22nd May 2023

Our top tip for weight loss? Eat more protein!

When it comes to weight loss, there are those who champion low-fat diets, versus those who favour low-carb lifestyles. However, regardless of the weight loss diet you choose to follow, protein is one nutrient that is key. Protein and weight loss go hand in hand, and eating enough of this macronutrient is essential to losing weight healthily and effectively.

But what exactly is protein, and why is it so important? Keep reading to find out the benefits of a protein-rich diet and our top tips for boosting your daily intake.

What is protein?

Protein, fat and carbohydrates are all macronutrients, which means they are nutrients we need in large amounts to provide us with calories and energy. Protein in particular provides many benefits to the body. It is so important, in fact, that it derives its name from the Greek word ‘proteios’ meaning ‘first rank’, or ‘primary’. [1]

Protein can be found in animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy, and plant-based sources such as beans, pulses and nuts. When we digest protein from foods or drinks, it is broken down into amino acids which then join together to form long chains, similar to a string of beads (with each bead being an amino acid). There are 20 amino acids that help form thousands of different proteins in your body. 

Protein does most of its work in cells and performs various jobs around the body. It is found in our muscles, skin, organs, bone, hair and virtually every other body part or tissue.

How much protein should you eat?

Unlike carbohydrates and fat, the body cannot store protein, so it’s important to eat quality sources of protein each day to reap the benefits. 

We recommend eating at least 60g of protein per day. To put that into perspective, the average 100g chicken breast is around 31g of protein. Similarly, a medium egg contains around 6g of protein, a cup of chickpeas contains roughly 14g and broccoli totals around 4g of protein per stalk.

While it may seem difficult to track macronutrients, there are plenty of tools you can use to help, including The Fast 800 Online Programme. All of our meal plans, designed by our team of expert nutritionists, include at least 60g of daily protein so you can rest assured you’re always eating the optimal amount.

The benefits of protein

There are important benefits to consuming the recommended 60g of protein a day. In addition to boosting the metabolism, reducing appetite, and changing weight-regulating hormones, a protein-rich diet can also:

  • Maintain good bone health [2]
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis [3]
  • Lower blood pressure [4]
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease [5]
  • Speed up injury recovery [6]

Whether attempting to lose weight or not, we all have something to gain from the effects of a protein-rich diet. However, this macronutrient has been shown to have a great impact on weight loss if that is your goal. 

Let’s delve into protein and weight loss.

Protein and weight loss

So, we know that this macronutrient is essential for good bodily health, but what about when it comes to protein and weight loss, specifically?

Here are just some of the ways that boosting your protein intake can assist in effective weight loss:

  • Increases satiety and decreases hunger
    Protein helps you stay fuller for longer, as it has been linked to an increased secretion of GIP and GLP-1, which are satiety hormones, and a reduction of the hunger hormone ghrelin. [7] One particular study showed that a high-protein breakfast decreased ghrelin concentrations more strongly than a high-carbohydrate diet, and reduced the speed of gastric emptying. [8] 
  • Improves thermogenesis [9]
    Thermogenesis is the process of producing heat by burning calories. Protein is proven to have a much higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fat. [10] As a result, this means that you’re burning more calories around the clock on a high-protein diet, including during sleep. Leading us to our next point. 
  • Improves sleeping metabolic rate
    Simply put, a protein-rich diet leads to burning more calories while sleeping. This effect is particularly clear when eating a caloric surplus, with one study showing that overfeeding on a high protein diet increased calories burned by 260 per night. [11] 
  • Maintains muscle mass during weight loss
    When following diets such as a keto diet for quick weight loss, eating enough protein will help to maintain muscle mass while shedding fat. [12] This helps to keep your metabolism high as you lose body fat. Pairing a high protein diet with an exercise plan, like the ones designed by our in-house exercise experts on our Online Programme, will give those muscles their time to shine as excess fat sheds away 
  • Helps prevent weight regain
    We find that our Online Programme members often worry about the dreaded ‘weight loss plateau’ and gaining the weight they worked hard to lose. Boosting protein intake can help prevent weight regain; by increasing your protein from 15% to 18% of your calories, you can reduce weight regain after weight loss by up to 50%. [13] For this reason, our long-term Way of Life approach prioritises protein-rich recipes, which help to maintain all that hard work.

