When most people think about weight loss or weight maintenance strategies, the first thing that will usually come to mind is calorie or food group restrictions. At the same time, when people think about eating more protein, people often think about building muscle, which can cause a person’s weight to rise. However, there are a number of misunderstandings about protein consumption that are making it much more challenging for people to maintain a healthy body weight and muscle size.
Boosting protein intake can, in fact, help many people to feel more full from smaller meals, and can also help overweight people to lose weight, and healthy people to maintain their weight while they build lean, fat-burning muscle. This is according to the results of an important new research study.
The study involved the participation of 39 adults, who were each assigned a diet that was calorie restricted. Among the participants on calorie restricted diets, there were three different groups. The first consumed the typical recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein, the second ate twice the RDA of protein, and the third ate three times the RDA of protein. They were also required to take part in regular daily exercise.
After continuing with this program for 31 days, the group that was eating twice the RDA of protein was able to achieve the best muscle maintenance as well as the largest reduction of fat mass.
This may suggest that increasing the amount of protein consumption in a day could not only help to maintain muscle while assisting in weight loss, but it could also make it easier for people who have already reached their weight loss goals to be able to maintain their healthy body weights without feeling as though they are continually on a diet that leaves them hungry.
In order to be able to take advantage of this type of strategy, the first step is to know how much protein an individual dieter should be consuming in a day (their personal RDA). For example, the average, healthy woman who is 5 feet and 5 inches tall and who would like to lose weight would need to consume 90 grams of protein per day. This can be easier to achieve than many people realize, and can allow for the consumption of foods that are very filling, to stave off hunger and food cravings. For example, an individual whose breakfast includes a 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt (18 grams of protein), as well as 3 ounces of grilled chicken at lunchtime (27 grams of protein), a piece of cheese as a snack (8 grams of protein), and a 4 ounce salmon fillet for dinner (25 grams of protein) would already have racked up 78 grams of protein without including any of the additional contributions from whole grains and vegetables that should be a part of their meals.