Like we have talked about before, we know that while exercise is important, a person’s healthy eating habits likely matters more for weight loss than the hours spent working out. The difficult thing is that when it comes to dieting, there is no single best way for losing weight. Many diets can work well as long as your total caloric balance is accounted for and it is sustainable for you over time. Something we don't talk about too much is dietary protein. This is one of the key “levers” in a diet that increases the likelihood of someone’s ability to lose weight.
WHAT IS IT ANYWAY? Protein is an important macronutrient that is involved in nearly all bodily functions and processes. It plays a key role in exercise recovery and is an essential dietary nutrient for healthy living.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? While there are many benefits to dietary protein, there are four main areas that have direct effects on weight loss:
Thermic effect of food
Storage as body fat SATIETY One of the biggest things that impedes weight loss is hunger. Understandably, people are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger. Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients! LEAN MASS Protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction. So while you are cutting calories to create a deficit resulting in weight loss, you can minimize the loss of lean body mass during that time! THERMIC EFFECT It takes energy to break food down, digest it, and turn it into energy. Protein has the highest “cost” of all the three macronutrients. While the total effect that the thermic effect of food has on daily energy expenditure and weight loss is small, it is not meaningless and is important to note. STORAGE AS FAT In order for protein to be stored as fat, it goes through a much different biochemical process than either carbohydrates or fat. This process makes it much harder for protein to store as body fat. During weight loss, overeating protein results in much less stored body fat than overeating on carbohydrates or fat.