Looking for weight loss help? A new study indicates that protein may be one of the keys.The only way to lose a pound of fat is to burn more calories than you take in, right?
You can do that by decreasing your caloric intake or by increasing your level of physical activity.
Practically every study that has ever been done shows that a combination of decreased caloric intake and increased physical activity works best.
But are all calories the same? Are some kinds of physical activity better than others?
The difference in calories has to do with whether they come from fats, carbohydrates or protein.
A carbohydrate calorie, a fat calorie and a protein calorie are exactly the same in terms of the amount of energy they produce when burned in a laboratory setting.
How your body burns those calories though is not the same.
It takes more digestive effort (and more calories) to process some foods than others.
Protein-rich foods are generally more complex and require more calories to digest. Simple carbohydrates like sugar require the least amount of digestive effort.
Another factor is that only protein can be used to build new cells and muscle fibers.
A person who cuts back on protein in an effort to cut back on calories may end up losing muscle mass because the body will break down the muscles to get at the protein stored in them.
In the new study suggesting that protein may provide weight loss help, volunteers consumed exactly the same number of calories.
Half of the volunteers were placed on a high protein diet while the other half were placed on a standard protein diet.
The ones who got more protein lost more total pounds and more body fat.
In the diet that was considered high protein, a 150 pound volunteer would get 85 grams of protein per day. In the standard protein diet, the same person would get 49 grams per day.
People that are working on their weight are sometimes confused by numbers. You might see a “high protein” energy bar and think “oh, I should eat that”.
It is very helpful to consult a dietitian and actually plan what you will eat.
When you follow a structured eating plan you don’t have to make as many decisions on a daily basis and you are less likely to overeat.
A good rule of thumb is to try to get at least a half gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
That’s enough to prevent loss of muscle mass. You might need 1 gram per pound of body weight per day or even more if you are trying to build muscle.
For weight loss help, physical activities that build muscle should be included in your exercise plan.