Protein and how it speeds up weight loss. By Tony DeFrancisco, First Fitness Supervisor

This article includes information about using high protein foods to drop weight fast. I knew before even writing this that it would be controversial and expect a lot of feedback regarding high protein foods and meal replacements to lose weight.

You might ask how I am qualified to write on weight loss. First, I have been involved in physical culture since 1964. Lifting weights, eating good healthy foods and taking nutritional supplements.

From 1969 to 1976 I competed in powerlifting competitions. In 1973 I won a slew of district and regional titles and went on to place in the top five in the world in the AAU Sr Nationals and later that year, in the World Championships.

It occurred to me at that time that IF I could drop down to the next lighter weight class and keep my strength level, I could very well become one of the very best in the world.

I tried numerous diets. Lost weight, but also lost strength. So whereas I got my weight down to the next lighter weight class, I was no more effective than at the heavier class due to strength loss.

It was at this point that I started experimenting with high protein diets using at first real foods like meats, eggs, chicken, fish etc. This worked much better than the other diets. I lost weight. Kept more of the muscle and strength. But to get my weight down to the 165 lb class, I had to severely limit my caloric intake and when I did that, I once again lost strength.

Shortly thereafter, I began experimenting with high protein meal replacement shakes. It was unheard of back then. I reasoned that these shakes provided as much protein as a steak but with so few calories and fat.

I continued to eat high protein foods in my regular meals like beef, chicken, tuna and so on and substituted two meals per day with with the meal replacement shake. The weight melted off of me. However, what was remarkable was that I kept muscle while losing fat. I lost very little if any strength. Actually matched my record lifts in the heavier weight class. Some of my powerlifting peers thought I was loading up on steriods. Here is the kicker: I was drug free. They weren’t.

Since 1976, I have been a weight control consultant/wellness coach and have assisted several thousand people with weight loss and wellness. Many of my clients lost from 30 lbs to 300 lbs following the programs I recommended. And these were people who had major issues losing weight in the past.

In the late 1970s, I operated several gyms in Central Pa. and was a counselor for the former Jack LaLanne-European Health Spas in Reading, Pa. working the gym floor with many members, designing workout programs and demonstrating correct exercise techniques.

Since 2015, I have been working as a wellness coach for FFN and in particular, marketing a weight loss program called Suddenly Slim. While I am embarrassed to admit this, through shear neglect I allowed my weight to creep up to 255 lbs. I was over 125 lbs above what my ideal weight should be. I thought what kind of example am I to help other people with weight loss and wellness since I was so obesely fat myself?

So I went back to my roots, working out, eating high protein foods and taking a popular herbal weight loss program. I would lose 35-40 lbs but then regain 45 lbs – 50 lbs back. It was the classic yo-yo syndrome. I felt like a giant yo-yo and the weight kept coming on.

I suffered a myo carditis attack and congestive heart failure. If you are not familiar with myo carditis, the best way to explain it is it is as though someone takes both of their hands, reaches inside you and squeezes your heart. I felt like Hulk Hogan or Brock Lesnar had me in a tight bearhug and were squeezing the life out of me.

At the same time, I was diagnosed as having a tumor in my left kidney. It was growing fast and needed to be removed. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital and was put on massive medications.

I don’t like to take medicine. It doesn’t agree with me. I don’t take any drugs, Not even aspirin and that is why I stayed away from steriods in my powerlifting heyday.

THE MEDICATIONS my doctors prescribed (I had three doctors; family MD, urologist, and a heart specialist) had adverse affects on me. I started to gain weight like crazy and was always so sluggish. So while I had gotten my weight down to 205-210 it quickly jumped to 255 and then the yo-yo syndrome.

In September 2015, I had had it my weight and started FFN’s program Suddenly Slim. The weight literally melted off of me. Over the last 20 months, my weight has dropped from 255 lbs all the way to 149 lbs. I haven’t seen that weight since my grade school years. Most significantly, it was like in my powerlifting days. I lost fat but kept the muscle. I can still push some heavy iron when I workout. I was no longer tired and sluggish.

One of the products I used is called Reneu. It is a colon and internal cleanser. It removes toxins and poisons from the body. The poisons which I believe came from the medications prescribed by my doctors.

