Why Is Protein Needed For Fat Loss?
For fat loss, calories are king.
You cannot dispute the law of calories in vs calories out. You need to eat less than you burn each day. That’s how you lose fat.
Now, calories come in the form of carbs, fats and protein.
For fat loss, if calories are the king, then protein is the queen.
90% of the food diaries I review result in me saying “let’s work on upping your protein intake.”
The inevitable question following my response is “why?”
Why Protein Is So Important For Fat Loss
In recent times, lot’s of food companies are jumping on the protein bandwagon.
Weetabix now have a protein based breakfast.
Mars & Snickers now have protein bars out – which, by the way, are both delicious.
The importance of consuming extra protein is becoming more mainstream. But why is it so important?
- Protein helps reduce hunger levels. Protein helps stop you from feeling hungry and keeps you fuller. Which, if you are trying to lose fat, is a pretty useful tool. Eating 100g of chicken will keep you fuller longer than eating 100g bread. Seriously. Go ahead and try it.
- Protein helps you maintain muscle. When you are trying to lose fat/weight, you want to keep as much muscle as you can. This helps with your metabolism rate and keeps you healthy as you age.
- Protein reduces cravings. As we mentioned before, protein helps reduce hunger levels. Studies have shown that eating a high protein breakfast reduces your urge to snack throughout the day. One study in men showed that increasing protein to 25% of daily calories reduced cravings by 60%, and reduced the desire to snack by half. (Credit to Authority Nutrition.)
- Protein burns more calories when eating it. Your body burns calories whilst digesting food. This is known as The Thermic Effect of Food. Of all the macronutrients (carbs, fats & protein), protein has the highest thermic effect. This helps to increase your metabolism meaning you burn more calories.
So now you know why protein is so important, how much of the stuff should you eat?
This is highly individual. Your goals, history, preference and lifestyle will dictate how much protein you need.
As a broad guideline, most of my clients do well consuming between 1.2 – 2g per KG of bodyweight.
Using this example, a 60kg woman would aim for between 72-120g of protein per day.
Now, you may see that figure and think “That’s too high. There is now way I can consume that much protein!”
I get that a lot and will be covering good source of protein tomorrow – so keep an eye out.
With my clients, we have found that trying to eat some form of protin with every meal works well.
In most cases we aim for between 25-40 grams per meal – depending on your daily target and how many meals per day you’re eating.
At first it can be difficult to consume enough protein BUT this becomes easier as you to start to become aware how much protein is in certain foods.
We will cover that tomorrow so be sure to check in then.
Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions.