Let’s not sugarcoat anything. Dieting is anything but easy, and most of us have bad habits that slow down our weight loss. While there are hundreds of so-called “miracle” diets out there, it can be hard to know which you can truly trust. What’s more, many of these eating plans are extreme and less than healthy.
Balance is everything, but eating well is also about being smart about the type of food you consume. If you’re looking for a way to curb your calorie intake and slim down, a higher-protein diet may be for you. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Protein is filling (so you need smaller portions!)
When you tuck into a protein-rich meal like an omelet or a hearty bean stew, you’ll notice that it’s remarkably filling. Rather than having to pile up your plate, you can get just as full by eating less. That means that you can start to cut down your portion sizes, which is a surefire way to help with weight loss.
2. It releases hormones that could make you less hungry
In 2016, research from the Imperial College of London found that phenylalanine, a product of digested protein, released a hormone in rats that stopped them from feeling hungry. Scientists believe that the same theory can be applied to humans, too. When we eat certain types of protein and produce the phenylalanine, it could mean that we instantly feel less peckish!
3. Protein boosts your metabolism
If you want to lose weight, boosting your metabolism is a great place to start. Due to the high thermic effect of a protein-rich diet (our bodies burn more calories digesting protein than carbs or fat), your body will naturally start to burn more calories. That means a healthy meal consisting of protein, such as grilled chicken and leafy greens, could be ideal if you want to encourage weight loss.
4. It helps preserve muscle
When you’re dieting, the very last thing that you want is to lose muscle in addition to fat. Doing so could mean that you end up looking unhealthily slim and less muscle means less calorie burning. Opting for a protein-rich diet could be the answer. Research suggests that high-protein, low-carb diets coupled with exercise will increase weight loss and also help build lean muscle. That should lead to a healthier, stronger physique.
5. Protein-rich breakfasts prevent snacking
What’s more, that long-lasting full feeling could stop you from snacking. One study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that eating a high-protein breakfast instead of skipping breakfast prevented participants from wanting high-fat, high-sugar snacks later in the day. In the study, the subjects ate eggs and lean beef, but the same would apply for any high-protein meal. Yummy!
6. Eating protein improves mobility
We all know that the key to staying in shape is exercise. However, many people find it hard to stay mobile, particularly those struggling with obesity. Eating plenty of protein could be the answer. According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, including more protein in your diet could lead to improved functionality when it comes to exercise. That means that getting active will be physically easier.
Eating more protein for weight loss doesn’t mean you have to do anything drastic, like ordering that 40-ounce steak for dinner. Just be sure to include some high-protein foods at each meal and snack to gain all the benefits you need to lose the weight.