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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Nelson, RD, LD

Does Protein Help with Weight Loss?

Most of us know that protein is important in our diet. It serves many functions in the body like muscle and tissue recovery – which is why it’s so popular in the weight training world, plus it’s essential for nearly every metabolic function in the body. But does it help with weight loss? The research says yes.

Eating enough protein can be effective in assisting with weight loss due to protein’s role in increasing satiety and decreasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Those who eat high protein meals have a decreased appetite and consume fewer calories throughout the day, leading to weight loss. Protein also increases your metabolic rate – how many calories you burn. To achieve the weight loss effect of protein, you need to aim for the higher side of protein, around 25-30% of your calories. This would be equivalent to 112-135 grams of protein for someone eating 1,800 calories/day, and 89-105 grams of protein for someone on a 1,400 calorie diet. Bottom line: protein assists with weight loss by making you feel full and satisfied, therefore, consuming fewer calories. Aim for around 25-30 grams of protein per meal and around 10 grams per snack, on average.

Sources of protein include both animal and plant foods. It’s best to get your protein from a variety of sources so that you also get a variety of other nutrients that come with the protein foods.

One of the most confusing sections of a grocery or health food store is the protein bar and powders section. With so many options and different types of proteins, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Many conventional protein products contain artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and cheap sources of protein. Look for a “clean” product that only contains ingredients that come from the Earth, and try to avoid artificial ingredients. While protein powders and bars may come in handy when in a hurry, it’s best to get most of your protein by eating meals that contain protein, using the sources listed in the chart. Check out our lifestyle menu for protein-packed meals that can assist with your weight loss or other heath goals.

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