Protein is one of the key nutrients necessary for weight loss while breastfeeding, and it also plays a major role in eliminating belly fat that often accumulates during and after pregnancy. Many mamas find that their abs are in need of some serious rehab work, as well as some extra flab hanging around post-baby.
We’ve discussed the benefits of protein for weight loss in general, but there are some very specific ways protein can encourage belly fat to tall off.
You will also want to read: How To Lose Belly Fat While Breastfeeding
Let’s discuss the postpartum belly fat, and how protein can help burn it off – fast:
Protein keeps insulin levels down:
Protein has a minimal impact on insulin. A rise and fall in insulin is connected to extra calories and fat being stored on your belly. Basically, insulin sensitivity plays a role in WHERE fat is stored. There was a very in-depth study done in Germany illustrating this concept, “Our study reveals a novel key mechanism that regulates fat distribution in humans. Insulin sensitivity in the brain determines where fat is deposited.”
What they found is that a higher sensitivity to insulin in the brain affected where fat was stored, ans specifically the dangerous visceral fat on the belly.
Protein is a key nutrient to help keep insulin levels down, and increase sensitivity. Protein helps with satiation and keeping blood sugar levels down by never spiking them much. By combining protein-rich foods with fiber-rich foods, a person can feel full for hours without spiking blood sugar.
Protein helps decrease sugar and carbohydrate cravings:
Many times, a person craves carbohydrates and sugar, without realizing that they are deficient in protein. Our bodies don’t produce all the amino acids on their own, so we need to consume these amino acids for our cells, muscles, hair, skin and nails to be healthy. Both pregnant and breastfeeding mamas need protein more than non-pregnant or lactating women. This is why we focused on creating a protein powder for breastfeeding women to help with weight loss. Many women crave carbs and sugar, leaving protein behind in their daily consumption. Oatmeal, toast, cereal, lactation cookies, cows milk, flavored yogurts, rice, potatoes and bread are all foods that many mommies grab quickly, without thinking about the added fat and lack of protein. But, the body doesn’t really know how to signal a craving for just protein – it often comes out in a sugar cravings. This is confusing, and results in a cycle that is hard to break. By consuming more protein, and filling in those nutrient and amino-acid needs, a mama can reduce the sugar cravings and stabilize insulin.
Protein burns more calories in digestion:
As we discussed in our protein and weight loss article, protein takes more energy to break down. This means that your body works harder and burns more calories consuming protein than carbohydrates. Basically, protein is fairly magical in the sense that it gets sent straight to important parts of the body like muscles, fetal development, hair and skin, and it takes more energy to do this. Carbohydrates go straight to the brain, then to fat, while fat goes to fat (assuming you have enough calories in your diet). Some argue that fat takes energy to break down, and technically, if you have to break down fat for energy it does. But this is only if there is a deficit in calories, or no glucose coming in for your brain to use.
What are some good protein sources for breastfeeding mamas?
If you are trying to lose the belly fat, protein sources low in carbs and fat are the best choices. These include:
Milk Dust Protein Powder (low in sugar and fat, yet high in nutrients, milk-boosting herbs and minerals!!)
Eggs + egg whites (mixing egg whites with the yolks keeps the integrity of the egg, while adding more protein)
Lean ground turkey
Turkey bacon (organic, natural brands if possible. It can be highly processed)
Low-fat Cottage Cheese (assuming baby is okay with dairy, and mama doesn’t get a large insulin spike)
Deli Meat (natural, no nitrates etc.)
Lean ground beef (97% – 99% lean)
White meat chicken
All of these sources are low in fat, which is essential to allowing your body to use fat stored on the belly. Not all of these sources are tasty for new mommies, or realistic to have on-hand or ready to go. That is why Milk Dust is an amazing, delicious source of protein that you can combine with fiber-rich fruit to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Lactation Protein Smoothies are a great tool for breastfeeding mamas to lose belly fat:
Seriously, a lactation smoothie made with a high-quality, milk-boosting protein like Milk Dust, and low-sugar berries like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, is the magic potion breastfeeding mamas need to lose the belly fat.
By keeping the protein high, sugar low, and nutrients off the charts, Milk Dust lactation smoothies are pure gold to nourishing lactating mamas. The herb-blend in Milk Dust for milk supply also ensures that milk production stays strong while belly fat is falling off.
Protein powder is often a realistic, quick way for breastfeeding mamas to get their needed protein in. You can shake it up with one hand, or make one of our tasty recipes with just one-hand and a blender. Easy clean up, and no major cooking and prepping required! Our protein powder tastes amazing with just ice and milk too, so if you are short on groceries, you literally have all you need!