Protein and weight loss | How much protein should we eat to weight loss | 10 foods with the highest protein content | Best time to eat protein | Ways to add protein | Conclusion

High protein intake is the most important hack to lose weight naturally. [1]

Protein boost metabolism, suppress appetite and induce thermogenesis.

So, just adding protein-rich to your breakfast can be very helpful in weight loss very fast.

Eating protein-rich help you eat less for the rest of the day. How? We will discuss it in detail below.

Does protein help to lose weight fast?

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Yes, protein helps to lose weight fast and eating protein-rich breakfast is the single and most powerful trick to lose weight fast. Protein and belly fat have an inverse relationship. More is the protein, lesser belly fat.

Mechanism of protein that helps to reduce belly fat and maintain a healthy weight.

1. The body burns more calories in the digestion of protein than carbs.

Our body also burns calories to digest the food that we eat also called the thermic effect of food (TEF). 

It is reported that the thermic effect of nutrients is 5-10 for carbs, 20-30% for protein, and 0-3% for fat. [2][3]. 

Although all studies haven’t the same figure, at least it is clear that protein has a higher thermic effect, which is two times higher than carbs and ten times higher than fat.

Our overall diet is generally 10% of daily total energy expenditure. This is because normally our diet is carbs centric. By eating higher you can increase this energy expenditure to 15-20 %.[2]

0-30% thermic effect of protein means if protein provides 100 calories, then 20-30calories were used to extract these calories and effective calories were 70-80.

This is also a good way to burn more calories by just eating.

2. It helps to suppress Appetite

Protein suppresses hunger and can help to create a calorie deficit. [4]

It helps you to eat fewer calories without even conscious about calorie intake. It also helps to decrease day-to-day calorie intake and you can create a significant calorie deficit at the end of the weeks.

A study shows that eating 30% of calories can help you to eat 441 fewer calories per day. [5]

3. It boosts metabolism significantly

Boosting metabolism is one of the key factors to lose belly fat and shed pounds of fat.

Some people have a naturally faster metabolism than others. Faster metabolism allows you to burn more calories naturally throughout the day. 

This makes the metabolism key factor in maintaining and losing weight. 

Protein found in every tissue of the body. It will prevent muscle loss, help you to increase muscle mass with weight training and exercise. [5

More is the muscle mass, the more energy will require to keep you alive also called basal metabolic rate (BMR). Because muscle tissue requires more energy. Increasing muscle mass will boost your BMR.[6][7][8]

Protein is harder to digest than carb. Our digestion system works harder to digest protein than carbs and fat. And this helps to accelerate the metabolic rate up to 20-35%.

More protein not only help with body composition and metabolism. But, also helps you hide under-fat, and look good.

4. Reduces cravings and prevent you from taking snacks

Craving can add tons of calories to your diet without even realizing it. Because of this, most of the people fail to achieve goals on their diets. This is the reason people gain weight, although they eat their meal consciously. 

But, protein may solve this problem for dieters and weight losers.

Protein helps to decrease the desire to eat by 15% and fast-food cravings by 15%. But, it helps to increase fullness by 25%. [9]

5. It can change weight regulating hormones

Weight gain or loss both is also regulated by the brain for example satiety is controlled by our brain part hypothalamus. [10][11]

Our body sends signals to the brain and our brain decides how much to eat, what to eat, and when to eat.

Eating high protein instead of fat or carbs increase satiety hormones and decrease hunger hormone.[12][13][14]

Eating high protein reduces hunger and creates a continuous calorie deficit without slowing down metabolism is the actual reason why a high protein diet results in automatic weight loss.

6. Protein can help you lose weight without calorie monitoring or doing anything new

Protein can help to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.[15]

In one study of overweight people found that just increasing protein to 30 can help to lose almost 1 pound per week. They just add more protein to their diet, but they did not restrict anything intentionally.

Protein can also prevent weight regain by 50% and the rest 50% weight regain is fat-free muscle gain.  

How much protein should we eat for weight loss per day?

