How Much Protein Should I Eat To Lose Weight? Here’s The Answer In 2023
If you are figuring out how to lose weight, you might wonder how much protein you should eat.
Decades of research show that protein is essential for a weight loss diet. It is also crucial in promoting overall health by strengthening your bones, muscles, and the skin. However, finding out how much protein you should consume to burn fat can be confusing. How much protein should I eat to lose weight? How many grams of protein per day to lose weight?
This article explores the link between protein and weight loss. It cuts through the noise surrounding the topic and offers dietitian-approved tips to help you make informed choices when planning your diet. Continue reading to find out how much protein you should eat daily.
How Much Protein Should I Eat To Lose Weight?
It depends. A high protein intake of 30% of your daily calories — or 1-1.2 grams per kilogram of your ideal body weight daily — is recommended to support weight loss. Proteins are crucial to weight loss because they promote satiety, decrease fat mass, and boost metabolism.According to current dietary guidelines, the minimum protein required to avoid deficiency is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. The amount of protein needed to support healthy weight loss depends on various factors such as body type, physical activity level, and daily calorie intake.
How Much Protein Do I Need Per Day To Lose Weight?
How much protein per day is needed to lose weight?
Evidence suggests consuming 1–1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of your ideal body weight to support healthy weight loss. However, if you are physically active, you should consume 1.2–2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
If you want to lose body fat, you should simultaneously reduce your daily calorie intake. Being in a calorie deficit — burning more calories than you are consuming — is the most important factor for weight loss. Protein provides 4 calories per gram, while fat provides 9 calories per gram. So replacing some high-fat foods with higher protein foods can also help you reduce your daily calorie intake.
If you do resistance training or have a high muscle mass, you will need even more protein to aid body fat loss while preventing muscle wastage. Some sources recommend consuming up to 3.1 grams per kilogram of body weight to avoid losing muscle mass during a calorie deficit.
What Is Protein?
Proteins are large molecules the body requires — also called a macronutrient — to grow and repair cells. Protein molecules comprise basic units called amino acids, which are joined together in long chains. There are 20 different amino acids, of which nine are essential — meaning the body cannot make them and must be consumed via the diet.
Amino acids are classified as either non-essential or essential amino acids. The body can produce non-essential amino acids itself, whereas it cannot produce essential amino acids.
The latter must be provided through the diet.
A sedentary adult’s recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds, or 65 kilograms, should consume around 55 grams of protein daily. However, an individual’s protein requirements will vary depending on various factors such as age, weight, gender, physical activity level, and health.
How Does Protein Help With Weight Loss?
Eating high protein diets benefits weight loss and health in several ways. Here’s how proteins help with weight loss and maintenance:
Keep You Feeling Full For Longer
A higher protein intake than the recommended 0.8 grams per kilogram body weight daily dietary value can help with weight loss — as long as it does not result in excess calories.
According to research, proteins are better at triggering satiety signals than other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and fats. Studies show that high-protein diets can result in a significantly lower daily calorie intake. The reason is that proteins take longer to digest, which, in turn, minimizes blood sugar spikes and helps you feel for longer. High protein diets are also linked to lower hunger hormone levels.
Feeling full and satisfied between meals helps reduce frequent snacking and excess energy intake, leading to successful weight loss.
Preserve Lean Muscle Mass
When you burn calories and lose weight, you may lose muscle mass instead of fat. Amino acids in protein are critical players in building muscle mass and preserving lean body mass during a weight-loss diet. So, how much protein do you need to prevent muscle loss while losing weight?
Increasing protein intake over the daily recommended allowance can help reduce harmful fats in your body and preserve lean muscle mass. You might need up to 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to avoid losing muscle mass during a calorie deficit.
Increases Energy Expenditure
Compared to fat tissue, lean muscle is metabolically active. So, the higher your muscle-to-fat mass ratio, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. Hence eating more protein can increase your metabolism, aiding weight loss.
