Indeed there are foods that promote weight loss, which can help you lose weight successfully and keep it off for the long term.
Let’s qualify that statement. Whilst it’s not technically correct to state that there are any foods that promote weight loss, foods high in protein probably come closest to fitting the bill.
Guide on Foods That Promote Weight Loss
Protein is the most important nutrient for weight loss for a number of reasons and protein foods should be eaten with every meal.
Protein Controls Hunger…
Protein satisfies you like no other nutrient. Protein-rich foods when eaten send signals to the brain that stop you from feeling hungry for hours. More so than either carbohydrate or fat.
As your body digests protein it’s broken down into amino acids. Some of these enter the brain and affect the signals controlling how hungry or full you feel.
Essentially, the balance of amino acids tells the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls your appetite that you are full and to stop eating.
Furthermore, your body can digest and store very little protein.
Your body can store virtually unlimited amounts of fat and you can eat a lot of calories before you feel full. Think chocolate! Fat is the least satisfying nutrient…in terms of your hunger that is!
Your body can store around 500-600 calories of carbohydrate in the muscles, liver and blood, so you can eat quite a few calories of carbohydrate-rich foods before you feel full. A whole bowl of pasta for instance. Carbs are more satisfying than fat.
However, your body can store very little protein and can deal with around 25-50 grams in one go – a chicken breast or two. The result is you get full fast when eating protein-rich foods.
Think you could eat a 24 oz steak, a whole chicken, a couple of tins of tuna in one sitting!
Now we’re not talking the Atkins Diet here, although he was right about the effects of protein on weight loss. Protein is one of the best foods that promote weight loss because, simply put, if you eat a diet rich in protein you will automatically eat less.
A 300-500 calorie meal with lots of protein will fill you up far more and for longer than a plate of carbs with the equivalent calorie content.
Protein Boosts Your Metabolism…
Eating protein stimulates your pancreas to produce a hormone called glucagon. Now, glucagon appears to have an important role in stimulating your fat burning metabolism.
Your metabolic rate is basically the amount of energy your body burns each day. A high metabolism means you’re burning lots of calories and are more likely to use the food you eat for energy rather than store it as fat.
A slow metabolism, due to a sedentary lifestyle, irregular eating habits or constant dieting means that you’re more likely to store fat and gain weight.
So, eating a diet rich in protein will help to keep your body in fat burning mode rather than fat storing mode for longer.
The result, you’re more likely to burn fat and lose weight when you eat some protein foods that promote weight loss with each meal.
Protein Counters the Effects of Insulin…
When you eat sugary or starchy carbs they are quickly broken down into sugar and enter your bloodstream. Your body produces the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar level.
You either burn the sugar to supply energy for exercise or every day activities, or it’s sent off to be stored as fat. Insulin is your fat storing hormone.
When you eat protein, glugagon is produced and this helps to counteract the effects of insulin.
Eating protein foods that promote weight loss and fewer carbs helps to control blood sugar levels, increase glucagon production and reduce the need for insulin production. Result? You’re less likely to store fat and more likely to lose weight!
Muscle is responsible for most of the calories your body burns each day. Muscle tissue is composed of protein. Generally, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn each day.
When dieting, or starving, your body breaks down and burns muscle tissue for energy. Eating sufficient protein foods that promote weight loss helps to spare muscle tissue, which is a good thing as you’ll burn more calories and lose more weight.
Protein Helps You Feel Good…
Protein foods contain large quantities of the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, which increase the production in your brain of the feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Dopamine helps to increase your concentration, mental energy and alertness.
As a result, a protein-rich diet full of the foods that promote weight loss will help you to feel focused, positive and on track. A positive mind set and mental attitude will greatly enhance your chances of successfully losing weight and keeping it off!
Protein May Help You Look Younger…
Not strictly a weight loss tip, more a bonus really! There is some good evidence that a diet rich in protein foods can protect and repair your skin.
Over 80% of the damage our skin suffers on a day to day basis is caused by exposure to the sun. Covering up and wearing a high skin protection factor sunscreen helps, but you’ll still experience some damage and premature ageing, visible as lines and wrinkles.
Your skin’s tone and elasticity is due to collagen fibers, which are largely composed of protein. Protein in the diet can help replenish the skin’s collagen and keep it looking more youthful.
After all, dietary protein is used to repair our bodies and without an adequate protein intake, the constant repair that our bodies require is compromised, resulting in premature ageing. As your body can store little protein, a regular intake is essential.
Some studies have shown that oily fish are particularly valuable in this respect as they contain chemicals that cause contraction in the muscles under the skin, again improving skin tone.
We’re currently writing a book on how your diet can help to keep you looking and feeling younger. Watch out for it on this website!
See why we think protein is one of the foods that promote weight loss?
An adequate daily protein intake means you’ll feel less hungry, have more energy, burn more fat, feel good, feel alert, feel positive, have fewer sugar spikes and cravings – and you may even end up looking younger as well!
There are some other foods that may promote weight loss. Take a look at the 14 superfoods that may help you to lose weight and prevent a range of dietary related illness and disease.
For more information on how much protein you need each day to lose weight and to keep it off check out our pages on the power of protein, high protein food and high protein snacks.