These days, health-savvy individuals of all ages are learning to lose weight for good by making smart and comfortable choices every day. You don’t need to go to extremes to enhance your body’s own fat-burning abilities. Real weight loss is more about increasing the amount of antioxidants, fiber and proteins in your diet.
If you want to enhance your own fat burning abilities, knowing what foods work is only the first step. You should learn the why and how of these natural superstars, too. That way, you use them in the best way to reach your goals. Let’s take a look at why protein rocks for weight loss and how it helps you burn fat.
1. Protein Increases Your Metabolism
Do you remember how easy it was to lose weight and stay slim as a teenager? A big part of that was because of how active your metabolism was. A fast metabolism uses up more fat as fuel during the day. You stay energized and burn up more calories at the same time.
So why are protein-rich foods such as eggs, chicken, cheese and yogurt good for fat burning? It takes your body more time and energy to break these foods down. That means a LOT more calories burned up (about 20-30%) instead of stored as fat. After a high-protein lunch, you can be working at your desk and your body is still in full fat-burning mode!
2. High-Protein Foods Reduce Hunger Levels
Have you ever noticed that eating junk food never seems to calm cravings? That’s because greasy or sugary foods lie to your brain! Those empty calories aren’t enough to trigger the “I’m full” response, so you keep snacking all day long.
On the other hand, protein is real food. It keeps your digestive system happily occupied. Your brain knows you’re getting the nutrition you need, so it releases leptin, the hormone responsible for fullness. Protein helps you feel full sooner and longer. It takes you fewer calories to feel satisfied.
3. Protein Helps You Stay Active and Build Muscle
Another reason high-protein foods are awesome for weight loss is that they fight fatigue and give you a source of long-lasting energy. Also, protein is the main building block of muscle. If you want to have the drive to take your workout to the next level, you need to get plenty of protein before heading to the gym.
That's why mountain bikers and other outdoor adventurers include plenty of nuts in their trail mix. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews are high in powerful protein. These healthy nuts make easy snacks at home, too, keeping you going strong through any afternoon lull.
4. Protein Calms Cravings and Reduces Late-Night Hunger
Protein does more than increase fullness feelings. It reduces your body’s hunger hormone (called ghrelin). So, it’s not just that you’re full; you’re also not as tempted by sweet treats or late-night fridge raids.
Not having those cravings makes it much easier to keep the weight off. You don’t have to force yourself to turn down that huge bowl of ice cream. It simply doesn’t appeal to you as much as it used to. You can still enjoy deserts, but you’re not addicted to them like before.
Choosing good foods — fresh and delicious foods — starts to come naturally. And that’s a goal anyone can reach because it’s the way your body was meant to work!