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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ashby

How Protein Can Help You Build Muscle And Lose Weight Naturally

Updated: May 6, 2023

Image: Pixabay

What is Protein?

Protein is an important part of our diet. It's essential for building and maintaining all types of body tissues and muscle. And, it performs other vital roles in your body. Now for something that might surprise you. Protein can actually help you lose weight - naturally. Read on to learn how much protein you need to stay healthy, where you can get it, and how it can help you get into shape.

Why Do You Need Protein?

Primarily, you need protein for muscle repair and growth. It also helps your body repair cells and make new ones and is essential for children, teens, and pregnant women's growth and development. It can also help you control your weight.

This is how.

  • You’re not so hungry. Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.

  • You feel satisfied. Protein boosts the hormones responsible for you feeling full up.

  • You burn more calories. Your body uses more calories to digest and metabolise protein than carbs and fat.

  • It boosts your metabolism. A high protein intake boosts your metabolism, so you burn more calories around the clock.

  • You’re less likely to crave unhealthy food. Protein can reduce your cravings and make you less likely to snack late at night.

  • You’re less likely to put weight back on. A higher protein intake may make you less likely to regain the weight you’ve worked hard to lose.

Eating plenty of protein can help prevent muscle loss when you lose weight. And, when combined with heavy strength training, it can help keep your metabolic rate high.

And there’s more….

Protein Performs Other Roles

One of these roles is driving chemical reactions throughout your body. In addition, some proteins help deliver important molecules where they’re needed.

Protein Is Good For Your Bones

People who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.

Protein Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Higher protein intakes have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood. Too many triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.

Protein Speeds Up Healing

Numerous studies demonstrate that eating more protein after an injury can help speed up recovery and wound healing.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Most sources recommend consuming around 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. So, an average male who weighs 70 kilograms should aim for 56 grams of protein, and an average female who weighs 57 kilograms should eat around 46 grams of protein.

However, although many researchers agree this amount may be enough to prevent protein deficiency, they say it may be too low to stay truly healthy in the long term. Older adults may require more than this amount to prevent age-related muscle loss, and those looking to lose weight or follow a high protein diet should also consume more protein.

Where Do You Get Protein?

Generally speaking, animal products are considered ‘complete protein’ because they contain all the essential amino acids in the optimal amounts your body needs. However, you can combine vegetable proteins with other plant sources to make complete protein.

Protein-rich foods include:

  • Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork.

  • Poultry, such as chicken, duck and turkey.

  • Eggs.

  • Dairy, including milk and yoghurt.

  • Cheese - but be careful - cheese also contains saturated fat.

  • Beans.

  • Tofu.

  • Soy or soybeans (edamame).

  • Legumes.

  • Nut butters.

  • Wheat germ.

  • Quinoa.

  • Fish and tinned fish.

  • Lentils.

  • Pulses.

  • Broad beans.

Suggestions, Tips and Ideas For Delicious Snacks and Meals

1. Serve eggs for breakfast!

Egg protein is used as the standard against which all other protein foods are assessed - and eggs are incredibly nutritious and high in protein. Replacing a grain-based breakfast with eggs has been shown to help you eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours and lose more weight and body fat.

Fact: A large egg contains 6g of protein.

2. Eat Baked beans on wholemeal toast for lunch.

3. Serve peas with your meal.

Fact: There is 5.4g of protein in an 80g portion of garden peas.

4. Eat quinoa.

Fact: Quinoa is a seed and is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids you find in animal protein.

According to the British Heart Foundation, an average woman can get the protein they need a day from the following menus.

Menu One.

Porridge with milk.

Lentil soup with wholemeal bread.

vegetable and bean chilli with brown rice.

fruit and natural yoghurt.

Menu Two.

Cornflakes and milk.

Reduced-fat cheddar and salad sandwich.

Tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake.

Handful of mixed nuts.

Menu Three.

Two scrambled eggs on toast.

Chicken sandwich.

Lamb chop with potatoes and vegetables.

Trail mix.

Protein: Key Takeaways

Protein is essential for repair and maintenance. It can also help with weight loss by helping you feel fuller and less hungry. Try to eat the recommended amount of protein every day for optimum health and get protein from non-meat sources such as pulses, nuts and grains. This is because meat heavy diets have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Finally, it’s best to spread your protein intake throughout the day by eating protein with every meal.

What’s your favourite source of protein? Do you have any tips or suggestions for snacks or meals? Share them in the comments below.

Ashby Adventure Trails and Treks is passionate about health and wellness. We're based in Coventry, Warwickshire, but we'd love to hear from you and support you on your journey wherever you are.


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