Eating healthier and exercising more are probably the two most common New Year’s resolutions there are. We all want to feel better, and fit into our clothes a little better, too. But if you’re like me, diet and exercise alone don’t always do the trick — especially when it comes to getting rid of stubborn belly fat. That’s why a new study that says protein powder could be an effective weight loss tool piqued my interest. Could adding a sprinkle of this protein-packed powder to my diet be the key to burning more fat? Let’s look at the research.
Is protein powder good for weight loss?
A recent study published in Scientific Reports looked at whether protein could positively affect gut bacteria to increase visceral fat loss. (Visceral fat is stored within the belly and wraps around organs such as the liver and intestines, causing the stomach to stick out.) Research was conducted in France and Canada and included 107 overweight or obese people between the ages of 18 and 65 years old.
Some participants consumed two packets of a powder containing 34 grams of protein deprived from a milk-amino acid source. Others took two packets of 7.3 grams of protein that contained a mix of pea protein and calcium. They dissolved each packet in 250 ml of water to drink in the morning and in the afternoon. Alongside their protein powder intake, they ate a balanced diet that included 50 percent carbs, 35 percent fat, and 15 percent proteins each day for 12 weeks.
While both groups experienced visceral fat loss, the study’s authors found those who took the milk protein powder experienced a greater reduction. They credited this to the amino acids in the powder helping to increase the different types of bacteria in the participants’ gut by 90 percent. Gut bacteria is responsible for helping to reduce inflammation and kickstart your body’s metabolism, which are both key to fat burning. More healthy bacteria being stored in your gut means these benefits only get better over time.
Researchers concluded that consuming protein powder, along with eating a balanced diet, can indeed help with weight loss. (As always, it’s worth speaking with your doctor before starting a new diet plan.)
How to Use Protein Powder for Weight Loss
You can take a page out of the study participants’ book and dissolve this powder in a glass of water to sip daily, or you can try something new — like adding it to your morning coffee. This unique concoction, also known as “proffee,” is quickly gaining popularity online for its metabolism and muscle health-boosting perks.
Prefer to take your protein powder another way? Check out our list of mouthwatering recipes that use protein powder. Think of it having the best of both worlds — you get your fill of fat-burning protein powder to lose weight, but in a delicious way!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.