Can amino acids help with weight loss? This might seem like an odd question to ask. In recent years low-carb diets like Keto and Atkins have been trending. Before that low-fat diets were more popular. Will low-protein diets be next? In fact, it might be surprising but there’s some evidence that boosting your protein intake could help with weight loss. However, could taking specific types of amino acids also help? In theory, it could work since amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The key is to first understand the link between protein and weight loss. Then it’s about figuring out which ones are the best options to drop pounds and burn fat.
The human body contains 20 amino acids. So, you have several options including essential amino acids (EAAs) from food/supplements and non-EAAs that the body produces. One of the best options for weight loss could be branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). This is a group of three aminos that some studies show might help people lose weight. It’s all about knowing about BCAAs like what they are, how they work, and the ways they could help with weight loss. It’s a very technical issue since there are so many aminos to pick from.
Can Protein Help You Lose Weight?
This might seem like an odd concept since low-carb diets have been trending recently. Last year the low-carb diet Keto was the most searched diet program on Google. However, there’s also the issue of fats and protein.
It might be surprising but studies show that high-fat diets are better for weight loss than low-fat diets. The key is we’re talking about healthy fats like fatty fish, chia seeds, avocados, and chia seeds. It seems you should eat fat to lose fat.
Then there’s protein. There’s no question it’s an important macro since we need it for muscles ligaments, tendons, and bones. Atkins allows unlimited protein while Keto makes it about one-quarter of all calories.
However, can eating more protein or certain amino acids help with weight loss? That’s the big question.
The brain gets many kinds of signals including ones from hormones about when to eat and how much to consume. A moderate-protein diet boosts your hormone levels that are related to feeling full. When you feel fuller, you’ll eat less.
Meanwhile, the hunger hormone levels will also decrease. So, if you feel less hungry it’s a plus since the combo of feeling fuller and less hungry provides a 1-2 punch for weight loss.
Cutting carbs is definitely one of the best options to take when you’re trying to lose weight. The question is how much you should boost protein and fat. The Atkins Diet allows unlimited protein and fats. If you’re going to boost one or the other it’s probably better just to increase protein slightly.
However, it’s worth noting that after eating some calories are used to digest food and convert it into energy. Protein’s figure is 30%. So, if you consume 100 protein calories just 70 can be used.
This can provide other benefits. For example, it boosts metabolism so your body can burn food faster, which is a plus.
Can Amino Acids Help with Weight Loss?
Humans get 9 “essential” amino acids from food and supplements. One group of amino acids known as branched-chain (BCAAs) seems to be the most effective for weight loss.
First, it should be noted that more research is needed. Some studies seem to suggest that BCAAs can help you to shed pounds. However, few studies have been done and some of them were simply old ones.
For now, it’s best to make sure you’re getting amino acids from your foods. That includes “complete proteins” that includes all of EAAs that must be sourced from food/supplements.
The 3 BCAAs include; isoleucine, leucine, and valine. You might see dietary supplements claiming that these aminos are a good choice for losing weight. This claim is mostly based on some studies done decades ago in the 1900s.
The old study makes the suggestion that combining BCAAs with lower calories helped to achieve weight loss. One 1997 study made this claim. The main issue is it’s unclear whether or not the BCAAs had a big effect on weight loss.
Another possible amino acid for weight-loss is Phenylalanine. The big problem is the studies done related to this amino and weight loss are also old and few. A 1994-published study showed that the amino acid helps to promote the release of the appetite control hormone.
The study’s participants who took the amino before a meal felt fuller and ate fewer calories versus those who took a fake pill. It’s possible that phenylalanine might help to control appetite. However, it’s unclear if that’s true so more research is required.
One caveat is supplements are made to add to your diet. They shouldn’t replace a healthy and well-balanced diet of foods like lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds/nuts, and good fats It’s also worth noting that you can certain amino acids like BCAAs from natural foods.
Top Supplements for Weight Loss
1. Raspberry Ketones
Ketones are the liver-produced molecules that are mass-produced in humans when they go on low-carb diets. What about raspberry ketones? This is a substance in the Keto-friendly food that gives them their unique scent.
Research shows that raspberry ketones boost fat breakdown and a hormone that might be linked to weight-loss. It’s worth noting the study was done on rats so as the old saying goes: more research is needed.
2. Green Tea Extract
Here’s another well-known ingredient for diet supplements. Several studies show an antioxidant in the herbal tea (EGCG if you want to impress your friends) can help to burn fat. The theory is that green tea can boost levels of a fat-burning hormone.
3. Bitter Orange
This is from a type of orange tree with a chemical compound that’s believed to help with weight loss. The chemical might lower appetite and burn fat. Take note that the US FDA has banned this chemical due to major side-effects.
4. Green Coffee
Fun Fact: Coffee beans are roasted at temperatures up to 400°F (204°C). That’s one tough bean! You can also find store-bought extracts made from green coffee beans. The raw beans are believed to be even better than a cup of coffee for weight loss.
Several studies show that green coffee might help people to lose weight. It’s unclear though whether the green beans are better for weight-loss than the black beans.
This is easily one of the most often consumed substances for weight loss. There are many options for weight loss including green tea and black coffee. A surprising one is a dark chocolate. However, this is close to the natural cacao bean and not highly processed like most chocolate bars.
Caffeine helps you lose weight by boosting metabolism. This explains why it can be used in diet pills after learning can amino acids help with weight loss.