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Q+A: How to Use Protein Powder For Weight Loss
If you're looking to lose weight, you've probably heard it all...
Less carbs, less fats, more fruits, more veggies, intermittent fast, high fiber, the list goes on and on (literally).
But what they all seem to miss is the importance of getting enough PROTEIN!
Disclaimer: Sure you can lose weight if you're cutting calories, eating like a rabbit, or borderline starving yourself, but you know what you'll also lose? Muscle.
Losing weight doesn't mean you need to lose muscle. Keep your protein intake high to cut fat and protein lean muscle mass.
Let's talk about how protein powder can help.
WHY IS PROTEIN IMPORTANT?
What a silly question.
Protein is essential for...
- Bones, Muscle, Cartilage, & Skin Health and Functions
- Cellular Functions
- Metabolism & Fluid Balance
- Physical Structure
Found in every cell of the human body, protein is essential for biological functions and an optimal life - which is why you should aim to get 1g of protein per pound of body weight...because you need it!
On top of its necessary roles for everyday life, in terms of weight loss protein improves muscle growth, increases calories burned, and promotes satiety to reduce calorie intake.
Let's keep going!
HOW DOES PROTEIN HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?
Quick and to the point, protein aids in weight loss by:
- Reducing Appetite
- Boosting Metabolism
- Supporting Existing Muscle Mass
- Building New Muscle Mass
We went over why protein is an integral part of a well-balanced, healthy diet, but it's time to hone it in and talk about its importance for weight loss.
ENHANCES SATIETY TO REDUCE APPETITE
Research shows that protein intake has beneficial effects on hormones that affect appetite, specifically Grehlin and Peptide YY.
REDUCES GHRELIN: Protein consumption has been shown to reduce Ghrelin, the "hunger hormone".
INCREASES PEPTIDE YY: A hormone that helps to reduce calorie intake by helping you feel "fuller"
Interestingly enough, one study showed that whey protein had the greatest effect in reducing hunger and appetite - followed by casein, then soy.
*So if you're looking for the BEST protein powder for weight loss, stick with grass fed whey.
SUPPORTS AND BOOSTS METABOLISM
Protein has the highest thermic effect out of the three macros.
- Protein: 20-30% of ingested calories.
- Carbohydrates: 5-10%
- Fats: 0-3%
What does this mean?
Due to its high-thermic effect, protein helps to burn fat by increasing the number of calories your body burns per day.
One study compared calories burned in individuals who consumed a high-protein diet vs low-protein diets, and whadda ya know...
The high-protein group burned 259 calories MORE than the low-protein group.
To add to that, protein can also help you burn more calories while you sleep. A second study showed us that increased protein intake showed an overall increase in calories burned over a 24-hour period.
SUPPORTS AND MAINTAINS MUSCLE MASS
This one should be a no brainer, your existing muscles need protein and your new unfound muscles will need extra protein to start sprouting.
Studies show that protein consumption is crucial for two main functions;
- Muscle Protein Synthesis
- Preventing Muscle Tissue Breakdown
But what does this mean for fat loss?
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn - since muscle burns more calories than fat.
So pound for pound, the more muscle and less fat you have, the more calories you will burn.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROTEIN POWDERS?
If you’re considering incorporating extra protein into your weight loss journey, you might wonder what the best protein powders for your health goals are. Since several different protein powders are available, you might narrow your search by first choosing an animal or plant-based powder.
ANIMAL-BASED PROTEIN POWDER:
Animal proteins are considered complete as they contain all nine essential amino acids.
- Whey Protein Powder
- Casein Protein Powder
- Egg Protein Powder
- Collagen Protein Powder
As mentioned above, whey has been shown to be the superior choice for reducing hunger and appetite.
PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER:
Unlike animal proteins, plant proteins lack amino acids, which makes them incomplete proteins.