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Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein by the Institute of Medicine (IOM),

Males
14–18 years52.0
19–70 years and older56.0
Females
14–70 years and older46.0

Although this value can prevent protein deficiency and not fixed. It is way lower than a sufficient amount of protein for weight loss and body composition. It can be changed based on your activity level, age, sex, etc. 

Eating 30% calories from protein is optimal for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight.

What do the studies say?

  • According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans the optimal protein intake is 10-35% is considered optimal for weight loss and other health benefits.
  • A study has shown that getting 30% calories from protein can boost metabolism by 80-90calories per day. Yet this contribution may not look significant if it compares with reducing appetite and increase satiety.[16][17]
  • Another study showed that eating 25% of calories from protein can reduce carving by 60%.
  • Eating 30% calories helps to eat 441 fewer calories per day and helps in losing weight almost one pound per week- by just adding protein to the diet.[18]
  • A 2016 study recommends that people should eat 1g protein per kg body weight with sedentary, 1.6g protein per kg body weight with moderate lifestyle, and 1.6g protein per kg body weight with intense physical activity to prevent muscle loss. And adults can eat 2g protein per kg bodyweight for the long term and can tolerate upper limit 3.5g protein per kg body weight.

The exact amount of protein should eat based on studies

It is cleared with these studies that 30% of calories from protein is optimal and healthy for weight loss.

Amount Based on calories

30% of calories mean if you eat 2000 calories per day you need to eat 600 calories from protein.

1g of protein provides 4 calories means 600 calories would have been provided by 150g protein. So you need to eat 150g protein.

For simple understanding multiply your total daily calorie intake by 30/400= 0.075.

Amount Based on body weight

You can also eat protein based on your weight. Just eat 1.5-2.2g protein per kg of your weight. 

If you are a 60kg person eat 90-130g protein. If your lifestyle sedentary starts with a minimal 90g limit to above.

These numbers aren’t too accurate protein intake 25-35% or 90-150of calories can be effective.

10 foods with the highest protein content

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These are the top 10 foods that contain the highest protein content. You should add these foods to your diet. These foods will make you feel full and help you to eat fewer calories.

5 veg food for a vegetarian to weight loss

1. Parmesan (30g protein per 100g)

It is a hard, granular cheese usually used in grated form. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk.

It contains lots of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12, calcium and phosphorus.[19]

Protein – 100g Parmesan contains 421 calories and 29.6g protein content.

2. Pumpkin seeds  (30g protein per 100g)

Pumpkin seeds are edible seeds sometimes also referred to as Pepita.

It is a good source of healthy oil, fiber, and protein. [20]

Pumpkin seeds are the source of healthy fats. It contains 47g fat. [20][21]

Protein – 100g Pumpkin seeds contain 600 calories and 30g protein content.

3. Peanuts  (25g protein per 100g)

Peanuts are also known as groundnut, goober in the US, and monkey nut in the UK.

Peanuts are unrelated to tree nut and closely related to beans and soy.

Peanuts are very rich in healthy fats, it contains 57g fat. [22]

Protein  – it contains 25g protein per 100g.

4. Edam  (25g protein per 100g)

Edam is a semi-hard cheese and named after a town in North Holland.

Its 30% of calories come from protein and it is also rich in Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Phosphorus, Calcium, and Zinc. [24][23]

Protein – 100g Edam contains 357 calories and 25g protein content

5. Cheddar (23g protein per 100g)

Cheddar cheese is low in calories, high in fat, and contain adequate protein.

It contains 3g carbs and 33g fat. Most of the calories come from fat. [25]

It contains almost all minerals and nutrients except vitamin C. [26]

Protein – 100g Cheddar contain 404 calories and 23g protein content

5  non-veg food for non-vegetarians to weight loss

These foods for meat lovers and trying to lose weight.

6. Beef jerky (33g protein per 100g)

Beef jerky is lean trimmed beef that has been cut into strips. It is usually used as a snack.

