How Much Protein Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
Your weight loss journey is a mosaic of activities and regimens you must regularly follow to achieve the end goal. Since not all diet plans will suit everyone, finding your body one is comfortable with is necessary.
Decades of research on the human diet have revealed a few takeaways that have proven beneficial: exercise, a calorie-balanced eating regimen, and dietary protein.
Protein intake is one essential component of a diet plan, and being mindful of how much you have it is preferred.
When you visit a grocery store, you might have seen how protein is now a part of many diet foods.
This might make you assume that consuming more protein is better, but that is not necessarily true. Only a certain amount is desirable when you’re on a weight loss journey.
What Is Protein?
Proteins are practically the building blocks of your body. Made up of amino acids, they help make up healthy cells, treat tissues, form enzymes, and balance fluid in the body system. For a nutrient this important for your body's recovery, routine and managed intake is necessary.
You would have also noticed how bodybuilders and athletes tend to gulp excess proteins to increase their mass. You see, their different intake results in the bulked-up bodies they have. For you to lose weight, a balanced amount is required.
When you hear meat or fish, you instantly think of the protein nutrient. However, consuming only meat and fish isn't ideal, and other food items that provide high protein are essential. Legumes and vegetables are excellent examples.
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
It is clinically suggested that an adult should take about 0.8 grams of protein per 1kg. So, this would make around 56 grams for an individual who weighs 70kgs.
If this is a little difficult for you, the US Dietary Guidelines have laid out an easy way of calculating. They suggest your protein intake should be 10%-35% of your daily calorie count.
So, if you’re on a 2000-calorie diet, you can take a maximum of 175 grams of protein daily. This is a rather generous range given the limit we discussed before. But, you must note that 0.8 grams per 1kg are the minimum protein you must take regularly.
It is the minimum you should consume because it is not enough to maintain body mass in active adults while also performing its functions.
Take a body composition test to find out exactly how much protein you should consume as per your lean mass.
Managing Carbs Alone Won’t Be Enough
Carbohydrates and their inclusion in a diet plan are often the centers of attention. It has been given more contemplation from a nutritional perspective, hence, the widespread advent of keto and warrior diets.
This seems to have influenced people into believing that carbs are the cause of weight gain and thus must be reduced or eliminated. The truth is that cutting down on carbs alone wouldn’t be sufficient to lose weight.
Carbs have become a key component of many calorie-rich food items as well. Examples include pastries, ice cream, bread, and soda. The latter is to be strictly eliminated for losing weight, and so, the same is associated with carbohydrates.
On the flip side, consuming foods naturally rich in carbohydrates is ideal for weight loss, including fruits and vegetables and whole grains. But again, a balanced diet with proteins and healthy carbs is required for weight loss.
Other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals must also be present in low amounts. What you should focus on is that nothing is being consumed in excess.
What Does Protein Do For Weight Loss?
While it is true that protein intake management alone won’t do wonders for your weight loss, it is true how it can impact the journey. So, taking care of it will do you good while also taking care of your entire eating routine.
It is suggested that your protein intake should be sufficient because protein is a thermogenic macro, is believed to be satiating, protects lean mass, and is difficult to store as fat.
- Protein As A Thermogenic Macro
Since metabolism requires energy to function effectively, it has been discovered that proteins help slightly increase the speed at which the process occurs compared to fats and carbs. Hence, an overall increase in protein intake will escalate how your food is digested, and energy is consumed.
This thermogenic macro affects how your body responds to the food you eat, and, as we know it, it is suitable for weight loss.
- Protein Satiates Hunger
Of course, if you’re cutting down on meals and eating healthy, you tend to feel hungry quite early. Your body burns the low-calorie intake quickly hence the effect. But did you know you could keep hunger at bay while eating a specific diet that also contributes to weight loss? Protein! Protein is the game-changer.
Eating high protein food leads to longer gaps between meals because you stay full for longer.
Eating protein-rich foods can satiate your hunger if you're on a diet. It was discovered in a study how consuming 30% protein calories helped people intake 450 fewer calories daily, consequently leading to a loss of 12 pounds in 3 months.
- Protein Preserves Lean Mass
Your body goes through significant changes when on a weight loss journey, and it adapts to the new routines you’re developing, and of course, your body responds to it. When you start dieting, you tend to lose fat and muscle weight, while the goal is only to lose the former.
If you have a good body mass percentage, your body composition is healthy. It makes you look sleek and intelligent, keeping you fit as a fiddle. Protein helps build mass and doesn’t contribute to fat, and this means with this nutrient. You’re in good hands.
