The Benefits of Protein

What if you could eat more food at every single meal and still lose weight?

Well, if you understand some of the key benefits of protein, you can enjoy just that”along with many other health benefits.

Whenever you go on a diet, the typical protocol is to cut down on how much you eat. It isn’t rocket science”it’s all about eating less and moving your body more. In fact, you’ve probably heard that mantra often enough that by now, you could repeat it in your sleep.

But what many people don’t know is that not all nutrients are created equal. That’s why short-term diet measures”such as cutting out your nightly ice cream or bag of chips in front of the television”aren’t enough. Sure, you’ll probably drop a pound or two, but the way to keep weight off for good isn’t simply about denial.

What you need is a diet you can stick with for the long haul”one that fuels your body with the energy it needs and eliminates cravings for foods with empty calories. After all, what good is losing weight if you’re constantly feeling deprived”or if you start putting it back on as soon as you return to prior eating habits? That’s why protein is an essential nutrient.

Here are four major benefits of protein that’ll help you get an edge up on the war against body fat.

1. Eat More Food

One of the biggest benefits of protein is that it lets you eat more food. That’s because our bodies work harder to digest proteins compared to carbohydrates or fats. In other words, eating protein actually burns more calories. Choose whole food options, such as lean chicken breasts, egg whites, fish, low-fat dairy products or small portions of red meat, and you’ll be jumpstarting your metabolism with each meal.

To get the full effects, try to eat six smaller meals every day, with each containing 10 to 20 grams of protein.

2. Get Totally Toned

Picture your ideal body. You know, that image that gets you out of bed or off the couch to hit the gym. Most of us envision a bod that’s firm and toned, with some muscle definition. And that’s exactly what protein can help you achieve. The building blocks of muscle tissue are made up of amino acids, which are also supplied to our bodies when we consume protein.

So remember to keep your protein levels up if you want an extra toning and tightening boost”you can’t build muscle without it.

3. End Cravings

Ever have the late-night munchies? If so, then take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. One of the top reasons women cite for not getting results with their weight loss programs is nighttime eating. Luckily, one of the benefits of protein is that it helps you control hunger. Whenever you eat a protein-rich meal, you’ll feel full and satiated for hours. Compare that to a carb-heavy meal”not long after you finish, you’re often searching the pantry for another snack.

So if you struggle with the munchies, combine carbs with protein-based foods like tuna, peanut butter or egg whites.

4. Stay Energized

Protein also goes a long way toward preventing dips in energy throughout your day. You know the ones: usually, they happen mid-afternoon, when even your fourth cup of coffee won’t rid you of the desire to nap. Blame it on simple carbs: when they cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate throughout the day, you experience surges in energy followed by quick drops, which are anything but pleasant. To keep your energy level high all day long, combine proteins with healthy carbs like vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

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