Protein has many benefits to those who wish to lose weight.
Lose more fat
A 12 week study in which two groups had a calorie deficit of 500 calories showed just this. One group had protein supplementation, the other didn’t. The group with the higher protein intake lost 2-3 pounds more fat and 2 pounds less muscle than the control group, They both lost the same amount of weight but the higher protein group would have looked much better for it. This is just one of many studies showing that protein preserves muscle! In other studies we find results that are better still!
Burn more calories
Protein has the highest thermic effect of all the macronutrients. When you eat protein, about a quarter of the calories are burnt off automatically simply from eating protein! Carbohydrates and fats have negligible effects compared to protein. This isn’t reason for a high protein intake on its own but it’s a very welcome side effect.
In ad libitum studies, (which means all-you-can-eat) researchers have found that a high protein diet can create or increase weight loss, these people ate all they wanted of protein-rich foods but they still lost weight!
Why? Protein is very filling. The subjects in these studies lost weight because they were full! They couldn’t eat enough to get fat, they couldn’t even eat enough to maintain their weight! This is true to such a point that it can make it hard to get enough calories.
If you want to get the all of the benefits of a higher protein intake, aim for 1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. If you’re also wanting to add lean muscle, I’d suggest 2.2 grams per kilo as your target.
Experiment with protein intakes between 1.5 and 2.2 grams per kilogram of your body weight. When you find the intake that keeps you feeling full and healthy, maintain that intake indefinitely as best as your circumstances allow you to.