Traditionally, protein powder was reserved for those looking to get big!
But these days, we know it’s just as useful for those looking to lose weight and slim up.
In this post, we’re going to tell you all about how protein powder can be helpful for weight loss and not just adding muscle mass! You’ll learn more about protein and why it’s necessary for anyone looking to slim down and improve both their looks and their health.
The problem with ‘weight loss’
OK, so you’re looking to lose a bit of weight and, of course, you know the first step is to set a goal!
When you’re heavier than you want to be, the first thing that comes to mind is that you should just set a goal of losing some of that weight.
Yes, that’s technically correct, but it’s far from a perfect measure.
Because, surely, you don’t just want to lose weight?
To really improve your health, and with it your physique, you want to lose fat!
A massive difference in a single word
Although the difference between’ weight’ and ‘fat’ seems trivial, it’s actually huge.
By focusing on losing fat instead of just weight, you’re doing your body an enormous favour.
You’re taking a different, qualitative approach, and instead of just losing X amount of pounds, you will achieve something much greater, which is body recomposition.
This means that the overall structure of your body will change.
Put simpler, by focusing on body recomposition, instead of just weight loss, you’ll maintain or even increase your muscle mass while simultaneously losing fat. That means your muscle to fat ratio will improve, and you’ll have relatively more muscle mass than you had before.
You’ll look slim and toned. Not just ‘skinny-fat’.
The skinny-fat look usually happens when someone focuses on losing weight alone. Sure, they’ll lose fat, but with it, they’ll also lose their precious, hard-earned muscles too!
This is not only unhealthy, as muscles have a positive role in the body, supporting bones, and making you move easier, work out better, etc., but it’s also not very wise.
To gain fat, all you need to do is eat more. To gain muscle, you need to eat enough protein and also exercise!
So losing muscles is a much bigger problem and isn’t wise to do. It will take much more effort to get them back and your body will be weaker in the meantime!
How to focus on losing fat?
So, let’s get started on losing some fat!
First thing’s first: to lose fat you need to enter a ‘caloric deficit’.
In other words, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
By reducing calories, your weight will start dropping, and you’ll also start depleting your body’s fat stores.
But, as we previously mentioned, it’s important to prevent muscle loss at the same time! If you can do that, you’ll start noticing a positive difference on the scale and in the mirror much more quickly!
The fat will take care of itself if calories taken in are lower. So, the better question to focus on is: how to prevent muscle loss?
How to preserve muscles during weight loss
To prevent muscle loss, you need two ingredients: strength training and protein.
Strength training will signal to your body that its muscles are still necessary. If you don't exercise and place demands on your muscles, your body will treat them as a surplus. It doesn’t need them, so it gets rid of them!
Muscles require a lot of calories and are very "expensive" for your body to maintain in terms of energy and calories. If you don't use them regularly, your body will start breaking them down, especially when calories are restricted. Furthermore, strength training burns calories, which will further help your fat loss efforts, getting you into that caloric deficit even faster!
However, muscles are not only expensive for your body to maintain, increasing the likelihood of losing them. But your body can also break them down to get that important macronutrient—protein.
Therefore, you have to make certain that doesn't happen!
And this is where protein comes into play.
You should be sure to take in enough protein through your nutrition or supplements every day. If you do this, your body will use the protein it gets from its nutrition, and it won't have to break down muscles to get it, even when you’re in a caloric deficit
Pretty cool, right?
How else can protein benefit fat loss?
Besides being the central building block of muscle tissue, which will help your body keep hold of its hard-earned muscle during weight loss, here are some more reasons why you should focus on your protein intake when trying to lose fat.
Protein is "heavy"
It’s hard to binge eat steak, eggs, chicken breast, or similar protein-rich foods. All these foods fill you up quickly and keep you full for longer, making overeating less likely and preserving that caloric deficit!
Proteins have fewer calories than fats
Yes, fats fill you up quickly too, and they keep you full for longer. However, fats have twice as many calories, and overeating fatty foods is much more likely than overeating with foods that are rich in protein.
Proteins don't mess with your blood sugar
Although proteins have the same amount of calories as carbs, they affect our bodies quite differently. Carbs get in the bloodstream very quickly, skyrocketing our blood sugar. What follows is a high insulin spike, reducing blood sugar and causing instant cravings, making you want to eat again! Proteins don't affect this, and you will be able to control yourself much easier on a high-protein diet.
Getting Enough Protein
So, now you’re strength training and being sure to add a good amount of protein to your diet each day.
But, in a caloric deficit, more than any other time, you really need to make sure you’re consuming a sufficient amount of protein.
But how much protein is enough?
The numbers aren’t clear and different research points to different amounts. It ranges from 56 grams a day as the bare minimum, all the way up to 200 grams plus! It really depends on your own body type and how large your calorie deficit is.
To make things simple, just aim for somewhere between those two numbers. Something like 100 grams to 150 grams per day. See where that takes you and how you feel.
The issue is that eating this much protein consistently is not always an easy task.
An average egg has about 6 grams of protein, while 100 grams of chicken breast has 31 grams of protein. So, if you weigh 80kg, you’ll need to eat quite a lot of food to intake the right amount of protein every single day and avoid losing your muscles!
Luckily, that's where protein powder can really help!
A single scoop of protein powder has 20-30 grams of protein, making it much more convenient for you to reach your daily goals.
Of course, the majority should still come from real foods, but protein powder will make sure you hit your target every day.
Which Protein Powder Is Best For Weight Loss?
So, by now we’re sure you’ll agree that protein powder can help your fat loss efforts a great deal!
And as we said, getting your protein only from real food is sometimes tricky, especially when you’re ‘on the go’.
Instead of turning to fast food, which could compromise your precious caloric deficit, it’s a much better idea to prepare a protein shake that you can carry with you.But, the question is, which protein powder is best for weight loss? Here's how to pick.
There are many different kinds of protein powders: blends, concentrates, isolates. For weight loss purposes, isolates are the best option. They contain around 95% of protein, which means you won't get any "useless" calories from other sources, making sure you stay in that caloric deficit!
Whey works best
Whey protein is the best kind you can buy, because of its high bioavailability, which means your body can utilize it best. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, there are also many plant proteins you can try, including hemp, pea, and brown rice.
Read the labels
always buy from well-known manufacturers. "White-label" proteins might be affordable, but their purity is questionable. Whenever you see something like "proprietary blend" without the actual ingredients listed, be sure that is the cheapest form of protein in there, with God knows how many additives and chemicals.
Keep it clean. Don't base your decision solely on budget.
Bottom line: lose fat and look better with protein powder
As you can see, there are many reasons why consuming protein powder is an excellent idea when trying to lose weight.
Sure, the caloric deficit is what will make you lose fat, but making sure you’re eating enough protein and strength training at the same time is the best way to achieve the results and look you want.
Not to mention the health benefits.
Protein powder is a great addition to your weight-loss nutrition. It will help you stay on track, making sure you get your daily protein goals even when real protein-rich foods are unavailable.
They can't replace real food, but they sure are handy, and will greatly assist with your weight loss efforts.
Of course, we believe we have the best protein powders for you to achieve your goals.