Protein: The magic weight loss macro-nutrient

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word protein are “Bro’s.”

“Bro get your protein in or you’ll lose your gains.”

“Bro you have to eat protein every three hours to maximum muscle protein synthesis.”

Bros everywhere, carrying around their bottles locked and loaded with 100 gram protein shakes ready to go.

I think that is a relatively accurate stereotype of protein. It’s the Bro macro-nutrient.

But what if I told you that protein is the most important thing that you put in your body on a daily basis, whether you’re lifting or not. Everyone should be eating more of it.  Let’s talk about why?


On the hierarchy of proper macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) protein ranks supreme.

A protein is a large molecule made up of one or more long chains of amino acids. There are twenty amino acids responsible for the structure of proteins:

Amino Acids

Alanine                 Tyrosine

Arginine               Histidine

Asparagine         Isoleucine

Aspartate            Leucine

Cystine                 Lysine

Glutamic              Methionine

Glycine                 Phenylalanine

Ornithine             Threonine

Proline                  Tryptophan

Serine                   Valine


Proteins are responsible for a variety of actions in the processes of the human system, but I won’t go into them all here. Let’s just focus on what protein can do to make you healthier and help you lose weight.

Satisfaction Guaranteed


Protein is more satisfying

One of the most important factors in weight loss is the ability for your body experience satiety when consuming your normal meals. The more satisfied you stay, the less hunger you will experience, which leads to food cravings and ultimately food binges.

Protein is the most satisfying macro-nutrient that exists. There are a multitude of studies and trials on protein that prove this.

Take this one for example: Twenty healthy young women were given 3 different snacks each consisting of 160 calories.  One snack was a high protein yogurt (14g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat), one snack was crackers (0 p, 19 c, 9 f) and one was chocolate (2 g p, 19 g c, 9 g f).

Each woman was giving each snack on different days. When the women consumed the high protein yogurt snack they consumed 100 calories less during their ad libitum dinner than the cracker and chocolate snacks.

The high protein yogurt snack also led to greater reductions in hunger during the afternoon and delayed the initiation of dinner by 20-30 minutes each.

I thought this study was interesting also, for the effects of protein on satiety. 19 participants were placed on three types of diets.  Each participant was placed on each diet, higher protein for 2 weeks, which was isocaloric, weight maintenance diet for 2 weeks, and an ad libitum diet for 12 weeks, where participants consumed food at will.

Even though the participants were in a calorie deficit during the high protein diet, satiety was markedly improved over the weight maintenance diet in which participants were not eating in a calorie deficit and satiety was also improved over the diet were participants were eating at will.

Protein helps you lose more weight

I’ve read through a multitude of research that proves that higher protein diets help you lose more weight than higher fat or carbohydrate diets.

Here a study shows 65 participants each randomly assigned to a high protein diet(HP) or high carbohydrate diet(HC).  Each group participated for 6 months and food intake was ad libitum.

The high protein group lost 75% MORE WEIGHT.  That is pretty significant!!

This study showed very similar results after 6 months.  Researchers compared a high protein (25% P) and medium protein (12% P) diet.

The high protein group lost 60% more weight after 6 months than the medium protein group.


Protein helps you burn more calories

It is well documented, through protein research, that protein requires more energy to process than carbohydrates or fat.

Research on protein has confirmed that protein increases diet induced thermogenesis by 20-35%.

That is quite a bit more than carbohydrates of fats.

Carbohydrates have shown to increase DIT from 5-15% and fats a mere 0-3%

What this means? Protein will help your body burn more calories throughout the day just from the extra energy your body produces to process it.

Let’s say you eat 1000 calories per day of protein. Up to 350 of these calories could potentially be used just to process the food.

An extra 350 calories per day that your body burns can go a long way for weight loss.

Whereas, let’s say you eat 1000 calories per day strictly from fat, your body would use a whopping 0-30 extra calories of energy to process the fat. Wow.  Not very much.

The Low Down on Protein

If there ever is or was a magic trick for weight loss, I would say protein is it. And not enough people are taking advantage of it for its magical weight loss effects.

As you can see, protein is not just for the “Bro’s.”

Adding up all the effects of protein; the fact that it keeps you satisfied longer, helps you stave of hunger and meal times, helps you lose weight at a much greater rate, and helps your body burn more energy, protein is a key element in being successful in your weight loss journey and maintaining your weight loss after you’re done.

It’s the reason why I highly recommend high levels of dietary protein to all the people I work with and why I keep my levels of protein high as well.

You may scoff at some of these numbers. But when you combine the effects of all of them, you’ll see that a high protein diet can really boost your numbers for weight loss.  Grouping the effects of eating less, burning more energy through thermogenesis, and staying more satisfied, avoid food binges, could potentially add an extra 1 to 1 ½ lbs. of weight loss per week.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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