- Brown Rice Protein Powder
- Pea Protein Powder
- Soy Protein Powder
- Pea Protein Powder
- Hemp Protein Powder
Plant-based protein powders may contain brown rice protein, soy protein, pea protein, or hemp protein. Unlike animal-based proteins, plant proteins can lack amino acids. So, supplement companies will often combine protein sources to create a complete protein.
WHY IS PROTEIN POWDER GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Protein powder helps you meet your daily protein needs.
Getting in adequate amounts of protein through whole foods alone can be tough, this is where protein powders come in and can be used as a tool to help you meet your goals and keep your protein intake high.
Here's some tips on how to use protein powder to increase intake and aid in weight loss:
- Kill two birds with one stone by adding a scoop of protein to your morning coffee.
- Hit 30g of protein in your first meal with a protein shake and two eggs. (Read more about the importance of protein in your first meal here.)
- Replace calorie-filled snacks with lean protein shakes.
- Use protein shakes as a convenient, high-quality protein source when you're on the go.
- Support your your muscles by consuming protein shake post-workout.
Main takeaway: Protein powers are an efficient way to supplement intake and meet daily protein requirements.
WILL PROTEIN POWDERS MAKE ME BULKY?
Will protein powders make me fat? Also no.
The two questions are pretty common, especially from the ladies.
Protein powders alone won't make you bulky or fat. High calories will.
There's a stigma around protein powders, that once you start taking them, you'll begin to bulk and start looking like He-Man or start putting on fat.
Protein powders should be used as a tool to help you meet your goals, weight and fat loss included.
Here's the tip: If you're trying to lose fat, add your protein powder to a calorie-free liquid like water or coffee.
If you start adding milk, nut butters, seeds, oil, fruits, etc. Your protein shake will go from low to high calories. Keep this mind while tracking your calorie intake.
WHICH TYPE OF PROTEIN POWDER IS BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Whey has been studied to be the best protein powder to build muscle AND reduce hunger, so stick with it.
What else should you look for in a whey protein powder?
SOURCE: Always choose grass-fed.
INGREDIENTS: Natural, never artificial. Find a whey protein powder that doesn't use artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or anything fake.
QUALITY: Always 3rd party tested.
SHOULD YOU USE PROTEIN SHAKES AS A MEAL REPLACEMENT?
Protein shakes are a great meal replacement when trying to lose fat as well as a convenient source of protein when you're on the go.
Although you should be getting the majority of your protein from high-quality, whole-food sources, it's perfectly normal to use protein shakes as a meal replacement or as a low-calorie snack to get more protein in.
WHEN TO DRINK PROTEIN SHAKES
For protein intake? Any time, but here's some specifics.
MORNINGS: Research indicates that protein in the morning can reduce feelings of hunger and even result in eating fewer calories throughout the day. Upgrade your regular morning coffee to proffee by adding a scoop of protein powder to your cup of joe.
POST WORKOUT: If you're new to training drinking protein shakes within two hours of your workout will benefit you best. This will help refuel your muscles for better recovery.
SNACKS: Protein shakes can be used as low-calorie, high-protein snacks to increase protein intake and satiety.
WILL PROTEIN SHAKES MAKE YOU FAT?
No, too many calories will make you fat.
This is why tracking calories is a crucial part of fat loss.
Keep this in mind, protein shakes for weight loss should be made of ONLY protein powder and water. These shakes usually fall in the 100-120 calorie range.
A protein shake with added milk, nut butter, seeds, fruits, and other topics can land in the 500-calorie range.
Fat loss requires a deficit, not a surplus, so stick with lean protein shakes help you lose fat, not add it.
BOTTOM LINE: WHAT'S THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Whey protein, hands down.
Whey protein powder has been shown to improve weight loss, support lean muscle mass, and increase satiety to reduce calorie intake.
We'll leave you with these last fat loss tips:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Keep protein intake high.
- Strength train 3-5x per week.
- Prioritize sleep.
Get the full fat loss cheat sheet here.