I started getting other people using the program and they also got incredible results. The secret is eating high protein foods and meal replacements in particular. I know this is not new. Most people have used a shake at one time or another. What may be new for you is using a high quality meal replacement shake, that contains complete protein, is absorbed by the body and in conjunction with a inner cleanse program which removes toxins and poisons and a fat burner that gently stimulates fat loss.

What I found with myself and with working with thousands of clients is that the high carb, fiber diets or eating regular foods and traditional diets just don’t work. You may lose weight, but not necessarily fat and will not keep muscle. (Read the article for more details) And you will quickly regain the weight. With high protein foods, you take the weight off quickly and most importantly keep it off. And it is a safe way to lose weight.

Keep this in mind:

Every extra pound of lean tissue will enable you to burn an extra 40 calories even at rest. Yes. Even while you sleep! This is why maintaining and adding lean tissue is so important to everyone.

And the reverse is also true. Every pound of lean tissue you lose will slow down your metabolism and cause you to stay overweight and gain even more weight.

When you retain lean tissue, you also look better. Men look more athletic. Women have more curves. It is healthier for you too.

A mantra I came up with in the 1970s when I first started as a wellness coach was that regarding meal replacements, “They tone you up while they slim you down.” And they do. People who follow the hi protein meal replacement programs look like they went to a health spa for several months, even though no exercise was included. Also their outer appearance was amazing. Hair, skin, nail looked incredible. People looked more youthful. Some looked like they had a facelift done although this was not the case. It was the protein.

One final thing about protein; it must be complete protein, quality protein to work. It must contain all of the essential amino acids and in the proper ratio to be effective. Most of these cheap shakes you see in stores do not contain complete protein hence many people are disappointed with their results. Body FX contains quality, complete protein.

Like I said, I was using a very popular Herbal weight loss shake that was pretty good but was not getting the results I wanted. I also tried many products sold in stores even the supposedly better products sold in health food stores. Nothing has worked like this for myself and my clients.

That is enough about me, now on to the article about protein.

Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss and a better looking body.

A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones.

Protein can help you lose weight and belly fat, and it works via several different mechanisms.

This is a detailed review of the effects of protein on weight loss.

Protein Changes The Levels of Several Weight Regulating Hormones

Your weight is actively regulated by your brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus.

In order for your brain to determine when and how much to eat, it processes multiple different types of information.

Some of the most important signals to the brain are hormones that change in response to feeding.

A higher protein intake actually increases levels of the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones GLP-1peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin .

By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones.

This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically.

Bottom Line: Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, while it boosts the appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin. This leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

Digesting and Metabolizing Protein Burns Calories

One of the best ways to get concentrated amounts of protein with very low fat and calories is with a quality meal replacement shake. The shakes are delicious, easy to prepare and economical. The one caveat of getting protein solely from regular foods is the caloric and fat content. Makes weight loss slower.

After you eat, some calories are used for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food.

This is often termed the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Although not all sources agree on the exact figures, it is clear that protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%).

If we go with a thermic effect of 30% for protein, this means that 100 calories of protein only end up as 70 usable calories.

Bottom Line: About 20-30% of protein calories are burned while the body is digesting and metabolizing the protein.

Protein Makes You Burn More Calories (Increases “Calories Out”)

Due to the high thermic effect and several other factors, a high protein intake tends to boost metabolism.

It makes you burn more calories around the clock, including during sleep.

A few of the newer meal replacement shakes offer the ideal 50-30-20 ratio of carbs, protein and fats. Watch out for shakes that are merely high fiber and high carbs. Or products that use low grade protein sources. Below is the product that I have been using since September 2015.

A high protein intake has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories burned by about 80 to 100 per day .

This effect is particularly pronounced during overfeeding, or while eating at a caloric surplus. In one study, overfeeding with a high protein diet increased calories burned by 260 per day.

By making you burn more calories, high protein diets have a “metabolic advantage” over diets that are lower in protein.

Bottom Line: A high protein intake can make you burn 80-100 more calories per day, with one study showing an increase of 260 calories during overfeeding.

Protein Reduces Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories

Protein can reduce hunger and appetite via several different mechanisms.

This can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

In other words, you end up eating fewer calories without having to count calories or consciously control portions.

Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories.

This works on a meal-to-meal basis, as well as a sustained day-to-day reduction in calorie intake as long as protein intake is kept high.

In one study, protein at 30% of calories caused people to automatically drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day, which is a huge amount.

