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#239 Why You Need Protein For Fat Loss

By Rachael Attard, Updated Jun 19, 2020
weight loss

A lot of people know that when trying to lose weight and improve your health, you should eat more protein. And this is true. You should also reduce your carb intake if you’re trying to lose weight (read more about this here).

Will Eating Protein Make Me More Bulky

OK before I get into WHY, I just wanted to clarify one thing about eating protein and building muscle. A lot of women ask me if they should reduce their protein intake to reduce their muscle size or prevent their muscles from getting too bulky. And it’s a fair question.

When you exercise, your muscles tear. When the muscles are repaired, they are bigger and stronger (i.e. this is what makes your muscles look bigger). Eating protein after a workout will help your muscles repair (protein is made from amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks for muscles).

If you cut down your protein intake, your muscles are still going to tear and repair themselves. Eating less protein will just mean your muscles will take longer to repair, which isn’t really a good thing. Eating less protein won’t change the shape of your muscles.

What actually causes your muscles to increase in size is the type of workout that you do, NOT your protein intake. As I said, protein just helps the muscles repair. So if you don’t want bulky muscles, you need to change your workout, not your protein intake.protein for fat loss

OK I hope that clarifies that! Let’s talk about the other reasons that you need protein, especially to help with fat loss :)

Protein Keeps You Full & Reduces Appetite

Eating more protein helps you feel more full and for longer, as it slows down digestion (see next point) and it affects your hormones that control the feelings of hunger/appetite and fullness (in a good way). This means that you are less likely to overeat and you will eat less calories overall.

I must mention here that fiber is also great for making you feel full. Protein and fiber together (and especially post workout) is great! I always try to have a protein smoothie after my workout. My smoothie usually contains banana, strawberries (both high in fiber and nutrients), protein powder, chia seeds (super high in fiber) and almond milk.how to eat sugar and not gain weight

Your Body Burns More Calories Digesting Protein

Eating protein actually helps you burn more calories because it has the highest thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food is how many calories your body burns digesting this food.

When you eat protein, 20-35% of this will be used up during digestion, compared to 5-15% for carbs and fats.

Protein Boosts Your Metabolism

A higher protein diet has been shown to boost your metabolism and increase your total amount of calories burned during the day, and even when you are sleeping!

Protein Helps You Recover Quicker

As I explained already, protein helps your muscles recover quicker and also helps to prevent soreness. This means you’ll be able to workout more and you won’t be left feeling sore for days.

Increasing your protein intake is one of the simplest things you can do to lose weight!

High Protein Foods

Some high protein foods include:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, beef (avoid processed meat such as deli meats and high fatty cuts)
  • Fish (salmon, trout, tuna, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Protein powder
Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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19 comments on “#239 Why You Need Protein For Fat Loss”

    Emily says:

    What’s a good protein powder vanilla low sugar

      Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      We usually recommend plant-based protein powders as they don’t have any dairy which can cause some unpleasant side effects.
      Of course, you can use whey powder if you prefer and aren’t lactose intolerant.

      Here are some of the best protein powders I would recommend:
      – Vega Clean Protein
      – Livwell protein blend
      – PranaOn Plant Protein

      For more helpful tips please have a read of this blog post.

    siaka smythe says:

    hi Rachel my weight is 65.1 how do I get it to 60 kg

      Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      I completely understand how you feel and I’ll do my best to help! :)

      If your goal is to slim down your legs, there are 3 steps you should follow – do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss.
      I have a very detailed blog post that will help you learn how to slim down your legs so please go give it a read.

      It will definitely help! :)

      Also, you can check out our 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. It was designed specifically for girls who are struggling to slim down their legs. :)

      If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@rachaelattard.com! xx


    Sónia says:

    Hello Rachael and Lean Legs Support Team!

    Some other trainers specialists in debulk muscles and shrink measures, argue that you shouldn’t consume protein right after exercise and wait about an hour or two after exercise, to shrink and sleek your body.What is your advise?

    Thank you so much for your answer!
    A big hug for all of you!

      Len - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! <3

      After your workout, you are best to eat a mixture of carbs and protein. Aim to eat a carb:protein ratio of 3:1. So if you’re having 15g of protein, aim for 60g of carbs.

      This is also the absolute best time to consume carbohydrates. Post-exercise, your body is in an anabolic state, so it needs carbohydrates to refuel the body, not store fat. I also recommend eating protein post-workout to help your muscles recover.

      I hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at info@rachaelattard.com


    Kim says:

    Hellloooo. So does Rachael put protein In her drink every day? How much is a scoop? And what is she currently using, is it still whey? Thank you!!

      Marina - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hey lovely,

      Rachael usually uses protein powder just once per day (she puts it in her morning smoothie). :)

      Scoop is around 30grams and Rachael usually recommends these brands:

      Vega Clean Protein

      Livwell protein blend

      PranaOn Plant Protein

      Let me know if you have any other questions!xx


    Krista says:

    Hi there, can you clarify what type of workouts you meant when you said to take protein after? Did you mean power walking, or resistance training?

    Also, I saw another blog where Rachael says she drank smoothie and added protein in the AM and for afternoon snack she suggested protein shake. Does that mean to consume it twice a day? I’m a mesomorph and it’s hard to know the percentage in consumption/per meal. Thank you<3

      Sanja - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      You can take the protein powder after any workout that you do. Doesn’t matter if it’s power walk or resistance training. Rachael usually puts protein powder in her morning smoothies after she’s done with her morning power walk, but the choice is yours :)

      The amount of protein powder that you consume will really depend on your diet. The reason that so many people take protein powders is because they find it difficult to get the recommended amount of protein from food, especially for those who don’t eat certain foods such as vegans/vegetarians, dairy intolerant, coeliacs, etc.

      Mesomorph’s diet needs to be 35-40% protein. If you are having a hard time getting that much protein from food and one protein shake, feel free to have a second protein shake. :)

      I hope this helps! xx

    Franki says:

    If I buy whey protein isolate can I use that as a meal replacement or only for after cardio workouts as I’m looking to lose muscle and fat ? xxx

      Marina - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hey lovely,
      Rachael usually puts protein powder in her morning smoothies after she’s done with her morning power walk :)
      If your goal is to reduce muscle bulk and fat, you can do the same. But don’t forget about the resistance training, cardio alone is not enough.
      Let me know if you have any other questions! xx

    Sarah Robertson says:

    I’m a little confused…. on some of your blogs you say eat low protein to reduce your muscle size then this blog says to eat more to help with weight lose and losing muscle which are both things that I want. Thank you for your help!

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi Sarah, I advise eating low carb to reduce muscle and lose weight, and eating moderate to high protein :) xx

    Megan says:

    Hi Rachael,

    I was wondering if whey protein isolate that has been processed with alkali is okay to take for fat loss in the belly?

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi Megan, I’m sure it will be fine :) But remember fat loss depends on what you eat over the entire day (and every day), not just the protein powder :) xx

    Aya says:

    Great information!! I am looking to lose some muscle by going low carb. I’ve read that low carb can be anywhere from 20 to 100 carbs a day. How many carbs a day do you consider to be low carb? How long will it take for low carb to reduce muscle bulk with low intensity cardio?

      Rachael Attard says:

      Hi Aya, have a look at this blog post on how to slim down muscular thighs as it might have some tips for you! You’re right in that low carb can really be anything between 20 to 100. I would consider anything under 100g to be low carb. Perhaps start with about 80g and see how you go. 20g is EXTREMELY low and most people do this with the ketosis diet. But it’s very extreme xx