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Protein – Weight Loss Best Friend

There are many tools you can use to lose weight. Exercise, calories, diets, supplements, the list goes on and on. But, to me, there is no easier tool to focus on than eating enough, healthy forms of PROTEIN. Protein not only feeds your body what it needs to lose weight, but it allows it to gain the “thing” needed to keep the weight off. Cinch that belt up and let’s talk about Mr. Protein, weight loss best friend…

Q: What Is Protein?

A: Along with Carbohydrates and Fats, Protein is one of the three Macronutrients. “Macro” because your body needs lots (grams) of it to function properly. When you eat protein, it breaks down to amino acids, these amino acids then get use to build a lot of “structures” in the body – muscle, joints, bones, etc..

Q: What foods have Protein in them?

A: Almost all foods have some amount of protein in them (even a strawberry!). There are Animal sources, meat – beef, fish, chicken, egg, and also Plant sources – soy, grains, nuts, beans. However, the greatest amount of protein per gram (density) will be found in meats, which are almost exclusively protein. 

Q: Is there a difference between Animal vs. Plant sources?

A: Yes, all animal sources are called “complete”, the contain all 9 essential amino acids and high amounts of specific ones that build muscle. Plant sources are usually “incomplete” and/or do not have high amounts of certain amino acids, therefore it’s key to combine plant sources to create the “complete”

Q: How does Protein cause weight loss?

A: Two ways – the way it makes you feel and the way it builds muscle in the body. 

Q: Explain – “Makes You Feel”?

A: When you eat protein, it is dense and slow burning. The density makes you feel full quicker and longer, causing you to eat fewer excess calories. The slow burning (metabolizing) allows you to have stable energy longer, again causing you to want to eat less, and gives your body time to use the energy/calories so you store less fat.

Fun Fact: When you eat 100 calories of protein, up to 30 calories is used just to break it down, so you’re only really consuming 70 calories! 

Q: Explain – “Builds Muscle”

A: You want to lose weight and keep it off. Build muscle, not in excess, but as much as you can! Muscle is a “caloric sink”, it’s where all calories need to end up, if not, you’ll gain fat. Muscle is 80% protein, if you don’t get it, you ain’t building it. 

Q: How much protein should I eat?

A: I would aim for 0.5g per 1lb body weight. 200lbs = 100 grams. See if you can inch up to 0.8g, but it’s not easy just with food. Protein powders can help, choose Whey based (animal), or combination or Pea (plant), they won’t be as filling, but you can at least hit your numbers. 

Q: Any weight loss advice?

A: Key to healthy weight loss is consistency. Early on, use nutrition to lose (weight) and movement to gain (muscle), doing this, you’ll lose the right type of weight (excess fat), but build/maintain the essence of great health – muscle, mobility, strength. And always watch your calories, don’t eat too few or too much, regardless of whether they are from protein or not!