Protein & Weight Loss: Are you getting enough?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since starting my healthier lifestyle of clean eating and personal training is the importance of protein in our diets.
Did you know that an active female who is weight training or in weight loss mode should be getting half of their body weight in grams of protein each day. For example, a woman who weighs 120 lbs should be consuming 60 grams of protein daily*.
So why is protein so important for weight loss? There are a number of reasons why you should add more protein to your diet when you’re trying to lose weight and/or weight training. Here are some of the benefits:
- Influences your metabolic rate
- Helps you maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Improves the health of your muscles
- Improves overall immunity
- Improves antioxidant function
- Builds HDL Cholesterol (the good Cholesterol)
- Enhances insulin and leptin function (both aid in weight control)
Since starting my weight training and clean eating, I have been including protein shakes in my meal plan twice a day. For breakfast I enjoy a shake with various fruits and veggies for a hearty kick-start in the morning.
After dinner, for my evening snack, I enjoy a chocolate or vanilla shake with almond milk and ice. No fruit after 6pm! I’m finding this routine to be really helpful for a few different reasons. Of course the benefits mentioned above but also for curbing my appetite. I find that when I am getting enough protein in my diet, I crave less ‘bad’ foods and I have an overall feeling of contentment when it comes to hunger.
The sweet flavours that the shakes come in also help with my sugary cravings. Who doesn’t love a chocolate shake for a snack?
You may have already noticed that there are a wide variety of protein powders on the market and that can be overwhelming. Not only are there many shake brands but also many types of proteins; Whey, Soy, Hemp etc. How to choose?
I’m not an expert on protein by any means but I do know a few of things that I look for in a good brand:
- How many grams of protein in each serving?
- How many calories per serving?
- What is the powder sweetened with?
- What other vitamins and nutrients are included?
- What type of protein is used?
I like to get my protein from a variety of sources; first naturally from fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts etc. And then from protein shake supplements. With shakes I like to switch up the type of protein I consume as all the different types have benefits.
I usually stick to Whey protein and a vegetable protein. I really like Whey Gourmet Naturelle and Arbonne Vitamin/Mineral Shakes both are clean versions of protein supplements.
WHEY GOURMET NATURELLE
- Whey protein blend
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- 6 different flavours including chocolate, strawberry and vanilla bean
- No artificial flavours
- 2 grams of fat per serving
- 100% natural flavours and sweeteners (Stevia)
- 120 calories per serving
- $2.05 per serving
ARBONNE VITAMIN & MINERAL SHAKES
- Vegan protein blend
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- 20 essential vitamins and minerals
- Vanilla or chocolate flavours
- Gluten free
- Sweetened with Stevia
- No artificial colours or sweeteners
- No cholesterol or saturated/trans fats
- 130 calories per serving
- $2.30 per serving
I buy my Whey Gourmet Naturelle at the Real Canadian Superstore in the health food section. You can also buy them online at wheygourmet.com for Canadians.
The Arbonne shakes can be ordered through an Arbonne representative. I received mine from Shana Recker, Regional Vice President – Independent Consultant for Arbonne. You can visit her site to order.
Regardless of how you choose to up your protein intake, I do highly recommend trying this as part of your weight loss or maintenance program. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*Note: there are many schools of thought on calculating your protein needs as well as many reasons why one may need more or less protein in their diet. Consult a healthcare professional before making any changes in your diet.