When it comes to weight loss, it’s important to focus more on WHAT is being lost rather than the number on the scale. Unfortunately, too many people trying to lose weight become obsessed with their actual weight and completely negate whether this weight loss is due to a loss in muscle or fat mass.
To maintain an optimal body composition during weight loss, it is key to increase your protein intake to preserve muscle mass and allow the loss of fat mass to be the main contributor to the weight lost. The last thing you want is to lose weight from muscle!
So you may ask yourself why the increase in protein? Well for starters, protein helps maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis, or the formation of new protein in the muscle (and other parts in the body including bone). By increasing your protein intake, you'll increase the rate and quantity of protein formation, hence preserving, or better yet, increasing muscle mass. During a calorie restricted diet for weight loss, this will help maintain muscle mass and allow more weight to be lost from fat rather than muscle.
At the same time, protein has a higher thermogenic effect compared with carbohydrates and fats- which means the body burns more calories to digest protein. By eating protein, you’ll increase your calorie burn during the day simply through digestion…easy!
Another reason to increase protein consumption during weight loss is due to protein's satiety effects. Along with fruits and vegetables which are rich in fiber and help you feel full quicker, protein increases satiety as well. So, if you increase the protein content within each meal, not only will you feel quicker within that given meal (and eat less), but you'll also feel full for a longer period of time, thus snacking less throughout the day and making better food choices.
In combination, these factors will definitely help you lose weight in a healthy manner, which means losing more weight from fat rather than muscle and making sure you don't regain the weight in a quick span of time. Faster weight loss typically stems from more muscle being lost than fat. By increasing your protein intake, you'll smartly tackle weight loss while allowing you to still feel healthy and strong!
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