So, high protein diets not only have a metabolic advantage – they also have an “appetite advantage,” making it much easier to cut calories compared to lower protein diets.

Bottom Line: High-protein diets are highly satiating, so they lead to reduced hunger and appetite compared to lower protein diets. This makes it much easier to restrict calories on a high-protein diet.

Protein Cuts Cravings and Reduces Desire for Late-Night Snacking

Cravings are the dieter’s worst enemy.

They are one of the biggest reasons why people tend to fail on their diets.

Another major problem is late-night snacking. Many people who have a tendency to gain weight get cravings at night, so they snack in the evening. These calories are added on top of all the calories they ate during the day.

Interestingly, protein can have a powerful effect on both cravings and the desire to snack at night.

This graph is from a study comparing a high-protein diet and a normal-protein diet in overweight men:

The high-protein group is the blue bar, while the normal-protein group is the red bar.

In this study, protein at 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60% and cut the desire for late-night snacking by half!

Breakfast may be the most important meal to load up on the protein. In one study in teenage girls, a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced cravings.

Bottom Line: Eating more protein can lead to major reductions in cravings and the desire to snack late at night. These changes should make it much easier to stick to a healthy diet.

Protein Makes You Lose Weight, Even Without Conscious Calorie Restriction

Protein works on both sides of the “calories in vs calories out” equation. It reduces calories in and boosts calories out.

For this reason, it is not surprising to see that high-protein diets lead to weight loss, even without intentionally restricting calories, portions, fat or carbs.

In one study of 19 overweight individuals, increasing protein intake to 30% of calories caused a massive drop in calorie intake:

In this study, the participants lost an average of 11 pounds over a period of 12 weeks. Keep in mind that they only added protein to their diet, they did not intentionally restrict anything.

Although the results aren’t always this dramatic, the majority of studies do show that high-protein diets lead to significant weight loss.

A higher protein intake is also associated with less belly fat, the harmful fat that builds up around the organs and causes disease.

All that being said, losing weight is not the most important factor. It is keeping it off in the long-term that really counts.

Many people can go on “a diet” and lose weight, but most end up gaining the weight back.

Interestingly, a higher protein intake can also help prevent weight regain. In one study, a modest increase in protein intake (from 15 to 18% of calories) reduced weight regain after weight loss by 50%.

So not only can protein help you lose weight, it can also help you keep it off in the long-term.

Bottom Line: Eating a high-protein diet can cause weight loss, even without calorie counting, portion control or carb restriction. A modest increase in protein intake can also help prevent weight regain.

Protein Helps Prevent Muscle Loss and Metabolic Slowdown

Traditional dieting is oh so frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. We have the answer.

Weight loss doesn’t always equal fat loss.

When you lose weight, muscle mass tends to be reduced as well.

However, what you really want to lose is body fat, both subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and visceral fat (around organs).

Losing muscle is a side effect of weight loss that most people don’t want.

Another side effect of losing weight is that the metabolic rate tends to decrease.

In other words, you end up burning fewer calories than you did before you lost the weight.

This is often referred to as “starvation mode,” and can amount to several hundred fewer calories burned each day.

Eating plenty of protein can reduce muscle loss, which should help keep your metabolic rate higher as you lose body fat.

Strength training is another major factor that can reduce muscle loss and metabolic slowdown when losing weight.

For this reason, a high protein intake and heavy strength training are two incredibly important components of an effective fat loss plan.

Not only do they help keep your metabolism high, they also make sure that what is underneath the fat actually looks good. Without protein and strength training, you may end up looking “skinny-fat” instead of fit and lean.

Bottom Line: Eating plenty of protein can help prevent muscle loss when you lose weight. It can also help keep your metabolic rate high, especially when combined with heavy strength training.

How Much Protein is Optimal?

The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for protein is only 46 and 56 grams for the average woman and man, respectively.

This amount may be enough to prevent deficiency, but it is far from optimal if you are trying to lose weight (or gain muscle).

Most of the studies on protein and weight loss expressed protein intake as a percentage of calories.

According to these studies, aiming for protein at 30% of calories seems to be very effective for weight loss.

You can find the number of grams by multiplying your calorie intake by 0.075. For example, on a 2000 calorie diet you would eat 2000 * 0.075 = 150 grams of protein.

You can also aim for a certain number based on your weight. For example, aiming for 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass is a common recommendation (1.5 – 2.2 grams per kilogram).

