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How Can I Use Protein To Lose Weight?

Posted on April 16, 2014

How Can I Use Protein To Lose Weight?Dividerimage

Protein is taken by most bodybuilders, as it can play an important role in the development of lean muscle mass. In fact, a 2006 study conducted at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, involving 19 athletes undertaking resistance training demonstrated its efficacy. Some received 14 grams of protein (a combination of whey and casein), plus 6 grams of amino acids, while others received an equivalent placebo. The former group developed far more fat-free lean mass and strength than the latter. 

In addition to increasing muscle growth, protein can assist with fat loss in other ways. It's a low calorie supplement and is able to suppress cravings, slow down the release of blood sugars, boost mood and increase immune function.

A low calorie supplement

Unlike some other sports nutrition products, protein is low in calories. This is especially the case when in its purest form, whey isolate, which is a premium quality protein, free of carbohydrates, fats and lactose. 

Fat burning

Protein's capacity for fat burning was demonstrated in a 2008 study at the University of Minnesota. A group of obese individuals undertook a diet reduced by 500 calories. Some took whey, while others took a non-protein beverage. On average, the former lost 6.1% more body fat than the latter. Plus their muscles were far more likely to stay intact. When your body absorbs protein, it uses far more calories than when you consume other energy sources (namely carbohydrates and fats). 

Preserving lean muscle

If you cut back on your calorie intake, your body starts looking for ways to source energy. Your muscles are an excellent source of fuel, so sometimes, weight loss can lead to unwanted muscle breakdown. However, protein helps to prevent this. It is high in an amino acid called leucine, which communicates with naturally-occurring insulin, signalling the body to preserve muscle.

Suppressing appetite and boosting metabolism

The reason you experience a feeling of fullness after eating is that your body sends a protein to your brain called leptin. When you consume high levels of protein, the amount of triglycerides in your blood decreases, which means that leptin can travel more efficiently. So, you feel satisfied more quickly than usual. Plus, your metabolism is kick started into action.

In addition, protein tells your liver to get into action. As you may know, the liver is one of the most important organs in the metabolic process. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, which are easily absorbed, protein triggers a dynamic process, encouraging the liver's efficiency. According to Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron Richards (2013), consuming a decent dose of protein in the morning can lead to a 30% boost in your metabolism for the following twelve hours. 

What's more, whey protein contains plenty of bioactive peptides, which are largely responsible for controlling cravings and appetite. So, you can expect fewer of those moments when it seems nearly impossible not to eat a fatty, sugary treat. Plus, a protein bar or shake offers an excellent meal or snack substitute.

The Verdict?

A high-quality protein supplement has the potential to seriously speed up fat loss and turn weight management into a much easier process in the long-term. It can boost metabolism, reduce cravings, prevent muscle breakdown and assist with general well-being.

References

Frestedt, Joy et al. (2008), 'A whey protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomised human clinical study', Nutrition and Metabolism, 20 March.

Richards, Byron (2013), 'How protein helps weight loss', Wellness Resources, 18 April, 2014. 

Willoughby, D.S., et al. (2006), 'Effects of resistance training and protein plus amino acid supplementation on muscle anabolism, mass and strength', Pubmed.gov, 20 September.