In order to lose belly fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. It’s a very simple equation:
Increase caloric expenditure = more weight loss and belly fat loss.
How do you accomplish this? By increasing your protein intake.
Not only does protein burn calories JUST BY DIGESTING IT—it builds lean muscle mass, which burn calories all day long.
There is something called the thermic effect of food—or when your body burns calories by digesting foods.
Protein is one of the hardest nutrients for your body to digest, and often increases calorie burn just by digesting protein from your diet.
The result is an increase in your metabolic rate. Even a slight increase in your metabolic rate (from what you have now), should lead to a higher calorie expenditure and more weight loss.
Protein boosts your metabolic rate, which leads to a higher calorie expenditure. This could result in more calories burned and a reduction in body weight and body fat levels.
Consume Less Calories
If you look at the section above, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
So eating smaller portions, eating more nutrient-dense foods, and consuming lower calorie foods could reduce the amount of calories you consume.
And protein should be part of that.
By replacing higher-calorie foods with protein, you are reducing the amount of calories you’re consuming, and you’re increasing your metabolic rate with harder-to-digest protein.
Studies consistently show higher protein meals may result in fewer calories consumed throughout the day.
One study in particular, showed study participants eating a higher protein diet, ate 441 FEWER calories by the end of the day.
This resulted in greater weight and body fat loss compared to the low-protein, and the control group.
High protein diets have also been linked to an increase in satiety hormones. Satiety hormones keep your body feeling full after a meal. And high-protein diets may increase these appetite-suppressing hormones.
High protein diets may lead to as many as 441 FEWER calories consumed throughout the day. These calories add up—and could result in significant body fat and overall weight loss numbers. High-protein diets have also been linked to an increase in satiety hormones, which keep you feeling full after a meal.
Prevents Weight Regain
If you’ve lost weight, and put the weight back on (and more), then you know about weight regain.
Weight regain is an interesting phenomenon. Due to a slower metabolism (associated with weight loss), it may be easier to gain weight after you’ve finished a diet.
But it’s not the only reason.
A lot of time, people who have lost weight, often go back to eating their normal diet, which is often higher in calories with imbalances in nutrients.
Adding in a little extra protein may go a long way. Studies show that a moderate increase in protein (from 15 to 18 percent) prevented weight regain from occurring.
Could it be due to the thermic effect of food? The lower calories? Or the boost in your metabolism?
It could be caused by all three. The bottom line:
Not only can protein help in the weight loss puzzle, it may also prevent weight regain from occurring.
A higher protein intake has been linked to less weight regain over time. There are a number of different reasons this may occur, however, it’s important to note that eating more protein is linked to a lower risk for regaining lost weight.
1. Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CL, Martin CB, Campbell WW. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Sping). 2011 Apr;19(4):818-24.
2. Veldhorst MA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):519-26.
3. Johnston CS, Day CS, Swan PD. Postprandal thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):55-61.
About Jayson Hunter & Jaylab Pro
Jaylab Pro was founded by Registered Dietitian Jayson Hunter. Jayson has been recognized as one of America's foremost weight loss experts by America's Premier Experts™. He has also been featured in USA Today for this accomplishment. Jayson is also a best-selling author having co-authored multiple books in health & fitness and business growth. Jayson and the Jaylab Pro team are proud to create content that helps improve the lives of millions of people around the world. We hope you enjoy it just as much as others have.