It is best to spread your protein intake throughout the day by eating protein with every meal.

Keep in mind that these numbers don’t need to be exact, anything in the range of 25-35% of calories should be effective.

More details in this article: How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

Bottom Line: In order to lose weight, aiming for 25-35% of calories as protein may be optimal. 30% of calories amounts to 150 grams of protein on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Get More Protein in Your Diet

One of the tricks my wife and I use is to make a pitcher of Body FX Protein and eat it late at night in place of conventional junk food. It tastes delicious. Curbs and appetite and fuels the body with good quality nutrition.

Or a small dish of cottage cheese.

When eating out, stick to good quality foods like seafood, lean meats and so on.

Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss and a better looking body.

A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones.

Protein can help you lose weight and belly fat, and it works via several different mechanisms.

This is a detailed review of the effects of protein on weight loss.

Protein Changes The Levels of Several Weight Regulating Hormones

Your weight is actively regulated by your brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus.

In order for your brain to determine when and how much to eat, it processes multiple different types of information.

Some of the most important signals to the brain are hormones that change in response to feeding.

A higher protein intake actually increases levels of the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones GLP-1peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.

By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones.

This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically.

Bottom Line: Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, while it boosts the appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin. This leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

Digesting and Metabolizing Protein Burns Calories

After you eat, some calories are used for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food.

This is often termed the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Although not all sources agree on the exact figures, it is clear that protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%) (11).

If we go with a thermic effect of 30% for protein, this means that 100 calories of protein only end up as 70 usable calories.

Bottom Line: About 20-30% of protein calories are burned while the body is digesting and metabolizing the protein.

Protein Makes You Burn More Calories (Increases “Calories Out”)

Due to the high thermic effect and several other factors, a high protein intake tends to boost metabolism.

It makes you burn more calories around the clock, including during sleep.

A high protein intake has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories burned by about 80 to 100 per day.

This effect is particularly pronounced during overfeeding, or while eating at a caloric surplus. In one study, overfeeding with a high protein diet increased calories burned by 260 per day.

By making you burn more calories, high protein diets have a “metabolic advantage” over diets that are lower in protein.

Bottom Line: A high protein intake can make you burn 80-100 more calories per day, with one study showing an increase of 260 calories during overfeeding.

Protein Reduces Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories

Protein can reduce hunger and appetite via several different mechanisms (1).

This can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

In other words, you end up eating fewer calories without having to count calories or consciously control portions.

Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories.

This works on a meal-to-meal basis, as well as a sustained day-to-day reduction in calorie intake as long as protein intake is kept high.

In one study, protein at 30% of calories caused people to automatically drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day, which is a huge amount.

So, high protein diets not only have a metabolic advantage – they also have an “appetite advantage,” making it much easier to cut calories compared to lower protein diets.

Bottom Line: High-protein diets are highly satiating, so they lead to reduced hunger and appetite compared to lower protein diets. This makes it much easier to restrict calories on a high-protein diet.

Protein Cuts Cravings and Reduces Desire for Late-Night Snacking

Cravings are the dieter’s worst enemy.

They are one of the biggest reasons why people tend to fail on their diets.

Another major problem is late-night snacking. Many people who have a tendency to gain weight get cravings at night, so they snack in the evening. These calories are added on top of all the calories they ate during the day.

Interestingly, protein can have a powerful effect on both cravings and the desire to snack at night.

This graph is from a study comparing a high-protein diet and a normal-protein diet in overweight men:

The high-protein group is the blue bar, while the normal-protein group is the red bar.

In this study, protein at 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60% and cut the desire for late-night snacking by half!

Breakfast may be the most important meal to load up on the protein. In one study in teenage girls, a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced cravings.

Bottom Line: Eating more protein can lead to major reductions in cravings and the desire to snack late at night. These changes should make it much easier to stick to a healthy diet.

How to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Increasing your protein intake is simple. Just eat more of protein-rich foods.

These include:

  • Meats: Chicken, turkey, lean beefpork, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, haddock, trout, etc.
  • Eggs: All types.
  • Dairy: Milkcheeseyogurt, etc.
  • Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
  • You can find a long list of healthy high-protein foods in this article.

If you’re eating low-carb, then you can choose fattier cuts of meat. If you’re not on a low-carb diet then try to emphasize lean meats as much as possible. This makes it easier to keep protein high without getting too many calories.

