Everyone knows that protein is the key to building and maintaining muscle mass, right? For decades, protein has been associated with building muscle. And since protein is essential to build muscle, it makes sense. But does protein help you lose weight? The short answer is YES, protein helps you lose weight. And there are several reasons why consuming the right amount of protein is crucial when it comes to losing weight.
How Food Affects the Human Body
The human body is a very complex machine. But ultimately, what we put into our body determines what we get out of our bodies. That makes sense, right? It probably goes without saying that a diet full of healthy vitamins and minerals will produce much better than a diet full of sugar and harmful additives.
The human diet consists of three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein. These are the nutrients that we must consume in large amounts each and every day to maintain healthy bodies. Each macronutrient plays a vital role within our bodies and the results our bodies are able to produce.
Fats – Often times, people who are dieting tend to associate fats with being bad. However, there are two types of fats: good fats and bad fats. The good fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These are more commonly referred to as simply ‘unsaturated fat’. The good fats help your body lower the risk of disease. Good fats are commonly found in natural food sources like nuts, seeds and corn. The bad fats, saturated fats and trans fats, increase your body’s chances of disease. Bad fats are commonly found in processed foods.
Carbohydrates – I would say that it’s fairly common knowledge that dieting typically involves reducing the number of carbs that you consume. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. When dieting, reducing the number of carbohydrates that you consume forces your body to find an alternate energy source. This energy source is typically the excess fat that is stored within your body.
Protein – As we said earlier, protein is vital when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass. Without protein, your body would simply wither away. But not all protein sources are equal. Some protein sources are what are referred to as complete proteins. These are the proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are the ones our bodies need to receive through proper dieting because the body is unable to produce these amino acids on its own. Most animal protein sources are complete protein sources. Some plant-based protein sources like chia, hemp and pea protein are also complete protein sources.
The Average Person’s Diet and Lifestyle Promotes Gaining Weight
So, does protein help you lose weight? When it comes to the average person, probably not. Because the average person isn’t consuming the right diet for weight loss. In America, the average person is more likely to consume a diet that promotes weight gain – if you believe in these obesity statistics.
The average person’s diet is likely to consist of approximately 25 to 35% fats, 30 to 50% carbohydrates and 25 to 35% protein. If a person who consumes this type of diet is also living a sedentary lifestyle, they are likely to gain weight. This is because the human body is conditioned to store excess calories as fat. Thousands of years ago, humans didn’t always have a steady dose of food – or an energy source. So, the adapted for the periods when food wasn’t available by storing excess calories as fat. And, when humans went without food, the body then used the stored fat for energy.
Unfortunately, the human body still functions the same way it did thousands of years ago. If you consume more calories than you burn, your body will store the excess calories as fat. The only way to burn the fat is to reduce the number of calories that you consume and/or increase the number of calories you burn through exercise.
How Your Diet Affects Your Body
When it comes to reducing the number of calories you consume and consuming a diet to promote weight loss, you need to adjust the amounts of macronutrients you consume. A diet designed to aid weight loss will consist of approximately 30 to 40% healthy fats, 10 to 30% carbohydrates and 40 to 50% protein.
As you can see, dieting for weight loss requires that you reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume while increasing the amount of healthy fats and protein that you consume.
(Side Note: A diet to build muscle should consist of approximately 15 to 25% fat, 40 to 60% carbohydrates and 25 to 35% protein. So, adding protein to your diet is actually more vital to weight loss than it is to building muscle.)
Does Protein Help You Lose Weight?
So, does protein help you lose weight? YES! But only if you are consuming the right amount of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates to promote weight loss. Simply consuming protein alone won’t help you lose weight.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that your total calorie consumption plays a vital role in whether you gain weight or lose weight. If you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning then you will always gain weight. Likewise, if you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, you will always lose weight. The proper diet will help ensure that you are losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
What Protein Should You Take to Lose Weight?
The good news is that adding protein to your diet is easy. But not all proteins are the same. When it comes to losing weight, you want to increase your protein consumption with a high dose of protein. When it comes to plant-based protein, no protein powder offers a higher does of protein per serving than pea protein powder.
Pea protein powder contains 80% protein per serving. That is a higher dosage than its animal-based counterpart whey protein. And it has many uses: add it to your favorite recipes to instantly boost your protein intake and promote healthy weight loss.