Branched-chain amino acids are made up of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, three essential amino acids that must be consumed through food or supplements.
BCAAs are most commonly used by fitness enthusiasts looking to build muscle and improve sports recovery.
One benefit of BCAAs that you might not know about is that they can promote fat burning and overall weight loss.
BCAAs and Blood Sugar Levels
Weight loss begins with nutrition.
Those who are overweight or obese tend to have issues with their blood sugar levels and insulin.
When you eat, blood sugar levels rise as your body converts the food into glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that is released when you eat.
Insulin helps move nutrients into cells where they are used as fuel.
As a result, blood sugar levels stabilize.
When you consume too many calories – more than the body and insulin can handle – the result is the glucose being stored as fat, not used as energy.
BCAAs have been shown to support the process of insulin release and lowering blood sugar levels.
Since more glucose is being used as fuel, less is being stored as fat.
The catch here is that you must be following a healthy diet and consistent exercise program. (1)
BCAAs and Fat Loss
Successful fat loss involves a combination of a low-calorie diet and high intensity exercise program.
You want to burn more calories than you consume each day.
BCAAs can support the thermogenic or fat-burning effect of exercise and a low-calorie diet while supporting the development of lean muscle tissue. (2)
For those who are already athletic and muscular, BCAAs can help you take your results to the next level by getting lean without the risk of losing your hard-earned muscle mass.
Studies show that athletes on a calorie-restricted diet who supplemented with BCAAs lost more weight and retained more muscle mass than those using a soy protein supplement. (3)
What if you aren’t looking to lean out but you enjoy training in a fasted state or working out without eating a pre-workout meal?
Studies show that BCAAs have anti-catabolic properties.
In other words, they help to protect lean muscle tissue from breakdown and being used as fuel. (4)
BCAAs for Weight Management
When you finally reach your fat loss goal, BCAAs can help you maintain your weight.
BCAA Dosage for Weight Loss
BCAA supplements can be used throughout the day to support your goal of losing weight.
Here are a few times I’d recommend taking BCAAs:
In the Morning: If you like to skip breakfast or if you exercise as soon as you wake up, taking a serving of BCAAs will help burn fat while promoting muscle building.
During Your Workout: BCAAs can help to kickstart sports recovery, reduce exercise fatigue, and protect lean muscle tissue when taken during a workout.
Before Bed: BCAAs taken before bed will alleviate cravings and reduce hunger pangs. They will also promote protein synthesis during sleep.
The majority of your BCAAs should come from whole food sources; however, using a BCAA supplement can help to support fat loss and weight management while supporting muscle growth.