Its 32% calories come from protein. It is low in carbs, contains only 11g carbs and 26g fat. [27][28]

Protein – 100g Beef jerky contains 410 calories and 33g protein content

7. Tuna steak (30g protein per 100g)

Tuna is a great source of high-quality protein. It contains zero carbs and sugar. 

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend eating two servings of tuna is enough. These fish can contain small traces of mercury which is not good for health.

Tuna also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.[29]

Protein – 100g Tuna steak contains 184 calories and 30g protein content.

8. Canned tuna (29g protein per 100g)

Tuna fish is a great source of protein, selenium, and vitamin D. [31]

Its glycemic index is zero and weight loss and maintains a healthy weight. It provides 198 calories and 63% of the calories come from protein.[32]

Protein – 100g  Canned tuna contains 198 calories and 29g protein content.

9. Beef (27g protein per 100g)

It is the menu name for the meat from cattle, specifically skeletal muscle.

Beef contains 250 calories from which 46% calories come from protein.[33][34]

Protein – 100g  Canned Beef contains 250 calories and 27g protein content.

10. Turkey (27g protein per 100g)

Turkey contains zero carbs. Its 50% of calories come from protein.

It is also very rich in Vitamin B6, Niacin, Selenium, and Riboflavin.[30]

Protein – 100g Turkey contains 203 calories and 27g protein content.

What is best time to eat protein to lose weight?

There is no doubt that eating more protein throughout the day helps to lose significant weight. But, eating timing can also accelerate the fat loss process.

You should 30% of calories from protein, mean if you eat 2000 calories per day you need to eat 150g from protein for weight loss.

You should distribute all this protein to your meals. But there is a time when you should eat more protein for weight loss.

You should eat your food early. 

In study 420 overweight people undergo a 20-week weight loss diet, those men who eat their meal early loss significantly more weight than late eaters.

The best time to add more protein to your diet is At breakfast

It is always a good idea to consume high-protein breakfast (6-10 am) when you are trying to lose weight.

Breakfast is your first meal of the day. If you take more protein during breakfast, it will make you less hungry throughout the day and you will consume fewer calories without even counting calories.

Never miss your breakfast, nutritionist says. If you take breakfast clockwise you will able to lose 10-15kg more weight than those who miss their breakfast.

Adding protein during snack time is also a good idea.

It is not necessary. It depends on whether you are hungry or not. 

Although if you have eaten high-protein breakfast or meal you won’t be craving or hunger. Snacking between meals will prevent you from overeating.

Consuming a protein-rich snack between meals may help you to consume fewer calories later in the meal. [31] [32]

One study shows that eating high protein yogurt snacks helps you to eat 100 fewer calories at dinner. [32]

Snacks after 2 to 4 hours after a meal will be good for you. It will prevent overeating at the next meal and suppress hunger.

Remember two things

  • Don’t be crazy about snacking. 
  • Snacking should be high in protein.

Ways to add protein to diet for weight loss

There are several ways to get adequate protein naturally. You just need to add these delicious items to your diet and this will allow you adequate protein for weight loss. 

  • Replace cereal with eggs or oatmeal
  • Tops your food with nuts or seeds
  • Snack with high-protein items such as cheese
  • Salads should be high protein
  • Replace juice with protein shakes
  • Eat lean meat

Conclusion

Protein is the key factor in weight loss.

Adding more protein to diet is the easiest and simplest way to weight loss. 

Protein suppresses appetite, burn more calories, boost metabolism, make you fuller for a longer time, and changes weight regulating hormones.

An average person should eat 90-150g protein per day also depend on age, sex, etc.

You can get protein from high protein foods such as legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits

You should eat protein-rich breakfast, it will decrease your calorie intake drastically for the rest of the day.

General FAQs

How protein help to lose weight?

Protein boost metabolism, supress apptetite, chnage weight rulating hormons, make you feel full for longer, and burn more calories during digestion.

How much protein should I eat a day to lose weight?

Eating 30% calories from protein or 90-150g protein is optimal for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight.

What is best time to eat protein for weight?

You should distribute protein to all meal. but, breakfast is the best time to eat highprotein food. it will help you to eat fewer calories in later days.


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