In her most recent weekly vlog Molly-Mae confessed to finding new ways to incorporate more protein into her diet to support her weight-loss journey (13:15). Here at Innermost we get the lowdown from Hannah Belsham, Innermost’s Resident Health and Nutrition Coach on just why protein is so essential for healthy and sustained weight-loss.
Aside from the elemental human need for protein, it’s crucial to watch your intake if you’re looking to lose weight and increase muscle mass. While it’s widely known that if you’re looking to gain muscle it’s important to have a high protein intake, it’s less commonly known that protein can actually assist you in losing weight through several different mechanisms.
- Protein is appetite reducing. Numerous studies have shown that when you increase your protein intake, your overall calorie count drops thanks to the fact that protein keeps you fuller for longer. In one study where participants sourced 30% of their calories from protein, their calories intake dropped by a huge 441 a day. In other words, a high protein diet gives you a metabolic and appetite-related advantage over other kinds of diets, and makes it much easier to drop your overall calorie intake without too much effort.
- Protein helps you burn more calories. A high protein intake tends to lead to a boost in metabolism, enabling your body to burn more calories 24 hours a day – even while you’re asleep. This is because your body uses calories to digest and access the nutrients in food, which is called the thermic effect. Protein has a far higher thermic rate than fat or carbohydrates, coming in at 20-35% rather than 5-15%.
- Protein changes your hormones for the better. Eating a high protein diet is associated with increasing levels of hormones which relate to satiety and the reduction of appetite. To get technical, if you eat up all your protein, your body produces more of the hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, and reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. In layperson’s terms, this means that if you replace some of the carbs and fat you eat with protein you’ll feel a significant reduction in your hunger levels. In short, I’d recommend reaching for yoghurt or nuts over a packet of biscuits.
How much protein do we need?
While official NHS guidelines state that your daily protein intake should be 50g, this doesn’t take your weight, height or energy output into account. If you’re looking to actively build muscle through a combination of exercise and diet, you should be aiming to eat 1.5g-2.5g of protein per kilo of body weight every day. If you’re the average UK weight of 83kg, this works out to around 166 g of protein daily.
When should I take protein?
We recommend you take your protein anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes post-workout. This will not only ensure you get the necessary protein that you need, but give you a great post-workout energy boost.
Should I take a protein shake?
A good protein powder should offer you a high-quality bioavailable source of complete protein that is easily integrated into your diet. Shakes are notoriously filling and easily digestible which is great if you’re on-the-go, looking to cut back on calories or just don’t have time to whip up some breakfast.
If weight-loss is a goal of yours, The Lean Protein (£29.95) has been specifically crafted to help you reach your desired weight. It’s specifically formulated to encourage healthy fat-loss, reduce cravings, and maintain energy levels.
If you’re planning to change your daily eating and exercise habits to slim down for the good of your health, the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” has never been more applicable. To make sure you lose weight safely, it’s worth speaking to a medical professional before starting a new diet or fitness regime