Why is protein important in weight loss?
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Zainab Cutlerywala, INFS Faculty
Author: Zainab Cutlerywala
The world is getting urbanized rapidly with a rise in economic status. With this growth, obesity is now a worldwide health problem. There are a lot of comorbidities surrounding obesity, namely cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, and other problems.
Obesity may be caused due to various reasons but lifestyle-dependent conditions like overeating and lack of physical activities are considered to be the major issue.
Protein is the macronutrient that helps with weight loss . “Utmost Importance”, What does this mean to you? Something that is of the topmost priority. They are the building blocks of the body. Proteins are essential for the continuance and renewal of life. Now that we have established that proteins play a vital role in our body let’s dive in to see how they are going to aid in weight loss too.
Proteins' Role in Weight loss
Protein Modifies Several Weight-Regulating Hormone Levels:
Your brain, particularly a portion called the hypothalamus, actively regulates your weight.Your brain must interpret a variety of various types of information in order to determine when and how much to eat.
Hormones that vary in reaction to food provide some of the most critical signals to the brain.
Increased protein intake raises levels of the satiety (hunger) hormones GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin while lowering levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
You can lower the hunger hormone and increase multiple satiety hormones by substituting carbs and fat with protein.
This results in a significant reduction in appetite, which is the primary reason protein aids weight loss.
When food is consumed it needs to be digested and while digesting it we burn some calories that are known as the thermic effect of food TEF. Protein is said to have the highest thermic effect thus having a high protein diet helps in burning more calories.
Protein helps manage cravings
Dieters' biggest nemesis is cravings. They are one of the most common reasons why people fail to stick to their diet plans.
Late-night munching is another important issue. Many people who are prone to gaining weight experience cravings at night and nibble as a result. These calories are in addition to the calories they consumed throughout the day.
Protein, it turns out, can significantly impact both cravings and the propensity to nibble late at night.
Eating protein in the first meal of the day significantly helped in reducing cravings, this was a study conducted on teenage girls
Protein and Satiety
Research suggests dietary protein intake helps in weight loss as it keeps you full for longer. Let’s explore this effect, which is termed ‘satiety’.
Satiety means the feeling of fullness, in obesity satiety has a major role to play. Protein amongst all macromolecules has the most satiating effect, this will in turn help in reducing energy consumption and therefore aid in fat loss.
Further studies have shown that high protein meals increase thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and sleeping metabolic rate. The increased energy expenditure, body temperature, and oxygen consumption may be the reason for feeling satiated. One of the researchers compared the satiety effects of people consuming 10% protein intake and people consuming 25% protein intake. It was found that a higher protein diet had a significantly higher satiety feeling.
A study investigated the efficacy of weight loss in high protein diets and a low carbohydrate diet, the fat loss, and weight loss were similar in both groups but the higher protein diet group had a more satisfying experience. Similarly, another study was conducted on overweight adult women where they were given different kinds of diets for weight loss one with carbohydrates and another with protein, it was found that both groups did have weight loss but a greater fat loss was seen in the protein group.
We can conclude that protein is a powerful tool to use in a weight/fat loss journey. Though it is observed that the vegetarian population may end up not consuming enough protein. It is necessary to make sure that an appropriate amount is added to one’s diet depending on what fitness goals one has set for themselves.
A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese “breakfast skipping”, late-adolescent girls
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