Home / Education / How protein helps with weight loss

How protein helps with weight loss

Eating protein helps with losing fat, for a few reasons.

1. When you eat more protein, you tend to feel fuller longer.

Protein stimulates the release of satiety (stop-eating) hormones in the gut. So when you eat protein, you naturally tend to eat less, without feeling hungry.

(You can test this theory if you want. Go and try to eat an entire plain skinless chicken, or a few pounds of lean fish.)

2. Protein makes your body work to digest it.

Not all nutrients take the same energy to digest. Fat and carbohydrates are pretty easy for your body to digest and absorb, but protein takes more energy to digest and absorb.

If you eat 100 calories of protein, you’ll only use about 70 calories of it. (This thermic, or heat-producing, effect of protein is why you sometimes get the “meat sweats” after a big protein-heavy meal.)

3. Protein also helps you hang on to lean mass while you’re losing fat.

When you’re in a significant energy deficit (i.e. eating less than you burn), your body tries to throw out everything — fat, muscle, bone, hormones, etc. — all the stuff you need. It doesn’t tend to throw out just fat and keep muscle… unless you eat lots of protein.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein, lean mass, and energy restriction

A recent study at McMaster University in Canada explored what would happen if people who were on a very low-calorie diet (about 40 percent less than normal energy needs), ate a lot of protein, and worked out hard.

For 4 weeks, a group of young men in their 20s were basically starved, but on a high-protein diet — about 2.4 g/kg.

So, for instance, a 200 lb (91 kg), relatively active young man whose energy needs would normally be 3000 calories per day might get:

  • 1800 calories per day (40 percent less than normal)
  • 218 grams of protein per day (2.4 x 91 kg)

This means that out of those 1800 calories per day, about 48 percent of them were from protein.

The men trained hard — lifting weights and doing high-intensity intervals 6 days a week.

After 4 weeks, on average:

  • The men gained about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) of lean body mass (LBM).
  • They lost about 4.8 kg (10.5 lb) of fat.

The fact that they lost fat isn’t surprising, though that amount of fat loss in 4 weeks is pretty impressive.

What is surprising is that they gained LBM.

There was a control group, who ate more of a normal-protein, low-energy diet — about 1.2 grams of protein per kg (so, for our 200 lb / 91 kg man, that would be around 109 grams per day). This group, on average:

  • Gained 0.1 kg (0.2 lb) of LBM
  • Lost 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) of fat

This study was only 4 weeks long, and on a specific population group under close supervision, but it’s a cool experiment that suggests protein might be able to do some nifty things even under difficult and demanding conditions.

It’s particularly useful because it’s a randomized controlled trial. In other words, it’s not a food questionnaire where you try to remember what you ate last year — it’s a direct comparison of two similar groups whose food parameters are being closely monitored.

We don’t recommend a highly restrictive, high-protein diet combined with a Spartan-style workout plan as a long-term strategy, but if you want to try something crazy for 4 weeks, see if you can replicate these results!

YOU ARE AWESOME!
bonnie-sig

Get weekly email nuggets of awesomeness! You'll LOVE the info!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Check Also

Shine the Light on Trauma Depression Anxiety and Suicide

Do you struggle with feeling calm, cool and collected?  Do you struggle with anxiety, depression or other mental health aspects?  Are you a veteran or other person that has served your community and country, has dealt with things and now struggle for health and well being?  Have you thought about suicide? 

Retired police / artist Jim Russell and myself, BK, have been in places that are dark and scary.  Lonely.  We have dealt with depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental things that have gotten in our way of feeling ....

Safe. Happy. Content. Well adjusted.

This podcast is about being vulnerable and speaking your truth. Shining light on our soft and weaker spots.  This podcast is about being real with those around you.  Being present.  Giving our time and energy to those around us that need help.

We think about depression, anxiety and suicide thoughts as if someone has a broken leg.  We wouldn't expect them to walk themselves to the hospital for treatment.  As is with some of the mental health issues, we need to be more proactive and nurturing to those struggling with some of these things.  We need to be present and listen.  We need to give of our time and energy to see, acknowledge and help when needed.  We can't continue to wait for those that struggle to ask for help.

For those struggling with these topics, we see you, hear you.  This podcast is meant to inspire you to pause and look around.  See the help that in front of you.  Reach for it and don't let go. 

Keep up the good fight.  You are not alone.

https://youtu.be/kvDioIurVk0

Shownotes

  • (0:10) Introduction to Jim Russell, Retired Police / Artist
  • (1:00) Introduction to the GY6 Rescue
  • (4:00) Goal Orientated Approach to FEEL BETTER, mindful and aware of labels
  • (6:44) As a Deputy Chief being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder
  • (15:48) Shared diagnosis to boss and received the perfect response
  • (36:57) Cautious with labels as they can take possibilities away
  • (37:35) BK's swim story, PTSD, miracles and pixie dust
  • (43:18) All neurotic behavior stems from suffering
  • (52:12) How some life/occupational experiences have a big and negative impact on our peace and well being
  • (57:12) PTSD can come from small things, accumulative PTSD, life events
  • (1:01:42) If you feel like something is off, there are people that can help you. Now.  You don't need a label / diagnosis. 

Jim Russell is a local Tallahassee artist who has been involved in art for most of his life. He began his formal education at FSU in 1988 as a fine arts major, diverting to criminology and spending a 25 year career in law enforcement at Florida State University. Retiring in 2018, Jim has since devoted his time with his first love, painting, and in the last 2 years has completed hundreds of works of art as a working artist. He paints mostly in oil and subject matters include realism, impressionism, and surrealism. He is currently painting a series centering on sea life. Jim is married to Connie Russell with an 12 year old son, Grayson, who is a developing artist himself. Jim advocates for mental health and drunk driving awareness, and he is an avid cyclist. His art can be seen at his Tallahassee gallery and at jimrussellart.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

32 − 30 =