Will eating more protein help me lose weight?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Eating protein can help you lose weight because it helps to burn calories and build muscle. Listen as Dr. Robin Miller talks about eating protein and weight loss in this video:

Chris Embry

Eating more protein can help when trying to lose weight in the following ways:

1.  Protein can be very satiating.  Therefore you will feel fuller for longer and you may consume few calories throughout the day.

2.  When you reduce your calories, the body will look to break down fat or muscle to meet the energy demands.  If adequate protein is not met through the diet, the body will break down muscle instead of fat.  This will result in a decreased metabolism and make it more difficult to lose additional weight.  It is important to consume enough protein to spare as much muscle as possible and coax the body to burn fat instead.

Protein has been linked with increased satiety, the feeling of fullness. The Weight Watchers approach includes moderate amounts of protein as part of healthful weight loss, as long as the protein-rich foods are low in fat and portion controlled.

Some people believe that very high-protein diets are the best way to lose weight. These diets only enhance the initial water loss that is commonly seen at the beginning of a weight-loss program. Over time, very high-protein diets do not lead to a superior weight loss, and they place excessive stress on the kidneys. They also tend to be high in fat and cholesterol, which can contribute to high blood cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.
F. Michael Gloth, III
Geriatric Medicine
A great deal of energy in the form of calories is needed to break down protein and convert it into usable energy for the body. Basically, this means that eating more protein results in less weight gain. Also, the amino acids that make up proteins are the building blocks that our bodies use to develop muscle. With this in mind, 10 ounces of protein become far more desirable than 10 ounces of simple sugars if you want to lose weight or increase muscle strength.

This means that 10 ounces of sugar have more effective calories than 10 ounces of protein. The term "effective calories" takes into account the energy needed to convert the food into a form the body can easily use or store. Foods with more effective calories per ounce are more easily incorporated into the body and provide a greater net gain in accessible energy. For many of us, this can mean a greater accumulation of fat.
Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

As people reach their fifties, the body’s metabolism slows. Without a change in eating or exercise habits, it’s common to put on weight and become less able to perform routine physical...
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Adequate protein is essential to maintain lean muscle mass which is metabolically active tissue helping you to lose weight. On average you require about as many grams of protein as your weight is in kilograms. To convert your weight from pounds to kilograms divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. One ounce of meat, or 1 cup of milk can be estimated to be about 8 grams of protein.

Reducing calories in your diet is an effective way for most people to lose weight. It is recommended to include about 20% of your calories from protein, 50% from carbohydrate and 30% from mono and poly unsaturated fats, limit saturated fat.

Long term healthy weight maintenance is best achieved with a steady nutrient dense diet plan including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or dairy and reduced saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

Strive for physical activity daily in which you break a sweat for at least 30 minutes. If you are unsure if you are healthy enough for exercise, check with your doctor. As a rule you should be able to talk while you walk. If you are out of breath and unable to talk while exercising, decrease the intensity. Include some weight bearing exercise in your activity to build lean muscle tissue.


Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Eating more protein may help you lose weight, depending on your current consumption and medical conditions.  Choosing lean proteins at meals and snacks help to maintain fullness longer.  This may help with overeating which will aid in weight loss.  Lean proteins include chicken, turkey, nuts, beans, and tofu.  But increasing high-fat protein foods may cause weight gain and other medical diseases.  Consult a Registered Dietitian to calculate your individual protein needs and implement a weight loss plan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.