- No Fat Storage
Carbohydrates and fats are highly efficient when it comes to being stored in the body as fat when excess amounts are consumed; 80% and 96%, respectively. Proteins are easily digestible and contribute to more energy in your body.
Even if you consume extra proteins, it will only serve as good fat and is at least better than how carbs and fats treat your body.
Proteins During Pregnancy
Of course, more of everything is required by a woman when she’s expecting. And, as we’ve stated the benefits of proteins already, it is needed for tissue development and the growth of a whole new individual.
It is suggested that women take about 1.2-1.52 grams per 1kg of protein during this time.
Eating foods rich in providing energy and building mass is essential in pregnancy. Some high protein foods suggested to women include eggs, dairy products, beans, lentils, etc.
A Protein-Rich Regimen
Now that you are aware of the amount of protein you must consume, you’re only halfway there. The next step is to design your eating plan accordingly. Mind you, this is where things often get challenging, and the extensive food choices available to us aren’t exactly easy to work with.
You can start by identifying the best protein sources available to you and the ones you enjoy eating. Scour your nearby supermarket and see what you can get your hands on.
Protein isn’t necessarily limited to meat or dairy; it is also richly found in beans, lentils, etc. You can also easily purchase vegan protein sources if you’re particular about it.
- High Protein Foods
If a food item gives you 10% of the protein allowed in your daily consumption, it is a good source, and if it gives you 20% of it, it is seen as an excellent product to consume. So, 10 grams of protein per serving in an item can easily claim to be high-protein food.
However, it would help if you did not mistake it for fat-filled calories. A single serving of peanut butter, for example, is often regarded as a good source of protein, except it gives you more fat than protein.
So, if it's providing you with 7 grams of protein (17%), it is dumping 76% of fatty calories in you as well. This is precisely why setting a plan with confusing food items like these is arduous.
If you’re also physically active and plan on exercising to expedite the weight loss process, you will need to consume more protein. For example, as an athlete, your protein intake will be considerably higher than any normal adult's.
If you’re having difficulty eating whole foods alone, you can also opt for protein-fortified supplements. It is easy and breezy!
You can hit your goals without designing a balanced meal every time without the unnecessary hassle. However, please DO NOT make it your only source of food intake. Eating proper meals is still essential and must be done regularly.
Supplements should only act as supplementary!
Protein bars shakes, and other to-go options are readily available. Again, there is a wide variety of them to choose from, so we’re confident you will find one that will become your go-to choice.
Protein bars, powders, and shakes are available in diverse flavors. Eat them unaccompanied, mix them in any dish, or drink them to meet your protein needs. Mix protein powder in your breakfast oats, et voila! You have taken your first dose. It's that easy, you see.
Vegan Options Are Plenty As Well
As a vegan, eating options might often feel limited to you. Consequently, your body reacts when it doesn’t receive what it desires.
Since the traditional ways of extracting protein from meat and fish are off the charts for vegans, there are a few ways plants can fulfill this need. Well, not up to the same macro level, but it does the job pretty well.
Plant-based proteins tend to be slightly tricky to navigate because they also contribute to carbs and fats. Your best bet is to pick items from reliable vegan food manufacturers in such a situation.
Read the nutrient composition table on the packaging and make your choice. Of course, opt for protein-rich foods but again, select the one that provides you with the most fulfillment.
Additionally, meat substitutes are flooding the market now. They provide higher protein nourishment than plants and are suitable for a high protein regimen.
Ideal Vegan Sources Of Protein
Since vegan foods are largely manufactured, chances are they will not suit everyone. Cases of the said items triggering allergies and food intolerances have been heard. Nonetheless, we’re lucky to be living in the modern age.
With every passing day, food manufacturers come up with a product that suits more people than before. For example, foods made with wheat before are also available with lentil-based ingredients.
Your best bet at finding a vegan source of protein is if you stay mindful of the following.
- Your food item should provide you with at least 25% of protein.
- It should also fulfill your vitamin, mineral, and fiber requirement.
- It should be within your protein intake goals.
- Finally, it should taste good, and you shouldn’t feel avoidant when you have to eat it. After all, it will only show positive effects if your mind and heart accept it.
The Bottom Line!
All in all, you can see how protein is the jack of all trades. Do you want to lose weight, gain it, or maintain it? Create a protein-filled regimen for everything.
After losing weight, your goal is to maintain it, and it becomes more about sustainable living then. So, the diet plan you set at this time will dictate how your body will respond to it later when you’re performing your daily activities. Thus, be mindful of how much of what you’re consuming! But if they’re proteins, a little extra would do you good!