How to boost your protein intake

Try supplement shakes
It can be tricky on busy or fasting days to hit that recommended 60g protein a day. Supplement shakes can be ideal for boosting your intake. Our Keto Protein Shakes contain over a third of your recommended daily protein in less than 120 calories to help boost your intake while remaining a low-calorie option. 

Pre-prep your meals:
Batch-cooking or pre-preparing your protein sources can help ensure you’re consuming the right amount of nutrients during daytime and evening meals. Simple Greek yoghurt bowls can be prepped ahead of time for protein-rich breakfasts throughout the week, quinoa can be easily microwaved for an on-the-go light lunch (yes, quinoa is a great source of protein!), while a hearty chicken dish can easily be portioned out into quick, nutritious dinners.

Diversify your protein sources
While everyone has different tastes and diets, plenty of protein options are available. From fish to eggs, to tofu and nuts and seeds, finding sources of protein that you enjoy and won’t get bored of will make it easier to reach that 60g daily recommended amount. Our Online Programme houses hundreds of recipes if you need some inspiration to diversify your protein! 

Although protein provides a whole host of benefits to the body, it’s still important to eat a well-rounded diet full of all the other nutrients needed to stay thriving. A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in all the nutrients needed to stave off chronic illness, maintain a healthy weight, and enjoy optimal physical and mental health. 

To find out more about protein and weight loss, the Mediterranean-style diet, and science-backed meal plans, try our simple Online Programme with a 7-day free trial. Or, if you’re just here for ways to boost your protein intake, give our delicious supplement shakes a go!


VICKERY HB. The origin of the word protein. Yale J Biol Med. 1950 May;22(5):387-93. PMID: 15413335; PMCID: PMC2598953.

Bonjour JP. Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Dec;24(6 Suppl):526S-36S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2005.10719501. PMID: 16373952.

Hannan, M.T., Tucker, K.L., Dawson-Hughes, B., Cupples, L.A., Felson, D.T. and Kiel, D.P. (2000), Effect of Dietary Protein on Bone Loss in Elderly Men and Women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. J Bone Miner Res, 15: 2504-2512. https://doi.org/10.1359/jbmr.2000.15.12.2504

Altorf-van der Kuil W, Engberink MF, Brink EJ, van Baak MA, Bakker SJ, Navis G, van ‘t Veer P, Geleijnse JM. Dietary protein and blood pressure: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2010 Aug 11;5(8):e12102. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012102. PMID: 20711407; PMCID: PMC2920332.

Appel LJ, Sacks FM, Carey VJ, et al. Effects of Protein, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate Intake on Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids: Results of the OmniHeart Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2005;294(19):2455–2464. doi:10.1001/jama.294.19.2455

Russell L. The importance of patients’ nutritional status in wound healing. Br J Nurs. 2001 Mar;10(6 Suppl):S42, S44-9. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2001.10.Sup1.5336. PMID: 12070399.

Lejeune MP, Westerterp KR, Adam TC, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;83(1):89-94. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.1.89. PMID: 16400055.

Blom WA, Lluch A, Stafleu A, Vinoy S, Holst JJ, Schaafsma G, Hendriks HF. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.2.211. PMID: 16469977.

Lejeune MP, Westerterp KR, Adam TC, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;83(1):89-94. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.1.89. PMID: 16400055.

Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004 Aug 18;1(1):5. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-1-5. PMID: 15507147; PMCID: PMC524030.

Bray GA, Redman LM, de Jonge L, Covington J, Rood J, Brock C, Mancuso S, Martin CK, Smith SR. Effect of protein overfeeding on energy expenditure measured in a metabolic chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):496-505. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.091769. Epub 2015 Jan 14. PMID: 25733634.

Cava E, Yeat NC, Mittendorfer B. Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss. Adv Nutr. 2017 May 15;8(3):511-519. doi: 10.3945/an.116.014506. PMID: 28507015; PMCID: PMC5421125.

Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Nijs I, van Ooijen M, Kovacs EM. High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss in humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan;28(1):57-64. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802461. PMID: 14710168.

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