When fat loss is the goal, feeling hungry between meals may usually be an initial symptom. Although, to be successful with long-term fat loss, we need strategies that help manage that hunger. Here’s why whey protein (assuming you don’t have a sensitivity to it) can help.
Researchers from Perth, Australia examined how four different types of protein (whey, tuna, turkey, and egg) affected the blood profiles and hunger levels of 22 lean, healthy men.
It worked like this: the men ate 50 grams of whichever protein they had that day (the study was a “randomized crossover trial,” meaning that all of the men tried all of the proteins at one point or another), and 4 hours later they were offered a buffet.
The researchers were interested in how many calories the subjects ate at those buffets, and also took blood samples at regular intervals to measure the protein’s effect on their blood glucose and insulin.
Whey protein was the best at limiting hunger. It wasn’t even close. The men ate significantly fewer calories during the subsequent meal after consuming whey protein than all of the others.
And if you’re not into dairy, no worries. Pea protein can also effective, studies show.
Prior to your main meals of the day, drink a protein shake, ideally 10 minutes before the meal. This tip works even better when making a thicker shake by using ice and a blender. Why? Because a thicker shake takes up more volume in the stomach, and that’s the purpose of this pre-meal shake. You’re more likely to eat less calories overall in your meal because of the shake prior.
That is the ultimate key to fat loss: eating less.
This is also a great practice when heading to the grocery store or a restaurant. Doing this will stave off uncomfortable hunger pangs and will keep your head clear to make better food decisions when buying at the store or ordering at a restaurant.
Make sure to drink the shake 10-30 minutes before the meal or it will defeat the purpose. You’re not using it merely for additional protein, but as a tool to reduce subsequent food intake.
And contrary to popular belief, not all protein shakes are the same. Different ingredients do different things and there is a variety of sources that proteins can come from. Look for quality whey proteins (from grass-fed cows), plant-based sources or collagen protein.
I’m always looking for and thinking of things that can “automate” my behaviors to make fat loss easier. If you’re on a diet and your portions are reduced, having that shake will still leave you satisfied even when eating less than usual. And if you are “free-eating” (no planned portions) the pre-meal shake will prevent splurges. Don’t forget to do this prior to grocery shopping and eating out to limit junk food consumption.