Taking a protein supplement can also be a good idea if you struggle to reach your protein goals. Whey protein powder has been shown to have numerous benefits, including increased weight loss. I have been using a quality protein shake which has the ideal 50-30-20 ratio of carbs, protein and fats. It is also high grade protein which is easily assimilable by the body.

BEWARE! Many of the popular protein shakes contain high amounts of sugar to make them tasty and use low grade protein that cannot be used effectively by the human body.

Even though eating more protein is simple when you think about it, actually integrating this into your life and nutrition plan can be difficult.

I recommend that you use a calorie/nutrition tracker in the beginning. Weigh and measure everything you eat in order to make sure that you are hitting your protein targets.

You don’t need to do this forever, but it is very important in the beginning until you get a good idea of what a high-protein diet looks like.

Bottom Line: There are many high-protein foods you can eat to boost your protein intake. It is recommended to use a nutrition tracker in the beginning to make sure that you are getting enough.

Protein is The Easiest, Simplest and Most Delicious Way to Lose Weight

When it comes to fat loss and a better looking body, protein is the king of nutrients.

You don’t need to restrict anything to benefit from a higher protein intake. It is all about adding to your diet.

This is particularly appealing because most high-protein foods also taste really good. Eating more of them is easy and satisfying.

A high-protein diet can also be an effective obesity prevention strategy, not something that you just use temporarily to lose fat.

By permanently increasing your protein intake, you tip the “calories in vs calories out” balance in your favor.

Over months, years or decades, the difference in your waistline could be huge.

However, keep in mind that calories still count. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism, but you won’t lose weight if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn.

It is definitely possible to overeat and negate the calorie deficit caused by the higher protein intake, especially if you eat a lot of junk food.

For this reason, you should still base your diet mostly on whole, single ingredient foods.

Although this article focused only on weight loss, protein also has numerous other benefits for health.

Increasing your protein intake is simple. Just eat more of protein-rich foods.

These include:

  • Meats: Chicken, turkey, lean beefpork, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, haddock, trout, etc.
  • Eggs: All types.
  • Dairy: Milkcheeseyogurt, etc.
  • Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.

If you’re eating low-carb, then you can choose fattier cuts of meat. If you’re not on a low-carb diet then try to emphasize lean meats as much as possible. This makes it easier to keep protein high without getting too many calories.

Taking a protein supplement can also be a good idea if you struggle to reach your protein goals. Whey protein powder has been shown to have numerous benefits, including increased weight loss.

Even though eating more protein is simple when you think about it, actually integrating this into your life and nutrition plan can be difficult.

I recommend that you use a calorie/nutrition tracker in the beginning. Weigh and measure everything you eat in order to make sure that you are hitting your protein targets.

You don’t need to do this forever, but it is very important in the beginning until you get a good idea of what a high-protein diet looks like.

Bottom Line: There are many high-protein foods you can eat to boost your protein intake. It is recommended to use a nutrition tracker in the beginning to make sure that you are getting enough.

Protein is The Easiest, Simplest and Most Delicious Way to Lose Weight

Meats are very high in protein. Unfortunately, also very high in fat. While following a high protein diet consisting of meats will yield faster weight loss results than traditional diets, weight losses will be slower than with quality meal replacement shakes.

When it comes to fat loss and a better looking body, protein is the king of nutrients.

You don’t need to restrict anything to benefit from a higher protein intake. It is all about adding to your diet.

This is particularly appealing because most high-protein foods also taste really good. Eating more of them is easy and satisfying.

A high-protein diet can also be an effective obesity prevention strategy, not something that you just use temporarily to lose fat.

By permanently increasing your protein intake, you tip the “calories in vs calories out” balance in your favor.

Over months, years or decades, the difference in your waistline could be huge.

However, keep in mind that calories still count. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism, but you won’t lose weight if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn.

It is definitely possible to overeat and negate the calorie deficit caused by the higher protein intake, especially if you eat a lot of junk food.

For this reason, you should still base your diet mostly on whole, single ingredient foods.

Although this article focused only on weight loss, protein also has numerous other benefits for health as well.

Tony DeFrancisco can be contacted via 407-761-3055  Email: tonydefrancisco14@gmail.com

Website: http://www.superfitness.firstfitness.com

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