A look at the science behind protein and how it can help YOU live healthier…
It seems crazy, but a little bit more protein can really help you feel better by filling you up for longer and keeping those cravings at bay.
"Protein is as filling as fat but as low calorie as carbs."
Let’s look at that simple fact as it’s really important. Fat is the most calorific food group you can eat. Each gram of fat has 9 calories. We all know that fat-rich foods make us fat and in simple terms that is true. Even a small amount of fat (a smidge of butter on your toast for example) ups the calories no end. So we do need to eat some fat but moderation is the key.
Carbohydrates are at the other end of the calorie scale. They are much lower calorie – 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate but are digested and turned to energy (and fat) the quickest. All this means is that they are low on the satiety index, so a carbohydrate-based meal leaves you hungry very quickly.
But if you look at protein…. It’s as filling as fat but as low calorie as carbohydrates.
"A protein-based meal is low calorie but will keep you filled up for hours."
Why is protein important?
"Protein reduces hunger and the need for willpower."
Aah willpower… people are always telling me they don’t have enough willpower. Willpower is a myth. If you eat enough filling food and you get enough sleep then you don’t need willpower.
In fact, if you try to lose weight with willpower alone, you will fail. You can have willpower for a day or a few days but not longer than this. And if you continue to eat the wrong foods, rely on willpower then one day soon you will spectacularly fail. You will gain weight and all your motivation will fade away.
If you can’t rely on willpower, then what is there? It’s all about eating the right food. And BECAUSE protein is filling AND low calorie it will stop you needing willpower.
5 Reasons why you will lose weight if you eat more protein every day
Protein is important because it helps you feel fuller for longer. Having more protein slows down digestion making us feel more satisfied and less likely to feel hungry later. If you eat more protein then you will eat less calories… simple.
It curbs the Carb rollercoaster
We all know about sugar highs and lows. That brief feeling of happiness when we bite into a doughnut. The guilt and hunger pangs that follow…
When we come off a sugar high, the chances of us making food decisions we will later regret is HUGE.
By eating protein with carbs, we can slow down the absorption of sugar. This will keep your blood sugar from rocketing upwards and could ward off future cravings.
It requires more energy to metabolize.
The energy the body needs to digest protein is higher. Your body burns approximately 30% more calories metabolizing fat or carbohydrates. The net calories of protein is therefore lower as you are burning calories digesting it.
It fuels fat burning
If you are on a weight-loss diet, you will be trying to reduce your body fat too. Your body cannot use fat as energy without the help of carbohydrates or protein. As you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and body fat. Eating more protein fuels the fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle.
It helps your muscles repair and get stronger
If you are exercising, your body needs more protein in order to grow more muscle. More protein on an exercise day helps you grow stronger, quicker.
How much protein do I need to eat?
The average person needs to eat about 15% protein. But if you are dieting you need to eat at least 20% protein and if you are dieting AND exercising, your needs could be even greater.
Protein needs to be at least 15% of all meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And our modern, convenience diet is often geared towards carbs and fat as they are cheaper and simpler to prepare. Junk food is generally 50% carbs and 50% fat with protein barely getting a look in.
We all need simple, healthy ways to up our protein intake. And if you don’t fancy chicken at breakfast (weird, right?) then breakfast can be particularly difficult.