Protein for Weight Loss - Fact or Fiction?

The search for the best (and probably the fastest) way to lose weight continues. Scientists are constantly finding ways to aid obese individuals lose weight. Some studies claim that intake of huge amounts of protein can help promote weight loss. But, how effective is it? The question still remains and studies are still inconclusive.

Finding the cure

Obesity is a sickness that can strike anyone at any age. If left untreated, obesity can lead to serious complications like diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure. According to reports, Americans are supposedly spending billions every year just to find the right product or method for losing weight. At the same time, however, billions are also being spent on fraudulent and ineffective weight loss products.

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Dieting is one the known effective "cures" to obesity. However, at present, some researches have claimed that intake of protein for weight loss is effective. In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology, people eating a high protein diet actually burns fat more than those consuming protein equal to the RDA.

In the study, an experiment was conducted wherein one group was fed a high protein diet while the second group consumed a protein diet near equal to that of the RDA. Results show that the first group burned more fat than the 2nd group.

The report also claims that spreading your daily caloric intake over 6 meals a day, eating every 2 to 3 hours, helps to take advantage of the increased metabolic rate that accompanies eating.
Simply put, the the more often you eat, the higher your metabolic rate. By adding more protein to each meal, you also increase your metabolism. Your body requires more energy to process protein than it does to digest carbohydrates.

As a result, protein for weight loss is now being promoted.

A pleasant surprise?

With that report, quite a few eyebrows were raised. First of all, the claim that eating more will help you lose weight may seem preposterous for some. After all, people have sacrificed and suffered just to abstain from eating. To say that eating more can make you thin is like a dagger in the heart. All those years of dieting may seem to have flown away. But make no mistake, protein for weight loss is the one being promoted. This means that eating more protein will help you lose weight. Other nutrients like sugar and carbohydrates can work the other way around.

More protein, less carbs

Protein for weight loss entails decreasing your intake of carbohydrates. By following a high protein, low carbs diet, you can actually lower your blood pressure and relieve you from diseases such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, and heart disease.

Adopting a protein for weight loss diet entails letting go of high carb foods like sugar, white rice, white bread and crackers. Replace them with high protein foods like fiber-rich whole fruits, vegetables, brown rice, and products made from whole wheat flour.

Possible dangers

A protein for weight loss diet might seem too good to be true. However, it can have problems.
First off, eliminating or reducing other nutrients in your diet can take its toll on the body. Of course, your digestive track is well equipped to handle different nutrients. If you purely concentrate on protein intake, you may lose the ability to digest these other nutrients properly. Hence, you might have to intake dietary aids.

Also, while protein for weight loss diets may work, it does not work in the long term. A high protein diet falls under the category of fad diets. This program is fad in the sense that it does not promote long term weight loss. Because a protein for weight loss diet is usually DIY, it takes a sense of responsibility and determination when doing this. Over time, however, the effect may no longer work.

Protein shakes: how effective are they?

A proposed alternative to high protein diets is the intake of protein shakes.
Makers of protein shakes claim that their products increase fat or weight loss. But there is no evidence that this is true. Most protein shake mixes and some pre-made shakes get their protein from soy. Others may use a dairy or egg base. Although protein shakes generally aren't harmful, you shouldn't expect them to take the weight off for you.

Effective and healthy weight loss

In the end, the most effective way to lose weight is by controlling your calorie intake and increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity. So you have already made two very positive changes.

The average adult needs 45 to 60 grams of protein a day. As long as you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, adding extra protein -- such as in the form of protein shakes -- isn't necessary. Also, protein contains calories. So consuming too much extra protein can actually make losing weight more difficult.

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