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High-Protein Diet and Weight Loss

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

High-protein diets are now one of the most popular diets for weight loss*. This is because they are really effective and bring considerable results. Researchers suggest that this is because diets high in protein help control food intake and prevent food cravings aside from increasing* the metabolism. According to experts, more research is required to substantiate the recommendation to increase* protein intake for weight loss*. On the other hand, there are already several studies showing the benefits of high protein intake for weight loss*.

What Studies Say About High Protein Diets?

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involved people who were put on a diet in which protein made up 30% of calories, carbs made up 50% of calories and fat was reduced* to 20% of calories. People on the diet reported that they were less hungry, more satisfied and lost weight. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition combined a diet high in protein with regular exercise. The participants experienced considerable weight loss* and their blood lipid levels also improved*.

What Is a High Protein Diet?

The term “high protein diet” pertains to a diet involving the intake of 50% or more calories from protein. The rest of the calories come from carbohydrates and fat. This kind of diet is not harmful for most healthy people. However, the risks of high-protein diets for the long term are still being studied. Some high-protein diets restrict the intake of carbohydrates so much that nutritional deficiencies may occur. Also, a diet high in protein is not recommended for people who have kidney disease.

The Power of Protein


There are many reasons why a high-protein diet is the best weight loss* diet. The moment you swallow protein, it already starts to help you lose* weight. It is more difficult to digest high-protein food which means that the body will be burning more calories for digestion. It also takes a much longer time to leave the stomach. This means that you will feel full faster and for a longer amount of time. This will help you limit food intake which is great for weight loss*.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

According to experts, you should be consuming around 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. That means about 80 to 160 grams of protein daily for someone who weighs 160 pounds. If you are more active, you should be tilting on the high end. On the other hand if weight loss* is your goal you should be tilting on the lower end. For serious bodybuilders and athletes, the consumption of protein can go up to 2 grams for every pound of body weight.

Experts recommend taking around 30 grams during breakfast to restore protein stores and prevent loss of muscle tissue. This will also help prevent food cravings that can devastate your weight loss* diet. Some studies found that eating a breakfast high in protein can be beneficial when it comes to weight loss*.

How Protein Increases* Metabolism?

There are two ways that protein increases* the metabolism. The first way is by increasing* muscle mass. Of course, you need weight training to gain muscle. Protein is very important when it comes to repairing and building muscles. This is why athletes and bodybuilders need to consume more protein. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day. For every extra pound of muscle, you can burn up to 50 additional calories just to maintain itself. Again, protein requires extra energy to digest and metabolize. The body burns twice as many calories when digesting protein compared to fat or carbohydrates.

Best Protein Sources

The best sources of protein for weight loss* are those that contain very little fat. If it contains a high amount of fat, it should be the good kind which is monounsaturated fats. The best protein sources are skinless white chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna and lean beef. You can also get your protein from nuts, low-fat dairy products and pork tenderloin. For a quick high-protein snack, you can try protein bars or shakes.