The moment something new catches on in the wellness world, lots of people have a habit of overdoing it. Why?
Because we all have respect for and prioritize our health. For example, chlorophyll water or when Hilary Duff mentioned she starts each morning with a shot of apple cider vinegar.
All these may sound silly, but I’m not sure it’s any crazier than the massive jars of protein powder you might find taking over countertops. The main difference is that protein has long been a popular weight loss-related nutrient, but there’s more to the magic than simply driving up your intake.
Thankfully, we have done our part by researching and answer some of our most burning questions about this macronutrient.
The Big Lie About Protein — has more to do with what we tell ourselves about protein than any deception on behalf of the macronutrient.
Can protein actually help you lose weight?
Yes — as long as you’re choosing protein-rich foods and not simply adding protein (and calories) to your daily diet. This should be fairly easy.
Proteins—which are better than their fellow macronutrients (fat and carbohydrates) at signaling to our brains that we’re full—help prevent overeating. Plus, our bodies actually burn calories breaking down proteins, so your metabolism gets a nice little boost in the process.
Is it possible to go overboard with protein?
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight. For a 140-pound person, that means about 50 grams of protein each day.
When honing in on protein-rich foods, it’s best to consider the whole package. Tofu, fatty fish, or plant-based proteins like beans, nuts, and soy come with far less saturated fat (which can lead to inflammation) than beef or pork. Of course, it’s best to consult a doctor if you’re looking to really drive up your intake, particularly because some people, such as those with advanced diabetes or kidney issues, should be careful not to eat too much.
What role does protein play in getting fit?
Simply adding more protein to your diet and calling it a day won’t deliver the weight loss you’re looking for. It is recommended to combine a high-protein diet with weight training to help retain muscle mass as you shed pounds.
As with any diet, it’s important to settle on something you’ll stick with, to the point where it no longer really feels like a diet at all.
Find proteins that come in a healthy “package” you love, whether that’s chicken, salmon, or even lentils, and master the art of making it taste fantastic. Hitting your daily protein goal should be a happy lifestyle choice, not a forever chore.
Stay safe, healthy, and live life to the fullest.