Dedicated: The Connection Between Protein and Appetite

If you’ve ever fallen off the diet wagon (and really, who hasn’t?) there’s a good chance that one of the reasons you’ll give goes a little something like this:

“But I was always HUNGRY!”

Feelings of hunger can very quickly sideline even the strongest resolve to lose weight. It’s not easy to ignore feelings of hunger. In fact, it can be dangerous to our health. Hunger is the body’s plea to be fed, which can spell disaster to your weight-loss plan – if you feed your body the wrong things. Studies have shown that eating protein can better control your appetite than eating things that are high in protein and/or carbs.

Of all the macronutrients, protein is believed to be the most filling, and fat the least filling. Some studies believe this is because protein macronutrients better supress the hunger hormone than other macronutrients. The trick is not just to consume protein in the proper amounts (in other words, eating until you are satisfied, not stuffed) but also to eat the right kinds of protein. Not all sources are created equal!  The best choices include:

  • Lean chicken or turkey
  • Lean beef or pork
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Low-fat cheeses
  • Low-fat milk
  • Soy products
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fish
  • Whey protein powder

Some research seems to indicate that eating adequate amounts of healthy proteins send a message to the brain to stop eating, resulting in consumption of fewer calories overall. Consuming a diet that is rich in these high-quality protein sources as well as healthy fats and fibre-rich foods will help to keep your weight-loss journey moving in the right direction. When we fill up on healthy foods that keep us full and satisfied longer, we eat less overall and succumb to fewer cravings for the things we shouldn’t be eating.

Before you chalk your diet disasters up to a sheer lack of willpower, take a look at what you’re eating. If your diet is lacking in protein, that could be to blame for your weight loss issues. It might be time to revamp your diet to up the consumption of healthy sources of protein. Some easy ideas to increase your protein intake include:

Breakfast:

  • Add some egg whites to your scrambled eggs
  • Serve your omelet alongside a couple of pieces of lean turkey bacon
  • Have a protein shake in the morning
  • Add Greek yogurt to your morning meal (it’s higher in protein than other types of yogurt!)

Lunch:

  • Add a slice of good-quality cheese to your sandwich
  • Eat a handful of almonds or a scoop of peanut butter
  • Enjoy a turkey burger
  • Wash down lunch with a tall glass of milk!

Dinner:

  • Dine on lean chicken or turkey
  • Have breakfast for dinner – eggs, omelets, lean turkey sausage, etc.
  • Have some low-fat frozen yogurt for dessert

By incorporating more protein into your diet, you can work to reduce your appetite and boost your weight-loss efforts at the same time. If you’re still “hungry” for more tips on how to reduce your appetite, try these out.