Weight loss: ‘Higher protein’ diet associated with ‘less belly fat’ – best foods to eat

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Weight loss occurs when the body is in a calorie deficit, which means consuming less energy than the body is using. Although sustainable weight loss is often a slow process, consuming protein each day can have beneficial impacts.

According to Healthline, protein is the “single most important” nutrient for weight loss.

This is because a high protein intake helps to boost the metabolism as well as reducing appetite. 

It is well known that those with a higher metabolism burn more calories both during exercise and at rest.

Healthline added: “A high protein intake can make you burn 80-100 more calories per day, with one study showing an increase of 260 calories during overfeeding.”

Protein-rich foods can help keep slimmers fuller for longer, reducing the need for snacking throughout the day.

This can have an impact on overall calories consumed each day.

On top of this, protein can have an effect on both cravings and the desire to snack late at night.

Healthline states: “Eating more protein can lead to major reduction in cravings and the desire to snack late at night.

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“These changes should make it easier to stick to a healthier diet.”

What’s more, a protein-rich diet has also been associated with a lower level of belly fat, according to one expert.

Christine Bailey, top nutritionist and author, explained: “If you’re trying to lose weight and cut the calories, one thing you should not skimp on is protein.

“A high protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness.

“Protein supports a healthy metabolism and helps you retain muscle mass while you lose fat.

“Various observational studies have shown a higher protein intake is associated with less belly fat.

The expert recommends making sure that every meal contains a good source of protein, including breakfast.

She added: “Think eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy, beans and pulses.”

As well as incorporating lots of protein into your diet, it is just as important to cut things out, including decreasing your sugar intake.

Christine explained: “We know sugar in its various forms is not great for our health, but it’s also not good for our waistline.

“Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. Don’t think that ‘natural sugars’ such as maple syrup or agave nectar are any better for your waistline either.

“Fructose found in many syrups, drinks, fruit juices and fruit smoothies has been shown to increase belly fat.

“There are healthier options available of which xylitol, a type of natural sugar alternative made from plants, is one.”

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