily fat and carbs instead, which can significantly hinder weight-loss progress. While protein-rich foods do take a little more time to cook and prepare than some other food options, it’s time well invested. There are also quick options like protein powder, which can be used in addition to whole food sources.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should increase protein to at least 15%–20% of your total diet to achieve the best fat-loss results.
• Protein helps to boost your metabolic rate. Protein-rich foods require the most calories for the body to break down. With each 100 calories of protein consumed, you can burn up to 25 of those calories through digestion. With fats and carbs, you’ll only burn two and four calories, respectively.
• Protein controls blood glucose levels. Protein-rich foods are ideal for controlling your blood sugar levels because they won’t break down into glucose in the body, which would send you on a blood sugar high followed by a crash. When you suffer from a blood sugar crash, you’re more likely to crave simple carbs, which will work against your fat-loss efforts.
• Protein prevents lean muscle mass loss. On a reduced-calorie diet, your body burns its energy stores to make up the difference. Hopefully that results in fat loss, but it can mean muscle loss as well. Much of the protein you eat will be used as fuel for your daily activity, so you need enough protein left over to maintain your lean muscle tissues.
• Protein promotes faster recovery between workouts. Protein is required to complete the rebuilding and repair process of muscle tissue after a hard workout session. By taking in a mix of amino acids (proteins), you can ensure the process takes place as efficiently as possible, allowing you to get back into the gym again for your next training session.
• Protein calms hunger pains. Because protein takes so long to digest, it will keep you feeling satisfied between meals longer, reducing the chances that you experience hunger throughout the day. This in turn makes it easier to maintain your reduced-calorie diet plan and see results.
The Bottom Line
Everyone should try to get more protein into their diet, especially when developing an eating plan to shed excess body fat. Strive to take in at least one gram per pound of body weight per day.
The most optimal sources of protein to consume include chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meat, low-fat dairy products, eggs and protein powder. If you fall short in protein, you will not maintain your strength level throughout the diet plan, and you may start feeling weaker and suffer from a slower metabolism as a result.