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One of the fastest and best ways to drop some extra body fat (along with a bunch of other benefits) is by increasing your protein intake.

You heard that right... get lean with protein.

Principle 2 of our Eat By Design strategy is to "Eat Protein With Every Meal".

Especially when you consume protein from healthy animal sources, it will give you a jump start on crushing your health goals.

Here are 6 ways to increase your protein intake.

1. Protein is Satiating

Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients and central to the neuroregulation of appetite.

Feeling more full reduces the chances you'll binge on other foods with lower nutrient density and higher caloric content.

Think about it... how many steaks can you eat compared to chocolate cupcakes?

I'll make the bet you can consume far more calories in sweets than you can in a side of beef or chicken.

It's not the number of calories that matters, it's the nutrient density that signals your brain it's time to stop.

When you don't get enough protein in the day, your body will actually encourage you to eat more carbohydrates to make up the caloric difference.

So, if you find yourself binging on carbs... try adding protein to every meal of your day.

2. Protein Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates, fat and protein all require the hormone insulin for normal metabolism.

Of this list, it's carbohydrates that require by far the most insulin and as such, can lead to repetitive spikes in blood sugar.

Consuming processed carbohydrate foods high on the glycemic index can lead to type 2 diabetes and weight gain whereas increased protein consumption has the opposite effect.

So yes, all that snacking between meals is spiking your insulin and blood sugar each time...

... which leads to not only a 2 hour energy crash (leading to more snacking)...

... but drives your body toward metabolic syndrome (not being able to properly regulate insulin levels).

3. Protein Helps Build Lean Muscle

Not limited to bodybuilding, meeting your protein requirements can help with the development of lean muscle mass while also supporting ligament, tendon and other tissue health too.

Maintaining or increasing lean muscle as we age is valuable for body fat regulation, protection and recovery from injury, as well as athletic performance.

Adding in different sources of protein, such as collagen protein, can really help with keeping ligaments strong and recovering from injury.

4. Protein Helps Build Strong Bones

Studies are demonstrating a relationship between protein intake and bone health.

In fact, in the elderly, the greatest bone loss is in people with the lowest protein consumption.

It may not be as simple as adding more protein, since micronutrients like magnesium and vitamin K2 play an important role, however, without enough protein bone formation may be compromised.

5. Digesting Protein Burns More Calories

Have you ever heard of the "meat sweats"?

The reason you experience a jump in temperature after consuming a bunch of meat is because of the thermic effect of food - the amount of energy it takes to digest and metabolize nutrients.

Protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%), thus you'll naturally burn more calories with a higher a protein diet giving you a metabolic advantage over diets lower in protein.

6. Protein Reduces Cravings

One of the biggest reasons people fail to succeed is because their cravings send them crashing down after a successful stint with a dietary change.

In this study, men consuming 25% of their calories from protein had a 60% reduction in cravings and a 50% drop in the desire for late night snacking!

Bottom line, consuming more quality protein needs to be among the top changes anyone makes to their diet.

Not to worry more protein isn't going to damage your kidneys, give you 18 inch biceps or turn into body fat...

... it is however, going to make accomplishing your health goals far easier and happen much faster.

What's your favourite protein source?

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Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.