It’s well known in the fitness industry that eating foods that are high in protein can help you burn fat. Here are 4 ways eating protein will help you build a better looking body, plus 3 action steps to get you started right now.
1. Less hunger and lower calorie intake
High-protein diets are known for their fat-reducing benefits. One reason they work is that eating protein reduces feelings of hunger. When people eat more of it they are quickly satisfied and eat fewer calories. This is because high-protein foods such as chicken are harder for your body to break down than other food types. Protein is digested very slowly so the energy taken from it trickles in to your body at a steady speed. This gives you a constant supply of energy and nutrients for hours after you finish eating a meal and stops your brain from thinking about ice cream.
2. Eat the same amount of food but store less fat
One of the brilliant effects of a high-protein diet is that it regulates the levels of sugar in your body. It does this by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your blood stream. In short, If you eat a source of quality protein such as chicken or salmon with a serving of potatoes, less of the potatoes will be turned into fat in your body.
3. Burn fat without exercising
When we seek to lose weight building a little muscle is important, this is because muscle uses energy from our fat cells to work. We can think of our muscles as small power stations that hold our bodies together and never switch off. Eating protein increases protein synthesis (muscle building) which results in more muscle mass. More muscle means more fat burned by your body every second of the day.
4. Burn fat as you eat
As we mentioned earlier protein-based foods require a lot of energy for the body to digest. The energy used to digest it is called the thermic effect of food. Protein has twice the thermic effect of carb-based foods like bread, so you burn twice as many calories eating it. The energy that is needed to break down the protein comes from the calories that are stored in fat cells in your body. The more protein that you eat, the more energy and fat your body must use up digesting it. You burn fat just be eating protein.
Best sources of protein
Good quality, lean meat such as chicken, turkey and venison
Fish and many other types of seafood including prawns and shrimp
Beans and pulses
Dairy such as milk and Greek yoghurt
Nuts such as walnuts, cashews and brazil nuts
Some green vegetables such as asparagus.
3 Action steps
1. Eat a source of protein with every meal, including breakfast. (TIP: To determine how much protein to eat at each meal use the “Hand method”. Women: 1 x palm sized serving of protein (circumference and thickness of your palm). Men: 2 x palm sized servings.)
2. Eat a source of protein before and after exercise.
3. Eat real, whole sources of protein as apposed to artificial protein shakes and bars (unless exercising intensely or trying to build large amounts of muscle).