Consuming a high protein diet is beneficial for weight loss for a number of reasons.
First of all though it’s important to understand the key element of weight loss.
To lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit, which means that you must be consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your weight. There are 3 ways to achieve a calorie deficit:
Exercise – Stay eating the same but use more calories through exercise. The exercise will also make burning fat generally more efficient.
Food – Reduce your calorie intake and exercise the same amount.
Exercise & food – The best option which involves moving more and eating fewer calories.
The 3 above may look hugely different for many people and it’s important to understand that. ‘more exercise’ could mean walking for 15 minutes a day for some or running 12 miles a day instead of 10 for others, it’s all about moving more.
The key to losing weight is consistency, you need to have an overall weekly or monthly calorie deficit, so if you need 2500kcal per day to maintain weight you may want to average 2000kcal a day. A lot of people fall down by having 1000kcal 5 day a week and then binge on the weekend and have 15000kcal on the weekend, that leads to an overall surplus of calories which leads to weight gain.
How to maintain a calorie deficit
If it was easy to maintain a calorie deficit then there would be very few overweight people and everyone who wanted to be lean would be lean.
There are several strategies to help you maintain a calorie deficit; high protein (2grams per 1kg body weight) is definitely one of them because it has the following benefits:
Increased satiety – Calories from protein sources keep you feeling fuller for longer, which means you don’t feel so hungry so you are less likely to eat more.
Higher thermic effect – More calories are used to digest protein than carbohydrates so your body will burn more calories on a high protein diet.
Maintain muscle mass – High protein whilst in a calorie deficit is proven to help you maintain muscle and lose fat rather than muscle when you lose weight.
Remember, you should look at calories over a weekly average and your calorie intake can go up and down across a week, if you want to lose weight you must maintain an average calorie deficit, high protein will help you achieve this.
If you are aiming to gain weight you probably want that gained weight to be muscle rather than fat. To gain weight you must be in a calorie surplus, consuming more calories than you need to stay at the same weight.
You will need to do resistance training to break down your muscles to then allow them to adapt and come back stronger or bigger, or both, depending on your training type.
Protein is the main component of muscles so it’s logical that if you are constantly working your muscles and damaging them in training that they need protein to repair and improve. It’s not rocket science that a high protein diet is beneficial if you are trying to gain muscle.
Remember, you do also need fat as it is incredibly important for many processes and your carbohydrate intake will be dependent on how you tolerate carbohydrates.
So, to round up a high protein diet is good for weight loss or weight gain.