Want to build muscle? Eat more protein. Want to lose weight? The answer is still the same: Eat more protein.
That’s the conclusion of a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which analyzed 20 years’ worth of literature on the subject. Here are their findings:
1. It works your metabolism 10 percent more. Eat carbs, and your body just uses up 5 to 10 percent of its energy to metabolize. Eat fats, and the amount is even less: just 0 to 3 percent. Protein, however, requires 20 to 30 percent of its usable energy to metabolize and store it.
If you’re losing weight, a high-protein diet also prevents dips in energy expended while you rest. This means you’re still burning calories, even when you’re just sitting down.
2. It lessens your appetite. Eating protein stimulates peptides PYY and GLP-1, which are associated with feeling full and eating less. It’s also been shown to reduce ghrelin, a hormone that revs up your hunger.
However, the study authors offer up a disclaimer: Of the studies they analyzed, only three found that high-protein diets reduced the amount participants ate in their next meal. On the other hand, no study reported a weakening of appetite control.
3. It burns off the weight better. The authors cite research done on 1,037 overweight individuals, which found that those on high-protein diets lost more weight after around three months than those on low-protein diets. What exactly do they mean by “high-protein”? That means all the meals for the day were made up of 27 to 35 percent protein.
Meanwhile, another study, this time on patients suffering from diabetes, also found that a high-protein diet also equals high weight loss, with the added benefit of reduced blood pressure readings.
4. It keeps the weight off longer. Studies that took the long-term view were also examined by the researchers. In general, people on high-protein diets had better weight management and reduced cardiometabolic risk factors, even after being on the program for 12 months or more.
However, the authors note that the dropout percentage when it comes to high-protein diets is higher. Whether it's through cost, taste, or other factors, it may be harder to stick to a lean, mean, muscle diet for the long term. So if you're going to start one, you better know what you're getting into.
This story originally appeared on Menshealth.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors