Nutrition for weight loss can be a tricky thing to learn when transitioning to a healthy lifestyle. Eating enough lean protein for weight loss can be the trickiest. Consuming too little can lead to a weight loss plateau.
No doubt, protein for weight loss could, in fact, be the link you’ve been missing. As women over 40 embarking on our first real journey of sustainable weight loss, fitness and overall good health, there can be a lot to learn.
We read and hear about protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, whey protein, isolates, peptides, concentrates and even soy protein. It can be confusing, but I hope to simplify the protein benefits. You will soon know the different proteins and most importantly, how to effectively use them for weight loss and a healthy, fit lifestyle.
It can be confusing, but I hope to simplify the protein benefits. You will soon know the different proteins and most importantly, how to effectively use them for weight loss and a healthy, fit lifestyle.
Protein supplements aren’t only for the bodybuilder who could be on the cover of a gym advertisement. Protein supplements are for everyone who wants to be healthy!
Whey and Casein Protein for Weight Loss
Whey is the liquid part of milk when it is separated for cheese. The lumps, or curd is casein.
These are 2 common protein supplements often seen in protein supplements. Both have their place in a weight loss and healthy nutrition.
The protein in milk is made up of casein, 80%, while whey is 20%. The fatty part of the milk is what is used to make cheese.
When you open a container of yogurt and see the liquid on top, that is whey protein!
Whey protein is the purest and concentration containing 90% or more of protein.
- High in branch chain amino acids (amino acids bond together to make protein, protein is what our body needs to build tissue, and help our body to function)
Non-essential amino acids – Amino acids bond together to make protein, protein is what our body needs to build tissue, and help our body to function. There are 9 non-essential amino acids and are found in complete proteins.
Essential Amino Acids – These amino acids come from your nutrition. If you don’t obtain these in your diet, it causes muscle breakdown, muscle loss and tissues cannot repair itself. There are a total of 20 essential amino acids our body needs. (1)
- Rich in antioxidants
- Stimulates protein synthesis
Protein synthesis – building of tissue, including muscle
Common Types of Whey Protein
Isolates – The purest form of whey, very little, if any fat or lactose. Best to have whey protein isolates as the first ingredient in the protein supplement.
Peptides or hydrolysates – Smaller chains of amino acids, easier to digest. Predigested to help proteins to be easier to absorbed into the body. A great addition to your protein intake.
Concentrates – Contain more fat and lactose, think sugar & milk. This is the least effective type of whey, found in lower quality protein supplements.
Casein protein, also found in milk, is the curds when milk is separated.
Benefits of Casein
- Slowly digested
- Complete protein/complete amino acids
- Contains dairy calcium
- Reduces protein breakdown – tissue/muscle breakdown
Anti-catabolic – Preventing the breakdown of muscles. (2)
Negatives of Casein
- Not the best choice when you want the body to absorb the amino acids quickly in times such as after a workout.
- Lactose problems such as excessive gas, allergy issues
- Higher in sodium which causes bloating
Because casein does digest slowly, it is an excellent choice before bedtime or for a meal replacement.
Casein VS Whey – Which is Better?
Both should be utilized, not at the same time though since the casein (slowly digested) would be counterproductive to the whey (quickly digested and absorbed).
Protein for Weight Loss
What is the best way to incorporate the protein into our daily calorie intake for maximum weight loss and muscle toning?
Studies have slightly different results in the exact amount of protein someone needs to consume daily. The range varies between 0.08 – 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
If you have a lot of weight to use, calculate the protein intake for your goal weight rather than your current weight.
Likewise, to optimize weight loss based on macro percentages, some studies have shown this isocaloric diet to be optimal:
I recommend using a nutritional tracker such as MyFitnessPal to keep up with calories and more importantly, macros. You can insert your goals and it will determine the macros needed, keeping in mind how important protein for weight loss is.
Note that too much protein is as bad for you as not getting enough. Too much protein will result in the body storing the extra as fat.
More Research Supporting Protein for Weight Loss
This study has shown protein increases total calories burned daily.
This study showed a higher protein diet reduced cravings by 60%, reduced late night snacking by 1/2 through improved satiety for weight loss.
This study found foods high in tryptophan, such as whey protein, improved coping skills, depression probably through increased serotonin levels.
Whey protein is high in leucine, a branched chain amino acid that aids in burning fat. (3)
There can feel like there is a lot to learn about nutrition and protein for weight loss, but try not to get overwhelmed. Step by step, as you make the healthy, gradual changes, you will surely feel better, have more energy and feel younger.
Next…what’s a great daily protein plan? Accelerate your weight loss by this nutritional plan!