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Weight-Loss & Wellness Articles

How Protein Can Reduce Your Cravings: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Are you tired of battling your cravings? Do you find yourself reaching for sugary snacks or salty chips at all hours of the day? If so, you're not alone. Cravings are a common issue for many people, but the good news is that there's a way to combat them – with protein.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in our body's functions. Not only is it necessary for building and repairing muscles, but it can also help reduce cravings by keeping you feeling full for longer. In this ultimate guide, we'll dive deep into the science behind how protein can reduce your cravings and provide practical tips on incorporating more protein into your diet.

  1. Understanding Cravings

  2. What is Protein?

  3. How Protein Helps Reduce Cravings

  4. How Much Protein Do You Need?

  5. Protein Sources

  6. How to Incorporate Protein Into Your Diet

  7. Tips for Combating Cravings

  8. Protein Supplements

  9. Protein Recipes

  10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Understanding Cravings

Before we dive into how protein can help reduce your cravings, it's essential to understand what cravings are and why we experience them.

Cravings are intense desires for specific foods or drinks. They often come on suddenly and can be challenging to resist. While some cravings may result from nutrient deficiencies, most are caused by complex biological, psychological, and social interactions. For example, stress, hormonal changes, and environmental cues can all trigger cravings.

What is Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient of amino acids, the building blocks of our body's tissues. There are 20 different amino acids; our bodies can make some, but others must be obtained through our diet. Protein is found in various foods, including meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.

How Protein Helps Reduce Cravings

One of the main ways protein can help reduce cravings is by keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fat, so it stays in your stomach longer and helps you feel satisfied. In addition, feeling full makes you less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals.

In addition to keeping you feeling full, protein can help regulate your blood sugar levels. When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose, which is used for energy. However, this process can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash, leading to cravings. Protein can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Finally, protein can also help increase the production of certain hormones that reduce cravings. For example, eating protein can stimulate the production of the hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which can help reduce appetite and cravings.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The protein you need depends on various factors, including age, gender, weight, and activity level. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but this may not be enough for everyone. For example, athletes and people trying to build muscle may need more protein.

Protein Sources

There are many sources of protein, including:

  • Meat (beef, pork, lamb)

  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)

  • Fish (salmon, tuna)

  • Eggs

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)

  • Beans

  • Nuts and seeds

How to Incorporate Protein Into Your Diet

Incorporating more protein into your diet is easier than you might think. Here are some tips:

  • Include a source of protein in every meal: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, or seeds.

  • Choose lean protein sources: Opt for lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, and fish.

  • Snack on protein: Keep protein-rich snacks, such as hard-boiled eggs, cheese, nuts, or Greek yogurt.

  • Try protein supplements: If you're having trouble meeting your protein needs through food alone, consider using protein supplements such as whey protein powder or protein bars.

Tips for Combating Cravings

In addition to incorporating more protein into your diet, here are some other tips for combating cravings:

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger or cravings, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.

  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite, leading to cravings.

  • Manage stress: Stress can trigger cravings, so find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing.

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand: When you crave, reach for healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts instead of sugary or salty snacks.

  • Don't skip meals: Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to cravings.

Protein Supplements

If you're having trouble meeting your protein needs through food alone, protein supplements can be a convenient and practical option. Many protein supplements are available, including whey protein powder, casein protein powder, and plant-based protein powders such as pea or soy protein.

When choosing a protein supplement, looking for one that contains high-quality protein and is low in added sugars and artificial ingredients is essential. Talking to your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting new supplements is also good.

Protein Recipes

Here are some delicious and healthy protein-rich recipes you can try:

  • Grilled chicken with quinoa and roasted vegetables

  • Tuna salad with hard-boiled eggs and avocado

  • Black bean and sweet potato tacos

  • Greek yogurt parfait with berries and nuts

  • Protein smoothie with whey protein powder, frozen berries, and spinach

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can overeating protein be harmful?

Overeating protein can strain your kidneys and lead to dehydration. So it's essential to stick to the recommended daily protein allowance and talk to your doctor before drastically changing your diet.

  • Can I get enough protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Getting enough protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet is possible by incorporating protein-rich foods such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and seeds.

  • What's the best time to eat protein?

There's no one "best" time to eat protein. However, it's essential to spread your protein intake throughout the day and include a protein source in every meal.

  • Are protein bars healthy?

Not all protein bars are healthy. Some are high in added sugars and artificial ingredients. Look for protein bars that contain high-quality protein and are low in added sugars and artificial ingredients.

  • Can protein supplements help with weight loss?

Protein supplements can help with weight loss by keeping you full for longer and helping maintain muscle mass. However, combining protein supplements with a healthy diet and regular exercise is essential for the best results.


Cravings can be challenging, but incorporating more protein into your diet can help reduce them. Protein helps keep you full for longer, regulates blood sugar levels, and can increase the production of hormones that reduce cravings. You can quickly improve your protein intake by including a source of protein in every meal, choosing lean protein sources, and snacking on protein-rich foods.

Additionally, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, managing stress, keeping healthy snacks on hand, and not skipping meals can all help combat cravings.

Finally, remember to choose high-quality protein sources and talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian before making drastic changes. With these tips, you can reduce your cravings and enjoy the many benefits of protein.

Gus Bouari from SOZA

Health Blog Writer

About Gus Bouari, SOZA Co-Founder

After his childhood friend and co-founder, Dr. Anthony Wehbe lost 50 pounds on the SOZA weight loss program, he also did the program and lost 35 pounds.

Gus is a wellness advocate and enthusiast. Gus truly believes we can all transform our lives by adapting to and following a healthy, wellness-focused lifestyle.

He has appeared on Miami NBC 6 Health in the Mix, discussing healthy eating and healthy cooking.

If you ever bump into Gus, it would most likely be at a health foods store helping fellow shoppers make better food choices.

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