You all know well by now that I “push” adequate protein intake A LOT.
This applies whether you eat meat, vegetarian, plant-based, etc.
No matter what your goals are – weight loss, longevity, better recovery from workouts, lowering // managing cholesterol + hormones, sleeping better, etc. – consuming ENOUGH protein, consistently will help you get there.
There is a theory called the protein leverage hypothesis. This theory suggests that the body regulates food intake based on the amount of protein in the diet.
According to the hypothesis, when protein is low, relative to carbohydrates and fats, people tend to overeat to meet their protein requirements.
(Read that again!)
…if you don’t get enough protein, it is likely that you will overeat in other areas.
It’s no coincidence that “Big Food” formulates ultra-processed foods to dilute protein with excess carbs and fat.
Cheap ingredients + easy to overeat = more revenue.
This is also a recipe for obesity and metabolic dysfunction.
Numerous animal and human studies have explored the protein leverage hypothesis to understand its potential implications for obesity.
I’m sharing 3 below. Check out the “Abstract” portion of each – all a 1-2 minute read.
In 2005, Simpson and Raubenheimer analyzed the effects of varying protein content in the diets of rats and found that they adjusted their total food intake to maintain a constant level of protein intake.
In 2011, Gosby et al. investigated humans’ eating behavior with different protein proportions and observed that individuals compensated for low-protein diets by increasing their energy intake (aka ate more calories than they needed).
A meta-analysis in 2021 by Hansen et al. found that increasing dietary protein led to a greater reduction in body weight compared to controls >> people who restricted their calories and ate the exact same amount of calories every day.
One more time because this is an important takeaway:
People who ate adequate amounts of protein consistently, and did not control their caloric intake (aka they didn’t count their calories) had a greater reduction in body weight than those who didn’t get enough protein AND counted their calories.
These studies support the importance of leveraging dietary protein to prevent overeating and promote a healthy body composition through greater satiety and nutrient density.
Ultimately: make sure you are PRIORITIZING protein with every meal.
A last note on protein – quality is important.
If you are a meat eater and need to budget – spend your money on HIGH QUALITY PROTEINS and buy conventional (vs organic) produce (and wash really well before consuming).
As a reminder – High Quality Proteins include:
Grass Fed // Finished Beef
Free Range // Organic Chicken + Eggs
Wild Caught Fish // Seafood
Grass Fed // Raw (Unpasteurized) Dairy
And note for my vegetarians and plant-based practicers:
Approach your meals from the perspective of: “How do I get enough protein at this meal?” vs simply gravitating toward the foods you CAN eat (with the latter approach, I find that many with this lifestyle ultimately over-eat carbohydrates and fats). Just because you don’t eat (whether due to beliefs, personal preference, etc) easy, readily-available proteins – like meat, etc. – doesn’t mean you don’t NEED the same amount of protein as those who do. It just takes more intentionality on your part to make it happen.
Set your intentions for the week + send any questions my way!