How to use protein for weight loss

Posted by Carlos Mandeiro on

Macronutrients, or macros, are essential nutrients the body needs in large quantities to remain healthy. Macronutrients provide the body with energy, help prevent disease, and allow the body to function correctly. There are three main types of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fat.

Most of the calories come from one of those three types, but each type is processed differently by the body and brings different benefits. Finding the right balance between the three is the edge you need before diving into hard calorie-restricted diets.

Those types of macronutrients have different purposes:

• Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for the body to fuel brain and muscles.
• Protein are long chains of compounds called amino-acids. They play a vital role in the repair, maintenance and growth of body tissues. It is crucial to the immune system and a constituent of every body cell.
• Fats are often badly looked at. They have a very high caloric density but also have their own unique benefits, such as healthy hormone production, absorption of important vitamins and cell growth.

Healthy slimming

There are chances you’ve been trying to lose weight for some time. The bad news is: there’s no shortcut to weight loss, at least none that will keep you slim on the long-term. The good news is: there’s no secret to weight-loss either, just a tried-out, simple and effective formula:


Balanced & varied diet + Sensible exercise regime

But what is a balanced diet, and what is a sensible exercise regime? There’s no one-size solution to those, as the answer will vary depending on circumstances, lifestyle and health goals. For instance, an athlete might eat a high-protein diet, because that is what their body requires to keep it in balance given the level of energy expenditure and physical activity. Similarly, the types of foods you should eat and the amount of exercise you require will often depend upon your particular metabolism and what you are trying to achieve.

While this may sound complicated, the two broad principles above still apply. However, if you need guidance to, for example, design an appropriate meal plan or exercise plan in the early stages, it can be helpful to contact a nutritionist and/or personal trainer.

Of course, before changing your diet, starting a new exercise regime or taking health supplements, it is always recommended to consult your doctor - particularly if you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Protein in a weight-loss context

With the above in mind, we’ve drawn some general guidelines to weight management, and you should get a major take-away: “quick fixes” won’t work. There are tools, however, that can help you ease and quicken the process of weight-loss. One of them is protein.

Protein is the building block of the body. Its long chain form makes it complex to assimilate. This comes with two major advantages. First, your body needs to spend calories in order to breakdown those chains into the amino acids we need. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and roughly accounts for one calorie burnt per 4 calories of protein ingested. Second, it improves the feeling of satiety, keeping you full for longer periods of time: a must to avoid unhealthy snacking!

Leaving a good place for protein in your balanced diet can:

• Boost your metabolic rate
• Help you avoid to lose muscle during weight-loss, which in turn enhances calories burning and supports energy levels during exercise
• Support antioxidant and immune function
• Keep you fuller for longer, which helps tremendously on the psychological side

Protein supplements

Protein is great and you might want to up your protein intake as part of a weight-loss or lifestyle change. The key to that is to identify some high-protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairies and legumes. The issue with those is that they can be expensive, higher in fat that we would wish for, and mostly difficult to prepare and integrate into every meal, every day (think about the morning rush, or a classic on-the-spot office lunch). The last point is underlined by the fact that protein intake should be spread throughout the day to improve your energy.

High-protein foods are not grab-and-go and are not as portable as a common unhealthy snack (with the exception of a hard-boiled egg, a great snack). A solution to this problem is the protein powders and the meal shakes. They’re extremely quick and easy to prepare, and can be used on the go.

Variety is key, also for protein powders. Pea protein has a different amino-acid profile than a soy protein, which is also far from the one of a whey protein. Don’t hesitate to rotate between protein sources. Also, keep in mind that protein supplements should not be your main source of protein, but more like an helpful tool !

With these tasty shakes, there is no need to feel like you are being deprived or missing out. Don’t go hungry; don’t skip meals. Try a delicious and nutritious protein shake to help keep you feeling satisfied for longer - but always use them in conjunction with a well-balanced diet!


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