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How can Protein Support Weight Loss?

Whether you have specific body composition goals, health goals, or no goals in particular, your body still needs protein to function. Often there's a stigma around only needing protein if you are a bodybuilder or work out regularly, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Keep reading to find out why...


So, what is protein?

As a vital part of a healthy diet, to put it simply, protein is a macronutrient consisting of amino acids, which are chemical building blocks. In total, about 20 amino acids link together to form different combinations, which are used throughout the body to make new proteins, e.g., muscle tissue and bones, and hormones and enzymes. So, to enable your body to nourish itself and function effectively, a healthy diet consisting of adequate protein is a must. 


Benefits of protein

With the primary role of creating and maintaining cells in our bodies, it's easy to see why protein is imperative for optimal health. Take a look below at the key benefits of protein intake when maintaining a healthy and well-functioning body:

  1. Hair & Skin - Hair and skin are mostly made up of protein. So, to ensure cell regeneration, elasticity, and strength, a diet abundant in quality protein is needed.
  2. Bone & Muscle - Bone and muscle health relies heavily on protein to build, strengthen, protect, and repair tissue, along with ligaments, joints, tendons, and other connective tissue.
  3. Nutrient Delivery - Red blood cells carry a protein compound that transports oxygen throughout the body to ensure adequate nutrients are being delivered for optimal body functioning.
  4. Hormone Regulation - Hormone regulation, mainly through the development and transformation of cells during puberty, requires sufficient protein to support the body during this period of rapid change. 
  5. Digestive Health - Digestion utilises approximately half of the protein consumed each day to support making new enzymes, cells, body chemicals, and aiding with the digestion of food.

How can protein support weight loss?

So we've learned that protein is essential to our overall functioning, but how can it aid with body goals like weight loss? Metabolism-boosting, hunger-reducing, and energy-fuelling, when it comes to weight loss, protein plays a significant role in your progress when consumed in conjunction with a balanced calorie deficit diet and exercise. Here's how:

1. Consuming a diet high in protein when striving towards weight loss goals can reduce the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating appetite. When protein is increased, satiety is boosted, leading to a significant reduction in hunger, ultimately consuming fewer calories than a diet lower in protein. Fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs via adequate protein intake has been shown to increase the rate at which your body metabolises food, enabling your body to increase the number of calories it burns throughout the day and during rest.

2. A common reason many don't reach their weight goals is because of those dreaded late-night cravings. We all experience intense cravings from time to time, generally for foods or treats that don't necessarily align with our health goals. Not only do they increase our daily caloric intake, but they also significantly affect our moods and delay progress, even if you are putting in quality hours at the gym. So, how can protein help curb these goal-distracting cravings? Protein helps you feel fuller for longer as it takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, with research indicating the more protein you consume, the longer you experience those satiating effects. The amino acids in protein also help produce the feel-good hormone dopamine when protein is consumed in higher amounts, resulting in better moods and higher energy. The fuller and better you feel, the less likely you will feel the need to reach for a sugary treat!

3. Ideally, 'fat loss' is the intended goal (both visceral fat from around the organs and subcutaneous fat under the skin); however, often, when trying to lose weight, muscle loss is an unfortunate side effect, especially if your calorie deficit is too low. Maintaining a high-protein intake during your weight loss journey may help preserve lean muscle mass, which will support a healthy metabolic rate when combined with regular strength training. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories your body will naturally burn.

4. Suppose your weight loss journey has you committing to regular strength or high-intensity interval training sessions. In that case, you'll want to make sure you consume enough protein to enhance your recovery and deliver nutrients to repair and build muscles efficiently. Nurturing your body through its recovery is just as important as any other element of your weight loss journey. Injury, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs), and poor nutrient recovery may hinder your progress and slow down your weight goal results when your diet does not align with your training. Utilising protein powder for post-workout recovery is convenient to support your protein intake while simultaneously delivering recovery-promoting nutrients to your muscles without compromising your calorie intake.


How much protein do I need?

Protein intake is personal to you, your goals, and your lifestyle! What is recommended for you may be entirely different for a family member or friend on a similar weight loss journey. Check out our protein intake blog for more information about optimal daily protein recommendations, or have a chat with your nutritionist or GP.


How can I get more protein in my diet?

The fantastic thing about protein is that it is already a common macronutrient found in various foods. Depending on your lifestyle and preferences, you'll find quality protein in lean meats, dairy, some grains, and a range of different protein powders from slow and fast-absorbing whey protein and plant-sourced protein powders. Check out our list below of commonly known high-protein foods!

Animal Protein Sources

Plant-Based Protein Sources

Seafood - Salmon, Cod, Tuna, Sardines

Lentils & Legumes - Chickpeas, Edamame, Black Beans, Kidney Beans

Lean White Meat - Chicken, Pork, Turkey

Nuts - Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Pine nuts, Peanuts

Lean Red Meat - Steak, Ground Beef, Kangaroo

Seeds - Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Sunflower Seeds

Dairy - Cheese, Milk, Greek Yoghurt, Eggs

Grains - Quinoa, Brown Rice, Whole Wheat

Whey Protein Powder

Vegan Protein Powder


When it comes to weight loss goals and protein, as you can see, less is NOT more! A common misconception often resulting in unmet goals, frustration, and confusion about why you aren't succeeding in your weight loss journey. For more information about choosing a suitable protein for your weight goals, click here to view our variety of high-quality grass-fed and vegan-friendly protein powders.

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