Digesting protein requires more energy than fats and carbohydrates. As a result, the thermic effect occurs. So, eating more protein means you’ll burn more calories — just by eating. Although this strategy only boosts a slight metabolism, it still contributes to a healthy weight-loss diet.
Regulates Fullness And Hunger Hormones
Amino acids are important as precursors to build appetite-regulating hormones. This is especially true for the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which trigger the body’s cues for hunger and fullness, respectively.
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins are the best at triggering the fullness hormones. Hence, eating more protein helps you feel full for longer, reducing calorie intake and aiding weight loss.
Healthy Sources Of Protein For Weight Loss
Protein sources are categorized into complete and incomplete protein sources. Complete whole protein sources contain all the nine essential amino acids, while incomplete protein sources only contain some essential amino acids.
For the most part, plant protein is incomplete, while animal protein is complete. You can eat a variety of incomplete proteins throughout the day to obtain all your essential amino acids.
Recommended sources of protein for weight loss include:
- Grains, nuts, and seeds such as almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nut butter.
- Low-fat dairy, including cheese, milk, and Greek yogurt.
- Lean meats such as lean beef, turkey, chicken, or pork.
- Eggs or egg whites.
- Seafood and fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
- Legumes include black beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, green peas, and more.
- Plant-based or animal-based protein powder.
You can choose from many protein sources for weight loss. Aiming for a balanced diet with a variety of protein sources alongside physical exercises will maximize your weight loss efforts.
How To Eat More Protein
So, how can you incorporate more protein in your diet? Here are several easy ways to increase your daily protein dose:
- Protein powders are a great way to meet your daily allowance. Consider adding protein powder to smoothies or drinking protein shakes.
- Use high-protein condiments such as peanut butter, hummus, or tahini.
- Incorporate protein, such as oatmeal, eggs, Greek yogurt, or protein powder pancakes, in your breakfast.
- Buy ready-to-eat fish products, such as smoked salmon or tinned fish, that you can easily add to sandwiches or salads.
- Buy or make high-protein snacks such as protein bars, roasted chickpeas, or turkey sticks.
- Flavor your coffee or tea with collagen powder.
- Make salad dressings using high-protein ingredients such as chia seeds, mini shrimp, and egg yolk, among many other options.
- Incorporate seeds and nuts into plant-based recipes.
- Use bone broth instead of water to cook grains like quinoa and rice.
- Eat more whole grains such as millet, wild rice, buckwheat, and more.
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Tips To Maintain The Weight You Lose
Now that you’ve learned how much protein to eat to lose weight, let’s get to the tips for managing your weight.
Indeed, consuming adequate proteins daily as part of a balanced diet is just one phase of your weight management plan. The rest entails sticking to diet changes, incorporating physical workouts, and avoiding falling back into unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Other strategies to help you maintain weight loss include:
- Proper hydration.
- Weight training.
- Adequate rest and sleep.
- Using a protein calculator to track the proteins you consume.
- Consuming enough fruits and vegetables.
- Regularly weigh yourself.
- Regular exercise.
- Stress management.
Consuming enough protein for your body weight and physical activity level is essential for muscle growth, satiety, weight loss, and more. However, it is vital to remember that factors such as muscle mass, age, activity level, and overall health affect protein requirements in different individuals.
If you are still determining how much protein to lose weight, consult a registered dietitian for professional assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
First, convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2. Next, multiply your weight in kg by the protein range for your activity level to determine your daily protein requirement range in grams.
Most people should aim for 1.2–2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight to help with belly fat loss. You might need up to 3.1 grams per kg body weight if you do resistance training and follow a hypocaloric diet.
Lean protein sources such as fish, eggs, and low-fat milk products are best if you want to lose fat. Whey protein supplements can help increase satiety and weight loss while preserving muscle.
If you don’t exercise much, aim for 1–1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of your ideal body weight. If you are physically active, aim for 1.2–2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
Most people should aim to consume between 1.2 and 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight to lose weight, depending on the frequency and type of exercise they do.
Aim to consume between 1.2 and 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight to lose weight, depending on your frequency and type of exercise.
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