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Why Protein Matters for Weight Loss

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Last updated Feb 6, 2024

You’re embarking on a weight loss journey. That’s a commendable step toward a healthier you. Good work. So let’s delve a little deeper into a cornerstone of your nutrition plan –protein. We’ll explore why protein is so important for weight loss, and why it should be a steadfast ally in achieving your health goals.

The importance of protein for weight loss

Protein plays a variety of important roles during your weight loss journey – whether or not you’re taking weight loss medications to aid the process. They include:

  1. Protecting muscle. Proteins comprise the fundamental building blocks of muscles, and are pivotal in preserving muscle mass during weight loss. By ensuring your body prioritizes fat as its primary energy source, adequate protein intake safeguards your hard-earned muscles. Otherwise, your body could resort to muscle for fuel, leaving you weak and slowing down your progress.
  2. Increased satiety and reduced cravings. Beyond muscle preservation, protein-rich foods help tremendously with sustained satiety. Protein digests slowly, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. This means you’ll experience fewer mid-afternoon cravings, creating a smoother path for sticking to your healthy eating plan. Your temptations will pass the test!
  3. Metabolism boost. Did you know that your body expends more calories digesting protein than it does fats and carbohydrates? Integrating protein into your meals boosts your metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn and facilitating your weight loss endeavors.
  4. Nutrient density. Noom’s program emphasizes nutrient-dense foods. And protein sources are the epitome of that. They bring both weight loss benefits and a rich array of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. This contributes significantly to your overall well-being, ensuring a holistic approach to health.
  5. Blood sugar regulation. Protein’s role in stabilizing blood sugar levels is paramount, especially for those managing or preventing conditions like diabetes. Stabilizing blood sugar levels enhances sustained energy levels and focus throughout your day.  Say goodbye to those dreaded mid-day slumps and hello to consistent, focused energy.

Increasing your protein intake

Here are some tried and true strategies for increasing your protein intake while on your weight loss journey:

  1. Balanced plate approach. A balanced plate approach advocates for a harmonious mix of protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates. For instance, a vibrant green salad with grilled chicken or a quinoa bowl with roasted veggies and beans is a satisfying and nutritionally well-rounded meal.
  2. Smarter snacking. Elevate your snacking game with protein-rich options to stave off hunger. Choices like Greek yogurt with berries, cottage cheese, a handful of nuts, jerky, edamame, or a hard-boiled egg are convenient and nutritionally robust.
  3. Protein variety. Add some excitement to your meals by diversifying your protein sources. Incorporate lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, lentils, tofu, and dairy products. Experimenting with a spectrum of protein-rich foods ensures a wholesome and enjoyable dietary experience. Keep canned goods on hand so you always have something available in a pinch. Stock up on canned tuna or salmon and canned beans.
  4. Pre- and post-workout fuel. For those integrating exercise into their weight loss efforts, strategically incorporate protein-rich snacks before and after workouts. This aids in optimal muscle repair and recovery, enhancing the efficacy of your fitness routine. Even a handy protein bar will do the trick – just be sure to check the macronutrients for a high protein percentage.

Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of protein powder. Add it to oatmeal or smoothies, mix it with water and ice for a post-workout shake, or even use it in pancakes or muffins for a protein upgrade. Plant-based options are available for vegans.

Monitoring your protein and weight loss goals

Pay attention to how you feel after eating protein. Do you feel fuller for longer? Does it give you sustained energy? If so, you’re on the right track! Adjust your intake based on your body’s needs.

Protein is not just a nutrient; it’s a vital companion in your journey toward a healthier, fitter you. Enjoy a diverse and delicious array of protein-rich foods, savor your meals, and celebrate each stride forward. Remember to use Noom’s food logging and tracking features to monitor your protein intake and communicate openly with your clinician.

Anything is possible with Noom as your guide and protein as your fuel. It’s time to conquer your weight loss goals and build a healthier, happier you!

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Linda Anegawa, MD is Noom’s Chief Medical Officer where she brings decades of experience in academic primary care, bariatrics, advisory board service, and leadership in digital health. She is certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.