Why Protein Is The Best Macronutrient to Keep You Full
Protein is a key macronutrient that is important for building and repairing muscle tissue. But did you know that it is also the best macronutrient for keeping you feeling full? In this blog, we will explore why protein is the best macronutrient to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Protein Digestion Process
Protein takes longer to digest and absorb than carbohydrates and fats. It is broken down into amino acids in the stomach, which then enter the bloodstream and travel to various parts of the body, including the brain. The brain then sends a signal to the body to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. This process is called satiety (Halton & Hu, 2004).
The satiety index is a ranking of different foods based on how full they make you feel after eating them. Foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, fish, and meat, rank high on the satiety index (Holt et al., 1995). This means that they keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
Protein and Hunger Hormones
Protein has been shown to affect the levels of hunger hormones in the body. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger, while leptin is a hormone that signals to the brain that you are full. Research has shown that protein can reduce ghrelin levels and increase leptin levels, which helps to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness (Paddon-Jones et al., 2008).
High-protein diets have been shown to be effective in reducing hunger and promoting weight loss. A study conducted by Leidy et al. (2013) found that individuals who consumed a high-protein breakfast reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied throughout the day compared to individuals who consumed a high-carbohydrate breakfast. Another study conducted by Paddon-Jones et al. (2008) found that a high-protein diet can increase weight loss and reduce hunger.
Protein is the best macronutrient for keeping you feeling full and satisfied. It takes longer to digest and absorb, which helps to slow down the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine. It also affects the levels of hunger hormones in the body (such as leptin), which helps to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness.
Therefore, consuming a diet that is high in protein can be an effective way to reduce hunger and promote weight loss. This is especially the case for those who have a particular variant in the FTO gene, whereby a high protein diet has been shown to increase weight loss results by up to 220% by this 2-year-long study.
Halton, T. L., & Hu, F. B. (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: A critical review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(5), 373–385.
Holt, S. H., Miller, J. C., Petocz, P., & Farmakalidis, E. (1995). A satiety index of common foods. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(9), 675–690.
Leidy, H. J., Ortinau, L. C., Douglas, S. M., & Hoertel, H. A. (2013). Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(4), 677–688.
Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R. D., Wolfe, R. R., Astrup, A., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and sat