Can protein make you gain weight?

Protein & weight gain

Protein is necessary for weight loss, but too much can lead to weight gain. Most noteworthy, excess chronic protein intake from animal sources may cause severe health problems. So, prefer protein from plant-based sources!

We gain weight when we consume too many calories

Losing weight is simple. We lose weight when we burn more calories than we consume. Practically, we should eat less, or exercise more, in order, to lose weight.

Protein can make you gain weight, as it has calories. 1g of protein or carb has 4 calories. Furthermore, 1g of fat has 9 calories! Therefore, consuming excess calories from protein won’t help you lose more weight. On the contrary, high amounts of protein can make you fat.

We need protein, carbs & fats

Nowadays, most people worry about their protein intake. But, protein deficiency is really rare. Actually, healthy adults with minimal physical activity need only 0.8g protein per kg of body weight a day.[1] For instance, someone who weights 160 lbs (72.5 kg) needs only 58g protein a day!

Actually, we consume more protein than we actually need. Only a small percentage consume less the recommended daily dose.[2] In fact, many people consume more than 100g of protein daily. Excess protein may cause weight gain, as it has calories.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we need about 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein, and 20-35% fat of total calories.[3] People who want to lose weight shouldn’t exceed the recommended proportions of macronutrients. Above all, we shouldn’t consume more calories than we actually burn.

Therefore, consuming more than 35% protein of total calories may lead to weight gain. Excess protein intake decreases carb and fat intake which isn’t good for health or losing weight.

According to a study, chronic high doses of protein may make you fat at long-term! People who increased protein intake, replacing carbs, significantly gained weight.[4] On the contrary, when protein replaced fat didn’t lead to weight gaining!

Low fiber may lead to weight gain

Besides protein, we need carbs and fat for a good metabolism that burns fat effectively. A diet high in protein is typically low in carbs, and especially dietary fiber!

Fiber is necessary for weight loss. Adequate amounts of fiber significantly reduces the risk of obesity.[5] Fiber helps people to consume fewer calories, as it regulates appetite.

We need about 28g fiber on a 2,000 calorie diet. Unfortunately, most people who follow a standard American diet which is particularly high in protein, fail to consume the recommended daily fiber intake. Foods containing protein from animal sources, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, don’t contain any dietary fiber.

Plant-based protein won’t make you fat

On the contrary, plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, whole-cereals, nuts, seeds, and even vegetables are also great sources of fiber. Fiber helps us lose weight. We should eat high amounts of these foods. Even seeds and nuts which contain too many calories can help us burn fat and lose weight.

So, we can eat up to 2 handfuls of mixed seeds and nuts daily. Actually, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios contain high amounts of protein, and they’re super beneficial for weight loss.

Protein is good for weight loss

Certainly, proper amounts of protein are beneficial for weight loss.

First, protein has a great satiating score! It keeps us full for a long time. So, we consume fewer calories. Besides protein, foods high in water and fiber have a huge filling effect.[6] On the contrary, foods with fat won’t help you regulate hunger. Vegetables contain high amounts of water & fiber, decent amounts of protein, and no fat! So, eat a huge salad daily, with cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, or any other veggie, to lose weight.

Additionally, food with protein has the highest thermic effect! The digestion of food needs energy. Especially, the digestion of protein burns about 20-30% of calories![7] The digestion of carbs burns only 5-10% of calories, and the digestion of fat burns 0-3% of calories. So, when we follow a high-protein diet, we burn more calories!

Moreover, protein protects muscle mass which is necessary for good metabolism. Muscle mass needs protein. If you want to lose weight, you should follow a diet low in calories. Unfortunately, when we consume fewer calories, we don’t lose only fat tissue. We lose muscle mass, as well. But, muscle mass burns too many calories to function properly. So, we should protect muscle mass, eating adequate amounts of protein, especially when dieting!

Too much protein can make us fat

Most people who don’t exercise regularly need only 0.8g protein per kg of body weight a day. Hence, most people don’t need more than 70g of protein a day. A well-balanced diet can easily provide this dosage! You don’t need more protein, unless you’re an athlete. Higher protein dosage than the recommended daily intake can make you fat. Your body will store excess protein as fat.

Remember… 1g of protein has 4 calories! For instance, 50g of excess protein a day will make you gain 1 pound of body weight in less than 3 weeks, as this excess protein dose will give you 200 extra calories a day!

Above all, calorie restriction is key for weight loss. You’ll gain weight either eating too much protein, carbs, or fat. Just follow a well-balanced diet. You need protein. But, too much protein can be a problem. As too many carbs or fat…

Can protein supplements make you gain weight?

Athletes and active people have higher protein needs. The easiest way to boost their daily protein intake is to take protein supplements. 1 scoop of most protein supplements contains about 120 calories.[8] As athletes have much higher calorie needs, 120 extra calories from protein aren’t too much. Protein supplements won’t make athletes fat.

But, protein supplements may make someone who doesn’t need extra protein, gain weight. Supplements provide extra calories!

Moreover, there are protein supplements which are specifically designed for weight gain. These protein supplements are particularly rich in calories. They may contain even 1,300 calories per serving![9] In most cases, they contain extremely high amounts of sugars, as well. They’re called Mass Gainers for a reason… These specific protein supplements can absolutely make you fat. You should avoid them, if you don’t want to gain several pounds of weight…

A diet high in animal protein isn’t good for health

You shouldn’t consume more protein than you actually need. First, excess calories from protein can make you gain weight. Most noteworthy, higher protein intake than the recommended daily dosage may increase the risk of many diseases, at long-term![4] Especially excess protein from animal sources!

For instance, diets high in protein coming from red meat seem to increase the risk of certain types of cancer or coronary heart disease![10] Excess saturated fat, cholesterol, and carcinogen compounds in meat are only a few reasons for avoiding red meat. Additionally, cow’s milk has saturated fat and hormones that can make us gain weight.

Eating plant-based foods containing protein is the safest way to boost your protein intake. Plants contain tiny amounts of saturated fat, and no cholesterol. On the contrary, plants are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that are beneficial for good health.

Therefore, try to eat lots of beans, nuts, seeds, whole-cereals, and even vegetables to take your recommended daily intake of protein. Plant-based sources of protein can give you more protein than you actually need without increasing the risk of disease. On the contrary, they’re good for you.