Updated: Jul 1, 2021
There are 3 major Macro-nutrient. Protein is one of them. (Carbs and Fat are the other 2) When trying to lose weight these 3 play their own roles. Let’s talk about why Protein is important. I have outlined a few reasons of why Protein is important below.
1. Protein is Satisfying.
Protein is important because it helps you feel fuller longer. Having protein around slows down digestion making us more satisfied and less likely to go back for seconds. If this happens over the course of multiple days your calorie savings can help with weight loss.
2. Protein helps cure carbs highs and lows.
For example, when a person come off a sugar high onto a sugar low, they can make food decisions that they later regret (That sweet potato pie...lol). Pairing protein with a carb rich foods slows down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream, which may help keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing and ward off future cravings.
3. Protein requires more energy.
The “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is the energy we use to digest food into small, absorb-able components. Protein has a higher TEF compared to carbs and fat meaning you’re burning more calories to process protein than to process the other two.
4. Protein fuels fat burning.
It may be surprising, but it is a scientific fact that your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy if it doesn’t have help from either carbohydrate or protein. As you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat (I know, bummer!). During this process it is especially important that you continue to eat enough protein in your diet. Having adequate protein coming in from your food fuels fat burning while also helping to preserve calorie-burning lean muscle.
5. Protein promotes muscle repair and growth.
Your protein needs increase especially after bouts of intense exercise. Protein intake on days that you exercise is beneficial. Additionally, if you life weights consider having a protein shake or some type of protein right after a training session. Research states, after breaking down your muscles, the muscles are sensitive to nutrients, so it will use it to repair and grow.
One important thing to realize is eating more protein alone won’t necessarily help you shed excess weight in a healthy way. When consumed in excessive amounts it can still lead to weight gain much like eating excess carbs or fat would. It could put unnecessary strain on the kidneys over a long period of time.
You can still make protein a pal on your weight loss journey by getting enough protein in your daily diet.
MyFitnessPal sets your protein to be 20% of your total calories, which should be enough for the average person. Key word: AVERAGE person. If you are trying to lose fat, your current weight, body fat, and goals are what determine the right amount of protein for you.
Unsure where to start? Consult a certified nutritionist to help you customize a balanced diet that will meet your goals.