Does a High Protein Diet aid Fat loss?

An initiation into a scientific and quantified approach to nutrition demands a careful reconsideration of the macro allocation in your daily diet. Once you learn the basics of
quantified nutrition, you can begin to appreciate the power of macros to attain your fitness goals. At the very onset of diet planning, you will be acquainted with the muscle-building quality of protein. As a macro-nutrient, protein is called the ‘building block’ and is considered to be critical to muscle growth.

There is also another hidden facet to protein; it can aid fat loss as well. For a person beginning their fitness journey with a goal to lose weight, a high protein diet may not cross their mind, since protein has always been connected to building muscle and not cutting fat.
Adequate protein is a must for any fitness goal and even for those who don’t exercise, however; it is interesting to note that though, it is never directly related to fat loss, research indicates that protein may just be the catalyst in cutting fat.

Advanced Coach at FITTR and INFS Faculty Akshita Arora attests a high protein diet for fat loss. According to her, current evidence suggests that high protein diets promote weight loss. In this regard, a few important benefits of protein are:

1. Highest Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

The Thermic Effect of Food is basically the extra energy that your body requires during digestion [4] and is an aspect taken in to consideration while calculating your optimal calorie intake. TEF constitutes roughly 10 per cent of the total calorie expenditure of an average individual. Of all the three macro-nutrients (Carbohydrates, fats and proteins), Protein has the highest TEF.

Hence, increasing your protein intake may be beneficial for weight loss as it increases your postprandial thermogenesis and overall calorie expenditure to a small extent and accelerates weight loss in a calorie deficit state [1].

2. High Satiety

Satiety as a noun is defined as a state of fullness. Generally speaking, it is the sense of gratification or satisfaction that a meal provides. Protein of High-protein foods are high on satiety and can help you reduce hunger. Regulation of appetite, ultimately, is a favourable condition for weight loss.
A study showed a decrease in appetite, ad libitum calorie intake and body weight amongst the subjects with an increased level of protein from 15 percent to 30 percent. [2]

3. Retention of Lean body muscle mass

Another side to weight loss is loss of muscle mass. Optimal weight loss is one in which the amount of lean muscle mass lost is minimal. Protein can help retain this muscle mass during the weight loss process which can happen in a calorie deficit state. Higher protein intake (1.6-2.4 gm per kg of body weight) can also help overcome the suppression of muscle protein
breakdown and stimulate muscle protein synthesis [3], putting one in a positive net protein balance. In essence, a high protein diet can cause fat and simultaneously withhold muscle mass to acquire a desirable body composition.

CONCLUSION

It may be plausible to keep a level of protein even for fat loss especially in a country like India where the staple foods of the average diet are anyway low in protein. Including more protein in the diet has many benefits such as higher burn of calories. It can also help keep you fuller for longer through the day, thereby helping you stay in a calorie deficit. As a cherry on top, it can also help you maintain the lean muscle mass making you look and feel more toned!

About the Authors: Akshita Arora, Advanced Coach at FITTR and INFS Faculty & Saakshi, A psychologist by education and a fitness enthusiast by choice, she dreams to combine these worlds. Content writing and social media management is a passion that keeps her in the constant learner mode.

References

  1. Johnston, C. S., Day, C. S., & Swan, P. D. (2002). Postprandial thermogenesis is
    increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat
    diet in healthy, young women. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 21(1), 55-
    61.
  2. Weigle, D. S., Breen, P. A., Matthys, C. C., Callahan, H. S., Meeuws, K. E., Burden,
    V. R., & Purnell, J. Q. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in
    appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in
    diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations–. The American journal of clinical
    nutrition, 82(1), 41-48.
  3. Hector, A. J., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Protein recommendations for weight loss in
    elite athletes: A focus on body composition and performance. International journal of
    sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 28(2), 170-177.
  4. Calcagno M, Kahleova H, Alwarith J, et al. The Thermic Effect of Food: A Review. J
    Am Coll Nutr. 2019;38(6):547-551. doi:10.1080/07315724.2018.1552544

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