Does Collagen Help with Weight Loss?
Posted May 2022
Anyone who's ever tried losing weight will know it's a tricky and frustrating business. You eat smaller portions at breakfast and lunch but get so ravenously hungry that you inhale everything you see at night—and you’re back to square one. Try to exercise more frequently, and the same thing happens: you indulge in random food cravings (Mac and Cheese in the morning?) because you “worked hard” and “deserve it”. Ugh, no wonder the number on the scale refuses to budge!
Is there no way out of this stalemate situation? Well, there might be just the one: collagen supplements. Keep reading to find out more.
What are the benefits of collagen for weight loss?
First, a quick rundown on collagen (refer to this guide, “What is collagen?”, for more details): it’s the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout your body, from the skin to tendons ligaments. But wait a minute—how does supplementing with collagen, something your body already has, help you lose weight? There are 4 reasons.
#1: Helps you feel fuller for longer
A large body of evidence shows that protein activates the release of ghrelin, a satiety hormone, and, therefore, allows dieters to feel fuller for far longer. But, um, how does this relate to collagen supplements? Well, that’s because collagen is a protein. The more collagen you eat, the higher your protein intake—and the less likely you'll get hungry between meals.
And for those skeptical about the generalization of findings between protein and collagen: research shows you have nothing to fear. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found gelatin (i.e., partially hydrolyzed collagen) to be 44% more filling than casein, the protein in milk. As a result, participants who took gelatin consumed 20% fewer calories overall.
#2: Promotes fat-burning muscle mass
To lose weight, you need to get into a calorie deficit (i.e., where your body burns calories than you take in). You could do that by building muscle mass, which is more metabolically active than fat. More specifically, resting muscle tissue will burn approximately 12 calories daily per kilogram, while fat burns 4 calories daily. That doesn’t sound like a huge difference at first glance, but imagine 2 individuals weighing 70 kg with the following statistics:
- Individual 1: 40% fat mass, 60% lean mass
- Individual 2: 20% fat mass, 80% lean mass
Assuming lean mass equals muscle mass (FYI: it’s not, in the strictest sense), individual 2 would burn 112 more calories daily. That’s a 3,742-calorie difference monthly!
#3: Alleviates joint pain
You probably already know this, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless: you can’t simply supplement with collagen, then wait for muscle growth to happen by itself. It doesn’t work that way; your muscles need stimulation to grow. And that means you’ll need to exercise. The only problem? Your joints hurt—all the time.
There’s no need to give up muscle-building just yet. Numerous studies show collagen supplementation to be effective at alleviating joint pain. According to this 2017 study, for example, collagen peptides helped decrease knee joint pain related to physical activity in athletes. Interested to learn more about collagen’s benefits for the joints? Then check out this article, “Can Collagen Cure Knee Pain?”
#4: Reduces the development and accumulation of fat cells
You may not want to hear this, but no matter how much weight you lose, the number of fat cells in your body will likely never decrease. Instead, they shrink in size, lingering in your tissues, raring to get bigger again. Luckily, you're not powerless against their insatiable need for size: research shows that hydrolyzed collagen may prevent the development of new fat cells—and accumulation of fat within fat cells—ultimately leading to better weight management.
Watch out for added sugars
Here’s the bottom line. Collagen supplements (powder- or tablet form) can be a great weight-loss tool. That said, not all are created equal. Namely, you should keep a careful eye out for those containing high amounts of added sugar—anything more than 10 grams per serving—as that can significantly increase your daily calorie intake and hurt your weight loss efforts.
Struggling to find a low-calorie, high-quality collagen supplement? Let us point you in the right direction: The Collagen Co’s Unflavoured Collagen Powder. No sugar. No fat. Just pure, hydrolyzed collagen peptides. That’s how you know it’s good.