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Your unwarranted hunger, which occasionally drives you to overeat, can happen due to a number of causes. Yet, one of the main causes of this is a dietary deficit, particularly a lack of protein. You are more able to succeed and regain control over your hunger, cravings, and binge eating when your body is given the proper nutrition. But, a protein deficiency might make you feel hungry more frequently and potentially contribute to weight gain.
Health Shots got in touch with Deepti Lokeshappa, Senior Consultant and Nutritionist, and Dietician, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, to find out why a lack of protein in your diet can cause you to overeat and how it can be prevented.
Lack of protein can lead to overeating and obesity
Many people believe that foods high in protein and fat can make them gain weight. But, they actually help with weight loss. How? Well, protein increases numerous satiety hormones and lowers the appetite hormone. As a result, you won’t overeat because you’ll feel satisfied for a longer time. It can also help in weight loss. On the other side, inadequate protein intake may lead to increased appetite, weight gain, and obesity.
Science behind the link between protein deficiency and overeating
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney has found that protein hunger may be a driving force behind overeating and obesity. The study suggests that a lack of protein in the body can trigger hunger and lead to overeating. You may end up eating foods high in unhealthy fats and sugar.
Also read: Protein is the most important nutrient. But does the amount we need change as we age?
The researchers conducted a series of experiments on mice and humans and found that those who were protein-deficient were more likely to choose high-calorie foods and eat larger amounts of food in general. The researchers also found that when protein-deficient mice were given access to high-protein foods, their food intake decreased, and they lost weight.
This study highlights the importance of adequate protein intake in the diet, especially for those who are trying to manage their weight.
5 ways to fight protein deficiency
Here are 5 easy ways to increase your protein intake:
1. Eat more protein-rich food
You should include foods high in protein in your meals. Foods like eggs, fish, poultry, turkey, and other meats are the protein source for non-vegetarians. You can consume beans, tofu, soybeans, lentils, almonds, green peas, and pumpkin seeds if you’re a vegetarian. They are all great sources of protein and are easily available.
2. Snack on high-protein foods
Snacking on foods like almonds, cheese, and Greek yogurt will help you enhance your daily protein consumption for your hunger. Eating healthy snacks is a great way to reduce the risk of overeating and weight gain.
3. Use protein powder
According to Lokeshappa, protein powder is available in both plant-based and animal-based forms. A simple approach to increase your protein consumption is by mixing protein powder into smoothies or cereal. For best effects, mix protein powder with cold water and milk before drinking.
4. Opt for protein-rich breakfasts
You can feel fuller for longer if you start your day with a protein-rich breakfast like eggs or Greek yoghurt. Dalia, sprout salad, paneer bhurji, poha, chilla, and uttapam.
5. Choose protein bars or snacks
For people who are constantly on the go and require a quick protein boost, protein bars, and snacks are convenient options. It is an easy method to supplement your diet with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, it can aid in reducing unnecessary cravings that lead to overeating.
So ladies, be sure to include enough protein in your diet to avoid protein deficiency and the detrimental impact it can have on hunger and weight.