Weight loss is inseparable from a healthy and balanced diet; however, the very definition of a healthy diet has transformed over the years and with the trends. While most of the population incorporates a regular intake of fruits and vegetables, which is important not only for staying healthy, but also for losing weight, there are many who remain hesitant about protein. And yet, when starting a slimming diet, it’s essential to understand the importance of protein for weight loss.
To understand how protein works, you should know how the body works in terms of food. Calories act as the energy necessary to power the body, which will tap into this source to fuel the brain, the muscles, and all our organs. Among the calories ingested, some are used to digest food, including protein. Since protein takes more time to be digested and absorbed by the body, it will have no choice but to tap into other resources to function – that is to say, fat. By consuming foods that are high in protein, you thus burn unnecessary calories and fat.
When you integrate physical activity into your weight loss program, you have to be able to nourish your body properly to keep it in shape and develop it. Sources of protein are therefore particularly valuable, since they help nourish the muscle. And since muscle burns more calories in the body than fat to work, here again, you’ll lose those calories that you want to get rid of.
The feeling of hunger is controlled by the brain, which sends signals to the rest of the body generated by certain hormones. Higher protein consumption thus increases the level of hormones that regulate fullness while reducing the level of hormones that cause hunger. You’ll also notice very quickly that, by replacing carbohydrates and fat with protein, it takes longer to feel hungry and you feel full longer. This makes it possible to consume less very quickly while maintaining the same energy level.
Like most nutrients, protein can be found in many foods. This facilitates their ingestion for all tastes and all dietary restrictions. The best-known source of protein remains meat and poultry; don’t hesitate to integrate these into your diet in a moderate fashion. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, with around 6 g per egg, concentrated in the white. They’re a great way to start your day, in the form of an omelette or scrambled eggs. Fish and seafood are also packed with this nutrient, and are generally rich in omega-3s and low in fat. Dairy products, including Greek yogurt, also provide casein, which our muscles appreciate. For people following a vegan diet, many alternatives offer a high level of protein, such as legumes and soy.
Of course, increasing your protein intake isn’t enough to lose weight. A balanced high-protein diet will only be effective if combined with regular physical activity and the intake of other nutrients required by the body. You should also avoid consuming protein in excessive amounts, or you’ll risk damaging your kidneys over a long period. In any event, it’s always best to consult a professional before making any changes to your diet, since everyone has different needs.