There are a number of reasons why protein powder and weight loss go hand in hand, and in this post I will show you why it works, the easiest ways to incorporate it into your diet, what kind of protein to buy, and how and when to take it.
All of these things make a difference as to how effective this method of losing weight will be, and if you do it in the right way then you will be rocking that nicely toned body in no time.
Burning fat is all about muscle maintenance
To keep body fat low you need to keep muscle mass high. I’m not saying you need to bulk up, just keep yourself nicely toned and you will see results. This is because muscle mass keeps your body in calorie torching mode more than anything else; the more you have, the more you burn… simple!
This is where protein comes in as it is the building block of muscle, and if you don’t get enough through your diet then your muscle mass will suffer. For maintenance usually eating a healthy diet will probably give you enough protein through food alone; but if you’re weight training, are eating a vegan or plant based diet, or want to lose weight and cut fat, then you may need to obtain more through a supplement.
Getting extra protein:-
The simplest and easiest way to get extra protein into your diet without too many extra calories (which defeats the object) is through a good quality protein powder. There are so many awesome products on the market right now that it makes the mind boggle; but this is also a great thing as many have been blended to contain a complete amino acid profile, which is something that is vital in the buildig of muscle.
Another great thing about the protein blends is they often have added nutrients, and many times green superfood powders, probiotics and enzymes; all of which help aid absorption. After all, you are what you absorb not what you eat, and if you eat foods with low bio-availability you could very well be wasting your and money.
Protein Powder and Weight Loss – Why it Works!
1. PROTEIN DECREASES HUNGER
Protein helps to lower your hunger hormone ghrelin, and when this little blighter gets out of control it makes you want to snack even when you know you don’t really need to eat. Eating a high protein diet can help suppress this hormone, and STOP those sugar cravings that are notorious for making you gain nasty belly fat specifically.
Other ways to lower the hunger hormone ghrelin include:-
- Eating regularly to keep blood sugar stable
- Eating a high fiber diet
- Getting at least 7 hours sleep a night
- Eating omega 3 rich foods, OR omega 3 supplements
- Avoid MSG
- Avoiding fructose (as in the fructose used as a sugar in foods and fruit juices – whole fruits are fine)
One study cited that increasing protein intake up to 15-30% of your total day’s calories can help you to consume a whopping 441 fewer calories per day, which works out an extra 5kg in 12 weeks – now who doesn’t want a piece of that? And these results were seen without reducing actual portion sizes, but just swapping high GI foods and snacks for high protein ones instead.
2. INCREASED METABOLISM
A high protein diet will help keep your metabolism boosting muscle mass high, and if you actively do exercise or activities that help to build muscle then these effects will be much higher. Regular exercise is an integral part of long term fat loss, and crucial for a healthy body and mind; plus it will also offer protection from many diseases and illnesses.
So bottom line:- make sure you take regular muscle building exercise, such as resistance training, HITT, power walking, swimming, or whatever you enjoy: just be sure make it a habit and you will keep your muscle mass and fat burning abilities going full steam ahead.
If you’re actively dieting by cutting down on excess calories and fat, then extra protein can up muscle mass maintenance by up to 3.5 times.
Often when you go on a diet (especially when you’re not doing a proper exercise program alongside it) you will find that your body, rather annoyingly, will shed muscle before fat. This is because the body prefers to burn lean muscle mass for fuel when your calorie intake is low, like when you’re on a calorie restricted diet. Obviously this is the last thing you want – you want to keep as much muscle as possible on your body for its fat burning effects; and also to stop you looking flabby.
Keeping muscle mass is another good reason to keep your protein intake high, and a clean plant based protein powder is perfect for this job.
4. PROTEIN KEEPS YOU FULL AND SATIATED
Keeping yourself satiated is another vital aspect of weight loss for obvious reasons. For starters you will produce more leptin – a hormone your body releases to tell you you’ve had enough to eat and is the opposite of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This will ultimately lead to eating fewer calories in one sitting, AND make you less likely to snack between meals.
5. PROTEIN IS LOW GI
GI, or glycemic index, is the rate in which the carbohydrates/sugars in a food take to be broken down and used for energy; or stored as fat as the case may be. The higher the GI the faster these sugars hit the bloodstream, which is a bad thing in most situations (but different during or after intense training when the muscles need to be refueled quickly) because it promotes fat storage, and unfortunately for us it’s the dangerous belly fat kind too.
Eating a low GI diet is not only crucial to weight loss and maintenance, but it also lowers your chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even some cancers. Protein contains virtually NO carbohydrates at all, and is the reason why a high protein diet will boost your weight loss efforts.
Many protein powders contain very little carbs, making them the perfect filling fat burning snack or meal replacement.
BEST TIMES TO TAKE YOUR PROTEIN:-
- AFTER A WORKOUT – to aid with muscle repair and growth.
- BEFORE A MEAL – to up the protein of the whole meal, AND to stop you from over-eating. If you do this you can give yourself a much smaller serving of carbs with your meal and still feel completely satiated and fuller for longer.
- AS A BREAKFAST – taking JUST protein at breakfast with as close to zero carbs as possible will keep your body carrying on in fat burning mode after your whole night of fasting.
- BEFORE BED – if you need a snack before bed then a protein shake is just the ticket as it will help with muscle repair and growth overnight. But I wouldn’t do this with protein powders that have added greens as they can be stimulating.
Eating specific fat burning foods and drinks alongside a high protein diet will help you torch that unwanted fat even faster. If you make these a part of your daily habits for life then you hopefully won’t ever need to worry about your weight again, and more importantly you can keep that dangerous, disease causing belly fat to a minimum – a thing that is just as important as any aesthetic benefits!
FIND THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER TO USE – FOR YOU
I always go for a plant based blend because it’s cleaner and you don’t get the nasty side effects of dairy, such as bloating and inflammation. You should always check whether a protein powder is suitable for your needs to get the most out of it.
You will find some of them are specific to dieters, and have a high fiber, low carb content; whilst others are better if you do lots of physical exercise, and may contain carbs to help fuel muscles too. You can also get protein powders that will help you gain weight, or act as a meal replacement.
In this post ‘Best Protein Powders of 2018’ I’ve put a list of all the highest quality protein powders in order with all their key features and benefits. Here you will find some of the best protein powders for weight loss specifically, and see at a glance which will work for you so you can pick accordingly.
Here is a quick YouTube video on how to use protein powder after you have chosen the right one for you.