New Year’s Resolution: Weight Loss with Whey Protein
January 24, 2017
Now that we are several weeks deep into January, things are starting to change. Specifically, we are well beyond the New Year’s Resolution threshold. All of those promises to oneself – which are most commonly about losing weight – have already been made.
Unfortunately, February is quickly approaching – the month in which most people give up on their resolutions. So, how can you protect yourself from falling in this frustrating pattern? The answer might come from a surprising source: whey protein.
But how can whey protein, a supplement normally associated with building muscle, help you with New Year’s Resolution weight loss? In a couple of ways, actually.
It’s kind of a strange idea, but digesting and metabolizing foods burns calories. This effect, called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), influences both how many calories your body burns throughout the day and how many calories it costs you to use that food.
Carbs and fats – which function together as your primary source of fuel – have simple chemical structures. Because of this, your body can break them down easily without wasting a lot of calories. Your body can break down fat, for example, by using only about 3 percent of the calories from that fat. So, once things are done, you’re left with 97 percent of those calories needing to be used up.
If those calories are not used, they will be stored as body fat.
Carbs are slightly more challenging for your body to use, losing about 10 percent of its energy in the process.
Protein, however, is much more complex than both of those other nutrients. Because of this complicated structure, your body loses about 30 percent of protein’s energy just in digesting it. That means that, if you eat 100 calories worth of protein, you’re only left with 70 usable calories.
Over the course of a day, then, a high-protein diet can greatly increase the amount of calories that you burn.
Improved Body Composition
The above-mentioned metabolic boost, though, is only short term. To really increase your metabolism, you’re going to need to change the actual structure of your body.
While fat is largely inactive tissue that contributes very little to your metabolism, your muscles are extremely busy all day, every day. In fact, each pound of muscle that you carry will burn about 10 extra calories each day.
Granted, that doesn’t sound like much, but consider that each pound of fat only burns about 3 calories. Trading in fat for muscle, then, can give you a great little boost.
But, how does whey protein help with that? Your muscles – like most tissues in your body – are essentially made of protein. By combining adequate protein intake with regular exercise, you stimulate muscle growth. Ultimately, this increase in muscle fibers will steadily speed up your metabolism and help you keep weight off.
Interestingly, a high-protein diet can actually increase levels of your fullness hormones to the point that you feel satisfied with less food. One study found that people who followed a high-protein diet ate less calories automatically, even though they were given the opportunity to eat as much as they wanted.
By helping to curb your appetite and food cravings, whey protein can help you stick to your New Year’s weight loss resolution.