Do Protein Supplements Actually Help With Weight Loss?
In a time where everyone is looking to cut an extra 5 pounds by any means necessary, you may have heard of friends or family claiming that protein shakes can help.
To some extent this is true – protein can help you lose weight… but it is not that simple.
In this guide, we will break down why protein seems to help aid in weight loss and what steps you can take to ensure you are leading the safest and most sustainable method for weight loss.
Before we get into how protein can help with weight loss it is important to have a very basic understanding of what it is.
The first thing to understand is that protein is not “meat”. Protein is a macronutrient that provides a moderate number of calories in your diet.
Protein can be sourced from a variety of foods including meat, fish, legumes, leafy greens, whole grains and nuts/seeds.
Plainly put – most food contains protein.
We know that protein is a Macronutrient but what else makes it unique?
Protein is a building block macronutrient. Think of it as the mortar between bricks in your house. It helps repair tissue, can provide strength and bone density, while also serving to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
Long story short – it’s important for your body… but how does it help aid in weight loss?
Protein & Weight Loss
To help you understand why protein supplements can help with weight loss we have broken this down into five important sections.
1. Low Calorie
Protein by nature is relatively low in calories – especially if you are eating low-fat meats like chicken, turkey or legumes. Protein supplements are even lower in calories which when substituted for a meal helps to lower your total intake of calories.
2. Can Suppress Appetite
Protein is high on what’s called the satiety index. Foods that help you to feel full are high on the satiety index and can aid in weight loss by reducing the total amount of calories you consume in a day.
3. Cannot Be Stored
Protein, unlike carbohydrates (stored as muscle and liver glycogen), and fats (stored as adipose tissue) cannot be stored by the body. Rather than being stored in the body, the excess protein that is not being utilized to repair tissue or support hormone function is simply excreted as waste.
REMINDER: Although protein has a lower storage capacity than other macronutrients, excess intake of calories can still lead to weight gain. Be smart about your consumption of protein and try to consume low-calorie options like lean meats, legumes and leafy greens.
4. Supports Healthy Immunity
Protein consumption has been linked to healthier immune systems which can contribute to a more balanced body.
Having a healthy immune system does not necessarily correlate to weight loss, but being in balance means you can train harder more frequently which will also help you to successfully gain muscle mass and lose excess fat in the body.
5. The Placebo Effect
The last point to consider is one that many people do not consider. Generally speaking those that supplement with protein do so because they start working out.
The question then arises – is the weight loss experienced by new exercisers the result of the new exercise routine or the supplement?
I’d wager it’s the exercise – but either way, getting involved in physical activity is never a bad idea.
There is a lot of information around the area of protein supplementation but the important things to keep in mind are:
- Low in calories
- Good for suppressing appetite
- Is not stored in the body
Not sure what protein shake would be best for you?
5 Things to Look For In A Protein Shake
- 20-25g of Protein/serving
- The least amount of fillers possible
- Isolate is Best
If you’re going for a “whey” protein source try to get an isolate as it contains the optimal range of protein per serving.
- Pea + Hemp for Plant-Based Protein Sources
The combination of pea and hemp protein provides the optimal ranges of branched-chain amino acids (the building blocks of protein).
- Low in Calories
Relatively speaking – most protein powders will have about 150-200 calories per serving. This is your baseline range and can be used with other foods as a meal substitute.
Yes, protein supplements can help you lose weight – but it’s not magic..
Protein supplements are low in calories, can help you to feel full and assist you in protein consumption if you are deficient.
Supplementing with a protein shake can be a useful method when trying to lose weight.
Do you still have questions about how protein can help aid in weight loss? Drop a comment below or shoot us an email using our contact page.