Why Protein Isn’t Just for Muscle Building
If health and fitness are core components of your lifestyle, you’re probably aware of the three macronutrient groups which are essential for the human body to thrive; namely carbohydrate, fat and protein.
While many people are up to speed on carbs and fats, there’s still a general lack of awareness when it comes to protein.
The overall benefits of protein are huge. Our body uses it to create important chemicals including hormones, to repair and form tissue, and it also makes up a significant chunk of each cell in your blood, muscles, skin and bones – every cell in the body to be precise!
As a result, protein does play an important role in helping you to build, maintain and keep your muscles healthy.
How much protein do I need? The debate rumbles on!
There’s a lot of back and forth around how much protein you need to take on board each day, and as this recent article from Harvard University suggests, research is still ongoing and there isn’t really a definitive answer at this stage.
Much depends on what your goals are.
For particularly active people who are looking to increase their muscle mass, we recommend a daily consumption of 1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, which is higher than the modest, widely-recommended minimum intake of 0.8 grams per kg.
There are manifold benefits to protein-rich diets which are unrelated to muscle building, and we’re here to shed some light on what else this macronutrient can do for you.
Can a protein-rich diet help with weight loss?
Thanks to the thermic effect of food – whereby digesting and capitalising on nutrients causes the body to burn calories, eating can give your metabolism a temporary boost.
As the body works harder to turn protein into glucose for energy (as opposed to digesting fat or carbohydrate), the thermic effect is much higher and additional calories are subsequently burnt.
By boosting your metabolism in this way, a high-protein diet could help you to lose weight, but you must not consume more protein than you can burn in a day, or you’ll run the risk of gaining weight.
Those who struggle with cravings will also be pleased to hear that protein-rich diets are likely to increase satiety and decrease hunger hormones.
According to various studies, you will feel “full” and satisfied sooner when eating, reducing the urge to reward yourself with a treat, and you’re likely to consume fewer calories each day.
Our Pro 80 Protein Powder is particularly good for those who want to boost their protein levels while keeping a close eye on their calorie count at the same time.
Protein supports your bones as you get older
For a considerable period of time, some schools of thought reported – with particular reference to animal protein – that a protein-rich diet would leach calcium from the bones in order to counterbalance the acid from meat, potentially resulting in osteoporosis as we get older and our bones weaken.
On the contrary however, the results of more recent long-term research have suggested that protein can help to preserve bone mass as you age, and lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
As this NHS guide suggests, low protein intake has also been linked with a higher risk of hip fracture in older people.
Protein can help to prevent age-related muscle loss
As we get older, we can experience muscle wasting due to a reduction in naturally-occurring muscle proteins, which can lead to bone fractures and reduced ease-of-movement.
A great way to prevent this is to up your protein intake through food, though you must also maintain an active lifestyle and partake in muscle-building exercise.
Protein can have a positive impact on blood pressure
High blood pressure can have many catalysts, and if left untended might even cause strokes, heart attacks or another health issue.
For those who suffer with hypertension, it’s advisable to increase the amount of protein in your diet, as studies have seen a positive improvement in blood pressure as a result.
Protein can help you to sleep
If you don’t feel well-rested when you get up in the morning or you find yourself waking at regular intervals during the night, you’ll be interested to hear that a higher protein intake could help you to sleep better and wake less.
Specialists believe that protein improves your chemical transmitter balance, making you more energetic during the day and ready to rest easily at night.
A study undertaken by Purdue University and published via ScienceDaily showed that middle-aged adults benefited from better quality sleep when following a low-calorie, high-protein diet.
Interested in learning more about protein supplements and how best to consume them? Read our complete guide to protein supplements and discover how this macronutrient can assist you in your mission to become you and improved!