Getting tired of hearing us harp on you about eating protein?  Don’t worry, sometimes I do too.  But folks, I promise there are good reasons for it.  Especially for anyone with a weight loss goal.  So grab yourself a nice protein-based snack, and read through this list of benefits of upping your protein:

You’ll be less hungry.  Not only this, but you’ll have fewer cravings.  This can be especially helpful during the evening hours, when we tend to crave those not-so-healthy foods.  Protein takes a while to digest, which helps us feel full for longer.  But more significantly, a higher protein intake impacts the hormones that regulate appetite.  It boosts those hormones that make us feel satisfied, and decreases those that make us feel hungry.  Net benefit?  You’ll eat less, even on the days you aren’t counting calories as closely.

It boosts your metabolic machinery.  This one always surprises my clients.  Eating burns calories!  Good reason to have that extra cookie? Not so fast.  Not all foods are created equal when it comes to their calorie-burning potential.  While the exact figures are less certain, one thing is clear.  Consuming protein cranks up our metabolism significantly more than either carbohydrates or fat.  We burn roughly 20-30% of the calories in protein simply by digesting it.  So, eating 100 calories of protein only yields about 70-80 calories after digestion.  For diets with a good proportion of protein, this can make a huge difference.

It helps you lose the right type of weight.  When losing weight, we shed both fat tissue AND muscle tissue.  While ditching the fat is great, loss of muscle tissue really puts the breaks on how many calories we burn each day.  Ideally, we need to preserve (or build) muscle to keep our metabolism humming.  In addition to weight training, the best way to achieve this is to consume plenty of protein.  When on a limited calorie diet, this means we need to really focus meals primarily on protein to meet our needs.

The next time you consider pushing aside that chicken or fish in lieu of spaghetti, consider if these benefits are worth passing up.  For some fresh recipe ideas that fit the bill for protein content, visit our media library.