When you strive for weight loss management, it’s important to consume a healthy diet loaded with the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Depriving yourself or trying a fad diet is not the answer—no one can live on a diet of constant deprivation. Once you stop adhering to a strict, unrealistic diet and increase your calorie count, chances are you’ll gain the weight back and then some.
Unlike energy sources such as fats and complex carbohydrates, protein plays an essential role in the way our bodies’ systems work. Proteins are considered building blocks—they help build and repair the structure of every cell in your body, from your organs and hormones to your muscles and even the manufacturing of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen to your bloodstream.
When it comes to weight loss management, lean protein plays a critical role by helping us build and increase our lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts our caloric burn. Research was recently performed in the Netherlands that further evidenced this fact—subjects who added more protein to their diets over a year long period lost more weight than those who focused only on cutting down on carbs over the same timeframe. So by adding lean protein to their diet, these subjects lost more weight.
When you load up on protein, it acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Lean proteins such as skinless poultry, beans and legumes, grass-fed beef, fish and eggs take longer to digest, leaving you feeling fuller longer and essentially staving off hunger pangs. Whenever we feel hungry, it’s much easier to make unhealthy choices such as reaching for junk food. In addition, since it takes our bodies longer to digest lean protein, we actually burn more calories during the process and rev our metabolism.
To lose weight while remaining healthy for life, strive to incorporate a serving of lean protein with every meal and opt for protein-rich snacks whenever possible.