Fat loss can be challenging and often frustrating. This is especially the case with Indians since on average we eat more carbohydrates, and fat and less protein and fibre. Consuming adequate Protein and Fiber is essential for any fat loss diet.
Why Protein is required for the body?
Protein is a macronutrient and is an important component of every cell in the body & here is a reason why adequate protein consumption is essential –
- Building lean muscle
- Curbing hunger
- Helping maintain a healthy weight
- Reducing muscle loss
- Speeding recovery after injury and/or exercise
How Protein Metabolism works?
Protein-induced satiety is mainly a result of oxidation of amino acids present in diets with “incomplete” proteins. However, “complete” proteins having all essential amino acids show larger increases in energy expenditure than do lower-quality proteins. Protein-induced energy expenditure is because of protein & urea synthesis and to gluconeogenesis. The higher the quality, lower the requirement and vice versa.
Protein has a higher thermic effect of food (TEF) compared to carbs & fat, which essentially means the body burns more calories through the digestion process. Protein regulates hunger hormones that induce satiety, including glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CCK), and peptide YY (PYY) & ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite. Several studies report that consuming a high-protein diet has shown to induce satiating hormones (GLP-1, CCK, and PPY) & reduce ghrelin, which can help control appetite & food consumption.
Protein and Weight maintenance
Amino acids are building blocks of protein. Protein quality varies from each type of protein depending on number of amino acids present in that protein. Eating more protein (distributed throughout the day) may reduce food cravings & desire for late-night snacking and you end up eating less or no junk food. Simply having a wholesome breakfast (high protein) may have a powerful effect. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacking with high quality protein is typically seen as a right choice because protein keeps people satiated for longer.
Diet-induced weight-loss therapy, together with a hypocaloric protein-pack diet & increased physical activity (particularly resistance-type exercise), should be promoted to maintain muscle mass & improve muscle strength plus physical function in persons with obesity.
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein is based on ideal body weight i.e. 1g protein per kg body weight in the case of adults both males (@60g/day) & females (@55g/day).
Current recommendations for protein intakes during weight loss are set at 1.6-2.4 g protein/kg/day.
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Protein-loaded snacking options
Here are few snacking options that are low in salt, sugar, saturated fats & trans fats –
- ¼ cup of mixed nuts
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- Soyabean salad (no dressing)
- Small bowl of plain curd
- Roasted Chana
- Makhana (Fox nuts)
PS: Portion control is the primary key to health for ALL! Consult a qualified Nutritionist to determine your protein needs – not only to lose weight but maintain & grow supportive muscle mass.
Reference for further reading: https://ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/hc4001.096152