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Studies show that a balanced diet that includes more protein leads to easier weight loss. You can speed up the process even more by consuming low glycemic carbohydrates and good quality fruits and vegetables.
Eating quality protein will also help maintain your muscle mass while you are losing weight.
What Is A High Protein Diet?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) suggest we eat a minimum of 0.8 g/kg body weight, or about 0.36 g/lb. By following this advice, most people are only getting 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein. This means they’re eating a lot of carbohydrates and maybe too much fat as well.
The suggested RDA is a minimum requirement for a typical healthy adult. Growing children, pregnant and lactating women, very active individuals, seniors and people undergoing stress and anyone trying to lose weight all probably need more protein. In these cases, the protein intake should be increased to 1.2 to 1.8 g/kg, or 20 to 25 percent of caloric intake.
Why We Need So Much Protein
Donald Layman, PhD says increased protein intake can benefit patients with osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and obesity. We also need more protein as we age because we lose our ability to utilize protein efficiently.
“If you asked the average consumer who needs more protein, a 16-year-old or a 65-year-old, most people would say the 16-year-old,” says Layman. “In reality, it’s the 65-year-old. They likely need fewer calories, but they need more high-quality, nutrient-dense protein to prevent muscle wasting.”
Another reason you might need more protein is if you are dieting. Even though you are losing weight intentionally, it is a stress on the body, and any stress will increase protein needs.
What Gives Protein The Edge
What gives protein the edge over carbohydrates for weight loss? Satiety; protein has greater satiety than carbohydrates. It makes people feel fuller and more satisfied for a longer period of time. That spells appetite control. And a lower appetite means lower calorie consumption.
The main reason that most diets fail within one year is that people can’t stick to their chosen diet.
On a balanced high-protein diet, you will feel less hungry and have a better chance to stick with the diet.
Best Time To Get Your Protein
It’s very important to eat balanced meals throughout the day. Unfortunately, most people tend to eat almost all of their protein in a single meal: dinner. That makes it pretty hard to get the 120 to 150 grams of protein you need to maintain a balanced diet.
Breakfast is the poorest meal of the day for many people. Most Americans only consume about 10 g of protein at breakfast. That’s why it’s important to have foods like meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt and milk as breakfast foods.
According to Layman, we need at least 30 g of protein in a meal to stimulate muscle building. Building lean muscle mass isn’t the only benefit of high-protein diets; eating this way also preserves lean body mass during weight loss.
A higher protein diet also has a natural diuretic effect. One of the major problems with a high carb diet is just the opposite as your body retains more fluids along with the carbohydrates consumed.
Eating too many carbohydrates puts your willpower in a constant wrestling match because of leptin levels. The rising obesity rates clearly show that leptin is winning this battle. The best way to success is to avoid the battle with leptin by eating fewer carbohydrates.
It’s critically important to choose a diet you can stick with for the long term. Yo-yo dieting increases insulin and leptin resistance and this only compounds your problems over time.
Weight loss that lasts is based on changes you can live with for a long time, not a temporary diet. A balanced diet that incorporates more protein and fewer carbohydrates is easier to follow and stick with long-term.
A balanced diet spells the easy way to be lean and healthy.
 Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, et al. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87(5):1558S-1561S.
 Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, et al. Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2005;135(8):1903-1910.