How To Lose Weight With A High Protein Diet
You’ve heard about the benefits of protein for weight loss, probably wondering if it’s all hype. After all, marketers are blasting us with sketchy sounding claims about the protein they have added to everything from juice to pasta.
The good news is that high-quality protein foods can be useful for reducing body fat, especially when paired with exercise and eaten as part of a healthy diet. Here are a few things to help you get the most out of a high-protein intake:
Get Fiber: Eat Veggies At Every Meal
Fiber from vegetable, fruit, beans, and whole grains is essential because without adequate fiber, inflammatory markers rise, compromising health. One study found that C-reactive protein (a primary marker of inflammation in the cardiovascular system) and “bad” LDL cholesterol increase on a high-protein diet that doesn’t contain adequate fiber.
How much fiber do you need?
More than you’re getting! Americans are terrible about fiber, with most getting less than half of the 25 grams recommended by the American Dietetics Association. The best way to make sure you get your fiber in with a high-protein diet is to eat vegetables at every meal, either in the form of salad, steamed veggies, or a stir-fry.
Eat High-Quality Protein
The second step to make a high-protein diet work is to reach a “threshold dose” of quality protein at each meal. One study found that by eating at least 10 grams of essential amino acids (EAAs) three or more times a day, you will maximally stimulate protein synthesis and favor fat burning in the body.
For reference, a 4-ounce serving of salmon, chicken, or beef will contain the 10 grams of EAAs. Two eggs, a serving of Greek yogurt, or 25 grams of whey protein will all provide the threshold protein dose.
Be Mindful of Portions & Get Your Steps In
At the end of the day, the key to losing body is to create a calorie deficit. Protein foods help because they blunt hunger, but it’s important to be cognizant of portions, especially at times when it’s easy to overeat such as when you’ve had a killer day at work, are dining out, or are eating in front of the TV.
Being active is also critical. One of the biggest contributors to obesity is being sedentary most of the time even if you exercise regularly. Unfortunately, hitting the gym three times a week won’t make up for a life spent sitting down. Try to be as active as possible in daily life, walking, stretching, and moving frequently.
Gogebakan, P., Kohl, A., et al. Effects of Weight Loss and Long-Term Weight Maintenance with Diets Varying in Protein and Glycemic Index on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Circulation. 2011. 124, 2829-2938.
Loenneke, J., Wilson, J., et al. Quality of Protein Intake is Inversely Related with Abdominal Fat. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012. 9(5).
Evans, E., Mohtahedi, M., et al. Effects of Protein Intake and Gender on Body Composition Changes. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012. 9(55).