Meat Is An Excellent Protein Source
Although meat is fairly high in fat and calories, eating meat can be an excellent weight loss strategy. That’s because meat is one of the best sources of bioavailable protein, and protein is the most weight loss friendly macronutrient. Protein for weight loss works, and it’s healthy too.
Diets rich in protein can help prevent obesity, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increasing protein to 30% of calories consumed resulted in an automatic decrease in calorie intake of 441 calories per day.
Widely available sources include chicken or turkey, seafood, pork and beef. Be sure to choose unprocessed meats – there are significant health issues associated with processed meats (as with most highly processed foods).
Many Americans Don’t Eat Enough Protein
Up to a third of women between the ages of 20 and 40 don’t get their RDA of protein, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That’s even more concerning when you realize that many nutritionists think the current dietary guidelines for this macronutrient are too low. You can add additional protein to your diet with non-meat sources such as eggs, cheese (cottage cheese is a good choice for dieters), buckwheat, quinoa and legumes.
You’ll Feel Less Hunger
One of the reasons you’ll experience less hunger on a higher protein diet is that higher protein diets tend to support satiety, which means you’ll feel full on less, sooner, and also tend to graze less later, because protein reduces hunger for a longer time. It does this by staying in your stomach longer, so it takes longer to “burn” with no blood sugar surges.
Your Metabolism Will Burn More Calories
Just choosing to eat a high protein diet can boost your metabolism (postprandial thermogenesis) by 80 to 100 calories per day, according to studies. Combine this with a normal or low proportion of carbohydrates and you have the start of an effective recipe for weight loss.
Your Body Weight Drops On Higher Protein Diets
Diets with a larger proportion of protein tend to result in reduced body weight, particularly over diets higher in processed carbs. The main reason is that your body actually burns more calories during (and after) digestion of protein as compared to carbs.
Maintain Muscle and Lose Fat
One of the risks of any weight reduction plan is losing muscle mass. If you drop your caloric consumption, your body may burn muscle as well as fat for energy. Feeding yourself protein supports muscle retention and growth. This is important since muscle burns significantly more calories than fat, which means that it is easier not only to lose the weight, but to keep it off long term.
Start Your Day With Protein For Weight Loss
Here’s a simple change to your diet that can result in weight loss or maintenance of a healthy weight with little effort. Simply start your day with protein instead of carbs. Two separate studies support eating eggs for breakfast, an excellent source of complete protein that clearly aids weight loss.
One study compared overweight or obese women who ate breakfasts of bagels (carbs) with those who ate breakfasts of eggs (protein). Each ate the same amount of calories, but the egg group reported feeling fuller (greater satiety) in the hours between breakfast and lunch. The egg group not only ended up choosing to eat fewer calories at lunch, but they ate less for the next 36 hours.
The second study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, looked at both women and men who were overweight and on a weight loss diet. Again, one group breakfasted on bagels, the other on eggs. Specifically, two eggs, at least 5 days per week, or an equivalent calorie amount of bagels. After eight weeks, the egg group had lost 65% more weight than the bagel group. They also had:
- 61% greater reduction in BMI
- 34% greater reduction in waist circumference
- 16% greater reduction in body fat percentage
In case you’re worried about cholesterol, there was no difference between the two groups.
All that from eating the same amount of calories at breakfast, but choosing protein over carbs.