This time of year most of us have weight loss on our minds—if not immediately, for the post-holiday freak-out we’re sure to have when we step on the scale at our first visit back to the gym in, well, let’s just say a while.
We know there’s no magic pill to weight loss—it’s a combination of exercising more, eating less, and eating right. A high protein diet may help you meet your weight loss goals.
First, protein actually helps your body to burn fat. The body needs protein (or carbs) to create the energy needed to burn fat. And when you start to lose weight, that can often mean muscle loss too—and protein plays a critical role in keeping your muscles strong and healthy.
Protein is also important in regulating sugar in the body when paired with a carbohydrate (sugar). By regulating your blood sugar with protein, you’ll feel more stable and that means less of a sugar rush and crash, which usually leads to eating more sugar. So make sure you always eat a protein with every carbohydrate or PSL.
On that same note, protein can make you feel fuller longer. That’s because proteins take more time to digest, so your body isn’t ready to signal that it needs more food until the protein is already broken down. Plus, you actually burn more calories just by digesting protein-rich foods!
One of the most important functions of protein is in keeping your muscles strong and healthy, particularly after hitting the gym. Protein is beneficial to muscle repair and recovery, and strong healthy muscles can displace fat on the body, which is really what you’re after even if the number on the scale doesn’t move that much (muscle is denser than fat, so the more muscle you have versus fat, the leaner you’ll look, even if you technically weigh the same or more!).
It’s simple to ensure you’re getting enough protein throughout your day. Make it a part of every meal and snack—whether that’s a protein-based smoothie, a handful of nuts, eggs for breakfast or lunch, or a lean protein for dinner. You can even make sure your sweet treats and desserts come packed with protein—seeds, nuts, and dairy can all help to take the sugary edge off.
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