Weâ€™ve all heard the claims that protein is some kind of â€œmagic bulletâ€ for weight loss. Entire diets have even been built around consuming large amounts of protein. Â Getting the facts straight about protein can help you boost your workout and lose weight more effectively.
Your Appetite on Protein
Plenty of studies show that protein acts as a natural appetite suppressant, but scientists are still trying to understand all the reasons why this happens. The first reason is the way our bodies digest protein; it takes a long time, we really are full longer. However protein also affects the way our brains receive hunger hormones, so chemistry plays an important role in the process.
If youâ€™re looking to lose weight, you can take advantage of proteinâ€™s power. Experts recommend that normal, healthy adults get between 10 and 35% of their daily calories from protein. To maximize your weight loss from protein, youâ€™ll need around 120 grams of protein per day. Opt for low-fat protein sources: lean meats, fish, poultry, and tofu are good choices. So are nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
Protein and Your Workout
Recent research has also shown that some people are more prone to overeating right after a workoutâ€”ruining everything theyâ€™ve just worked for! If you feel really hungry after a workout, bring along a high-protein snack to enjoy right after you finish. Enjoying a post-workout protein snack has other benefits for your body as well.
- Endurance athletes reach for protein snacks after long workouts because it helps their bodies recover more quickly and more completely. Some marathon runners even eat protein bars during their long runs, to give their body more fuel as they go.
- Strength athletes like bodybuilders rely on protein for recovery, and because it helps muscles repair themselves more quickly. Strength training works by creating tiny tears in your muscles, which your body uses protein to repair.
- Amateur athletes may not work out with the same intensity, but their bodies still need to recover and repair themselves. People who run long distances or weight lift at least a few times per week can benefit from eating protein after their workouts.
Itâ€™s important to remember that many protein snacks pack more calories than you really need. While a competitive body builder may need a huge protein shake after a gym session, most people need much less: think a low-fat yogurt or a handful of nuts as a post-workout snack, and some lean protein at your next meal.
Your personal trainer can help you figure out how much protein you really need throughout the day, and what sources are best for you. Your trainer will consider both your weight loss goals and your current physical condition before cooking up your â€œrecipe for success.â€™
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