For sustainable, long-term weight loss include protein in your diet. It works wonders against unpleasant weight cycling!
Define Your Body with Protein
Protein is not just important for muscle growth, but also plays a vital role when it comes to weight loss. Firstly, because protein helps you maintain your muscle mass, and secondly, because foods rich in protein keep you full longer. Make sure you take both the quality and quantity of the protein you eat into consideration. It doesn’t have to be animal protein, by the way – vegetable protein is perfectly fine, too.
The Basics of Muscle Growth
The terms protein and muscle growth are often mentioned in one breath. There’s a reason for that: when muscles grow, an increased amount of protein is stored in the muscles. The muscular system is continuously changing. In order to maintain or grow more muscle mass, we have to ingest corresponding amounts of protein. Essential amino acid leucine, plays a vital role in muscle growth. It’s contained in beef, chicken, salmon, chicken eggs, walnuts or peas.
Eggs provide protein – the higher amount of it being found in the yolk, not the egg white.
Protein Shakes – Yes or No?
The potential of protein shakes for muscle growth is often overestimated. Usually, we ingest sufficient amounts of protein with our normal meals. Only drink protein shakes to substitute a meal – but then combine them with other ingredients rich in carbohydrates (bananas, oats). The insulin produced by your body supports muscle growth. Studies show that a protein intake of more than 2.0g/kg body weight does not boost muscle growth any further. Also make sure you don’t exceed that limit, due to possible side effects, as ammonia is produced during the decomposition process. Stay well-hydrated to support your kidneys – they are responsible for eliminating the ammonia from your system.
All You Need to Know about Protein
The protein we ingest with food is responsible for building endogenous protein structures like muscle and conjunctive tissue, enzymes or hormones. In addition, burning protein in the body requires more oxygen than burning fat. A diet rich in protein boosts your metabolism, facilitates fat burning and regulates your appetite.
Protein & Weight Cycling
Many of us have already experienced weight cycling at some point. At first we shed pound after pound, but as soon as the diet is over, the belly is back and maybe even bigger than before. Here’s why: diets lower the basal metabolic rate. Since the organism receives significantly less calories, it works in emergency mode. If you eat enough protein when trying to lose weight, you can attenuate the reduction of your resting metabolic rate, thereby reducing the consequences that lead to weight cycling.
6 Valuable Tips on Ideal Protein Consumption
- It’s all about the mix! Combine protein with other foods to make it easier for your body to benefit from it. Potatoes and eggs, beans and corn (as a salad or in chili con carne), or dairy products and cereals (like pancakes or semolina porridge) are great options.
- Opt for high-quality protein. Your body relies on your intake of so-called essential amino acids, as it can’t produce them itself. Eggs, quinoa, and chia seeds contain all eight of these essential amino acids.
- Monitor your fat intake. The higher the protein content of your food, the more fat it contains, usually. Opt for lean foods rich in protein like light curd, chicken, egg whites, cod, or turkey.
- More is often less. Your body can only absorb a maximum of 25 to 30g protein per meal. Higher amounts can lead to indigestion.
- Stay hydrated! Support your kidneys by drinking at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day – they need it for ammonia excretion.
- A little help with the numbers: …to help you assess how much protein is contained in certain foods, all of the following contain 20g of protein: 100g low-fat mozzarella, 100g turkey breast, 100g lentils, or raw peas.