How Does a High Protein Diet Aid Weight Loss?

Written by: Ashleigh Tosh



Time to read min

We all know that weight loss can be a challenging journey. It requires dedication, consistency, and making choices that support our health goals. 


And while exercise plays a crucial role, a well-balanced diet is equally, if not actually more important.


Now, if you’re new to the weight loss journey scene, you’ve probably encountered your fair share of misinformation, contradictory advice and confusing “evidence,” but we’re here to cut through all that nonsense to help make your weight loss as simple as possible.


It honestly, truly is not as complicated as some of your favourite insta stars would make out to be.  No, you don’t need to cut carbs.  No, you don’t need to live off shakes.  No, you don’t need to fast for 20 hours of the day.  No, you don’t need to go keto, paleo, carnivorous…


You simply NEED to be in a calorie deficit and make sure you’re consuming enough protein to suit your goals.


Yes folks, by simply incorporating high-protein foods into your daily diet, you’ll find shedding those unwanted pounds becomes a whole lot easier.  


In this article, we will delve into why a high protein diet can be beneficial for weight loss, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness, and practical tips to ensure you're getting enough protein to help you on your journey.

What is a High Protein Diet?

High Protein Salad

Before we delve deeper into the benefits of a high protein diet, let's understand what it means.


In a nutshell, a high protein diet is one that consists mainly of foods that are rich in – ding ding - protein.


This includes sources like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and even plant-based options like soy, quinoa, and tofu.

So How Does High Protein Aid Weight Loss?

Protein, as a macronutrient, plays several crucial roles in our bodies, but when it comes to weight loss, a high protein diet can bring about positive changes in so many ways.

Boosts Metabolism

One of the key benefits of a high protein diet is its ability to boost metabolism. Our body requires energy to break down and process the food we eat. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).


Protein has the highest thermic effect among all macronutrients, meaning it requires more energy to digest and absorb compared to carbohydrates and fats. This no effort increase energy expenditure contributes to you burning more calories throughout the day.


AKA – it increases your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) without even trying, and that’s a good thing.

Promotes Fullness and Reduces Appetite

Ever wondered why protein-rich meals keep you feeling fuller for longer? It's because protein has a satiating effect, which means it reduces feelings of hunger and helps control cravings.


How does it do that?


Well, when we consume protein, it triggers the release of hormones that signal fullness, such as peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). By curbing hunger pangs and reducing overall calorie intake, a high protein diet can support weight loss goals.

Preserves Muscle Mass

Losing weight is not just about shedding fat; it's also important to preserve muscle mass. You see, muscle is metabolically active tissue that helps burn calories even at rest and a high protein diet can assist in preserving muscle mass during weight loss.


In fact, research has shown that consuming an adequate amount of protein not only prevents muscle loss but may also promote muscle growth when combined with exercise. So, not only will you be losing fat, but you'll also be maintaining and improving your muscle tone – whoop whoop!

High Protein Diet vs. Other Weight Loss Diets

Protein for Weight Loss

Now that we understand the benefits of a high protein diet, let's compare it to other popular weight loss diets.

Low-Fat Diets

Low-fat diets have been a common approach to weight loss for decades. While reducing fat intake can be beneficial, it's important to choose the right types of fats and not eliminate them entirely.


Unlike low-fat diets, high protein diets have the advantage of promoting satiety, which can reduce the inclination to overeat or indulge in unhealthy snacks.

Low-Carb Diets

Low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, have gained significant popularity in recent years. While low-carb diets can lead to initial weight loss, they may be difficult to sustain in the long run.


High protein diets, on the other hand, offer a more balanced approach by providing the necessary nutrients while still supporting weight loss goals. Additionally, protein helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes.


Before we move on, we would like to make one thing very clear… there are NO BAD MACRONUTRIENTS.


Fats, Carbs and Protein all have a place in your daily diet, and cutting one out in favour of another does nothing but simply promote an extreme diet ideology.  If your goal is to live healthily – trust us – an extreme diet is not the way to do so.


The best “diet” is a balanced diet so your body can thrive without losing an essential macronutrient in the mix.

Practical Tips for Implementing a High Protein Diet for Weight Loss

High Protein Foods

So, have we done it?  Have we shown you how a high protein diet can aid your weight loss journey? Yes? FAB – now that you get it (and we’re so glad you do), here are some practical tips to ensure you're getting enough protein to hit that high protein goal.

1. Set Protein Intake Goals

The recommended protein intake varies depending on factors like age, gender, weight, and activity level. As a general guideline, aim for about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.


However, individuals engaging in intense physical activity or strength training may need higher amounts, approximately 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

2. Include Protein in Every Meal

Make sure to incorporate a source of protein into every meal. This could be eggs or Greek yogurt for breakfast, lean meats or legumes for lunch and dinner, and cottage cheese or protein shakes for snacks.

3. Be Mindful of Portion Sizes

While protein is essential, excessive intake of calories can hamper weight loss efforts. Be mindful of portion sizes and balance them with other macronutrients, such as healthy fats and carbohydrates.

4. Experiment with Different Protein Sources

Don't limit yourself to a few protein-rich foods. Experiment with a variety of sources to keep meals interesting and prevent boredom. Try incorporating plant-based proteins like quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas into your meals for added fibre and nutrients.

5. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is key to supporting a healthy metabolism, digestion, and nutrient absorption. Adequate hydration is especially important when following a high protein diet as it helps the body process and utilise the protein efficiently.

How Do You Know You're Getting Enough Protein?

Credit: Ben Coomber, 

While implementing a high protein diet for weight loss, it's essential to ensure you're meeting your protein requirements. Here are a few signs that indicate you're getting enough protein:


  • You feel satisfied after meals and aren't experiencing constant hunger or food cravings.
  • You have consistent energy levels throughout the day.
  • Your hair, nails, and skin appear healthy and vibrant.
  • You're building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
  • You're making progress towards your weight loss goals.


If you're unsure about your protein intake or have specific dietary concerns, it's always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalised guidance.

Final Thoughts...

Incorporating a high protein diet into your weight loss journey can be a delicious and effective way to shed those extra pounds. By boosting metabolism, promoting fullness, reducing appetite, and preserving muscle mass, protein becomes a powerful ally in achieving sustainable weight loss goals.


Remember to set protein intake goals, include protein in every meal, be mindful of portion sizes, and experiment with different protein-rich foods.


By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of a high protein diet while nourishing your body and achieving long-term weight loss success.


Ashleigh Tosh

Ashleigh Tosh

Ashleigh - writer by day, reader by night, self-professed foodie at all times... A former broadcast journalist, she's been writing for the health & wellness industry for over 10 years and is passionate about all things food & fitness. When she's not clickety-clacking on the keyboard, you can find her in the gym, in the kitchen or up a Munro.