10 Reasons to Eat More Protein – Backed by Science
There are all kinds of weird and wonderful diet plans
out there. Some are high in fats and low in carbs, whilst others are low
in fats but high in carbs. In terms of importance however, one
macronutrient has proven to be very beneficial for our health and
well-being, and that macro is protein.
Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, and for cellular health and function, but are we getting enough? If your diet is considerably lacking in protein, you could wind up paying the price later down the line. Here are 10 reasons to eat more protein, all of which are backed by science.
1) Reduced hunger and cravings
One thing that people fail to realise about protein, is the fact that it actually helps to suppress your appetite and can therefore help curb cravings for junk. Protein is a thermogenic macronutrient, which means that it actually boosts the metabolism and burns off more calories as it digests. The reason why it suppresses hunger is the fact that the body finds it much harder to digest it and break it down. It therefore stays in your stomach for longer, which in turn means that you feel full for longer. The science behind this comes due to the fact that protein helps to suppress ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone, while promoting an increase in hormones responsible for satiety.
2) Build muscle and strength
Bodybuilders don’t follow high protein diets because they like the taste of plain chicken breasts. They consume so much protein because protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Protein promotes an increase in protein synthesis, which is a natural process in the body, whereby your body synthesizes new muscle proteins. Without adequate amounts of this macro, protein synthesis would not occur. Therefore, if muscle growth and strength are on your agenda, protein is a must.
3) Assists with weight loss
Okay, we’ve looked at how protein can suppress hunger and reduce cravings, but now we’ll look at how this will promote weight loss. It’s actually very simple. As protein keeps you feeling full for longer, you are likely to consume fewer calories. Fewer calories being consumed will make it easier to achieve a caloric deficit. On top of that, protein also suppresses the appetite by reducing the amounts of ghrelin you produce. Less of this hormone means less hunger. Protein also promotes lean muscle tissue. To maintain itself, lean muscle requires more calories for maintenance, so the metabolism is forced to increase. Roll all of this together and you can see why protein is so ideal for people looking to drop a few pounds.
4) Protein strengthens the bones
Protein, contrary to what some believe, is not bad for the bones. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Protein actually helps to strengthen the bones. Protein helps to increase bone strength and bone density and can therefore assist with conditions such as osteoporosis and brittle bone disease.
5) Protein reduces blood pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the biggest killers in the world. What’s more, it’s especially dangerous because it is so tough to detect. This is why it’s known as the silent killer. Hypertension can be a precursor for all kinds of ailments and medical conditions including: heart disease, heart attack, strokes, renal failure, and more. High protein diets however, have been found to help reduce blood pressure levels and can reduce other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including LDL cholesterol levels.
6) Protein can boost the metabolism
By now, you’ve learnt how protein is able to boost the metabolism, buy why is that so important? Well, to begin with, by boosting the metabolism you will find it easier to lose weight as you will consume fewer calories. The less calories you consume, the less-likely you will be to gain weight. Having a fast metabolism is also important however, as it will help to keep your energy levels high. High energy levels will help you out in the gym, and in everyday life, and will make life that much easier and you more productive.
7) Protein assists with recovery
After working out in the gym, you will often find that your muscles are sore, stiff, and aching. This is because you have literally caused damage to them. We rebuild muscle when we recover, via protein synthesis. Protein can therefore help initiate the post-workout recovery process. On top of that, protein can also help your body to repair itself in other ways. If you have picked up an injury, protein will help you to recover much faster. This is because protein basically makes up the building blocks of all of your body’s tissues and major organs. Protein is vital for cellular function and repair, and as we ourselves are made up of cells, that alone should prove just how beneficial protein can be.
8) Protein is not bad for healthy kidneys
One reason why a lot of people stay clear of high protein diets is because there is a common misconception that high protein diets are bad for the kidneys. There is some truth to this myth, as high protein intakes have been found to cause slight damage to unhealthy kidneys. As far as healthy kidneys are concerned however, high protein diets are perfectly safe, as long as you don’t take things too extreme.
9) Protein helps promote longevity
As we grow older, our bodies and our minds begin to slow down and deteriorate. They fail to work as effectively as they once did, which is why it’s so important to look after ourselves as we age. Protein and the amino acids that make up the protein molecules not only help to prevent age-related muscular atrophy, but they also help to boost cognitive health and function, making this macro ideal for the brain.
10) Protein is versatile
Finally, the last reason to eat more protein is because there are so many different varieties to choose from. There are various types of meat, fish, and seafood. There are eggs, there’s dairy, and there are even plenty of plant-based protein sources. Combine this with the many protein supplements out there to choose from, and getting enough protein as part of your everyday diet could not be easier.
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