“All nutrients are created equal but some are more equal than others.”
All nutrients plays an important role in weight management, but when it comes to sustainable weight loss, protein deserves a special mention and here is why;
Our bodies use up energy to digest and metabolize all the nutrients in the food we eat to release energy. Compared to the other nutrients, the breakdown of protein requires more energy, resulting in us burning more calories after a protein heavy meal.
Through this mechanism, it boosts metabolism and increases the number of calories burned by about 80 to 100 per day contributing to our daily caloric deficit. A faster metabolism burns more calories, which means less are stored as fat.
Unfortunately, when we lose weight, we also lose a percentage of our muscle mass. Generally, the muscles in our bodies, burn up more calories than fat, which means;
A loss in muscle mass = less calories burned = slowed down metabolism= slowed down weight loss
Eating a diet heavy in protein helps preserve our lean muscle mass and keeps our metabolism high for continued and sustainable weight loss. The muscle mass also prevents us from looking sickly and frail after losing weight.
A high protein diet has been shown to regulate the hormones responsible for appetite and satiety. It reduces the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, while increasing the level of satiety boosting hormones like GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin. It also takes a longer time to be digested which means we stay full for longer
Both these mechanisms result in reduced calorie intake hence promoting weight loss.
How To Incorporate Protein in The Diet.
For an adult, you need about 0.8g – 1.2g of protein per kg body weight to meet your daily requirements. To achieve this, it is recommended that you;
To lose weight, you need to be on a calorie deficit. This means consuming less calories than your body needs so it ends up using stored fat for energy.
Protein works on both sides of the “calories in vs calories out” equation. It reduces calories in through reduced appetite and increased satiety and boosts calories out by improving your metabolism, helping you burn more calories faster.
Prioritizing protein leads to not only sustainable weight loss but also the ability to keep it off over a long period of time, which is the ultimate goal.