Why is Protein Key?


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protein and weight lossWhen you go to a nutrition counseling center in hopes of losing weight, one of the first things the doctor or nurse will ask is how much lean protein you’re eating. What many don’t realize is that increasing consumption of lean protein is critical for successful weight loss for several reasons. If you are interested in one of the many diets or weight management programs available, boosting your protein intake will make the whole process a lot easier.

Protein plays a critical role in helping us feel satiated, so that we don’t feel hungry too quickly after a meal. While researchers aren’t 100 percent certain how exactly protein works to reduce appetite, many studies indicates that a diet high in protein may boost the release of a hunger-suppressing hormone. Others studies show that eating less carbs has a specific effect on hunger hormones and brain chemistry. We do know that the effects of eating protein helps reduce spikes in blood sugar, which results in fewer cravings, and ultimately, greater success with diets and weight management programs.

You’ve probably heard by now how important it is to eat a healthy breakfast every day. In particular, eating a breakfast that’s higher in protein has been shown to reduce overall hunger during the day so that people eat fewer calories. However, keep in mind that it’s important to split your protein consumption across your meals and snacks for the day, rather than eating it in one sitting. To be healthy for life, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is 56 grams a day for men and 46 grams a day for women.

Another reason why lean protein is so critical is that it helps us increase our lean muscle mass. When combined with regular exercise, this leads to building muscle, and as we age, it enables us to hold onto our muscle. The more lean muscle mass we have, the faster our metabolism works and therefore the higher our calorie burn—so ultimately, the consumption of lean protein helps us lose weight faster.

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image: womenshealthmag.com
 

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