Benefits of protein
What are proteins?
Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body anad they are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a fuel source. As a fuel, proteins provide as much energy density as carbohydrates: 4 kcal (17 kJ) per gram; in contrast, lipids provide 9 kcal (37 kJ) per gram. The most important aspect and defining characteristic of protein from a nutritional standpoint is its amino acid composition.
Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. During human digestion, proteins are broken down in the stomach to smaller polypeptide chains via hydrochloric acid and protease actions. This is crucial for the absorption of the essential amino acids that cannot be biosynthesized by the body.
There are nine essential amino acids which humans must obtain from their diet in order to prevent protein-energy malnutrition and resulting death.
How much protein we need?
According to the research it says to prevent deficiency of protein we need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example the weight is 10 kg then the minimal requirement of protein is 10 × 0.8 equals to 8 grams of protein. Another example if the weight is 20kg then the protein requirements will be 20 x 0.8 equals to 16 grams.
The average amount of protein required is:
– 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
– 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
Though this measurements of amount of protein protein, may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, studies show that it’s far from sufficient to ensure optimal health and body composition.
It turns out that the right amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors, including their activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health.
Let’s read few points about benefits of protein-
Most of us are eating enough protein to prevent deficiency, but there are some who are doing better with a much higher protein intake.
Numerous studies have shown that a high-protein diet has major benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.
Here are 10 science-based reasons to eat more protein.
1. Protein Can help you to manage weight
There are three macronutrients (fats, carbs and protein) which affect our bodies in different ways.
Research shows that protein is nutrient which helps you to feel the most filling. It helps you feel more full, with less food.
Part of the reason is that protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the satiety hormone peptide YY, which makes you feel full.
This effect can be powerful. In one study, increasing protein from 15 to 30% of calories made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day, without intentionally restricting anything.
If you need to lose weight or belly fat, then consider replacing some of the carbs and fats you are eating with protein. It can be as simple as making your potato or rice serving smaller, while adding a few extra bites of meat or fish.
2. Protein Increases Muscle Health and Strength
Protein is the main source which forms the building blocks of muscles.
Therefore, it seems logical that eating more protein would help you build more of muscle mass.
Perhaps not surprisingly, numerous studies shows that eating plenty of protein can help increase muscle mass and strength.
If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle and strength, then you need to make sure that you’re getting enough protein as the average protein intake is not enough. When you are physically active you need more of protein that average required intake.
Keeping protein high can also help prevent muscle loss when your body is in a “catabolic” (breaking down) state, such as during weight loss.
3. Protein is Good For Your Bones
There is an ongoing myth that protein (mostly animal protein) is bad for your bones.
This is based on the idea that protein increases “acid load” in the body, leading to calcium being leached from the bones in order to neutralize the acid.
However, most long-term studies show that protein, including animal protein, has major benefits for bone health.
People who eat more protein tend to maintain their bone mass better as they get older, and tend to have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.
4. Protein Can Reduce Cravings
A food craving is very much different from normal hunger. A hunger is satisfied when you something but when you crave to eat something the hunger is not satisfied at that time.
It is not just about your body needing energy or nutrients, it is about your brain needing a “reward”.
Studies shows that the craving for a former drug addict, alcoholic and smoker, the craving for junk food feels exactly the same as a craving for drugs, alcohol and nicotine.
Unfortunately, cravings can be incredibly hard to control. The best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from showing up in the first place.
One of the best ways to do that is to increase your protein intake.
One study in overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60%, and reduced the desire to snack at night by half.
Studies in girls also found that just eating a high-protein breakfast reduces cravings and late-night snacking. This may be mediated by improved function of dopamine, one of the main brain hormones involved in cravings and addiction
5. Protein Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burn
Eating food can boost your metabolism for a short while.
That’s because the body uses energy (calories) to digest and make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
However, not all foods are the same in this regard. In fact, protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-35%) than fat or carbs (5-15%).
A high protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories you burn. This can amount to 80 to 100 more calories burned each day.
One study on protein during overfeeding found that a high protein group burned 260 more calories per day than a low-protein group. This is equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise per day!
6. Protein Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.
Interestingly, a higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in several studies.
In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mmHg on average, and diastolic blood pressure by 1.15 mmHg.
One study found that, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
7. Protein Can Help You Lose Weight and helps to maintain in long term
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients which helps to maintain weight.
As mentioned above, a high protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to automatic reduction in calorie intake and cravings.
For this reason, it is not surprising to see that people who increase their protein intake tend to lose weight automatically.
In one study in overweight women, eating protein at 30% of calories caused them to lose 11 pounds (5 kg) in 12 weeks, without intentionally restricting anything.
Protein also has benefits for fat loss when intentionally restricting calories.
Of course, losing weight is just the beginning. Maintaining the lost weight is actually a much bigger challenge for most people.
Just a modest increase in protein intake has been shown to help with weight maintenance. In one study, increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories reduced weight regain by 50%.
If you want to lose weigh and want to keep it off and prevent obesity in the future, then consider making a permanent increase your protein intake.
8. Protein Does Not Harm Healthy Kidneys
Many people have wrong belief that a high protein intake harms your kidneys.
It is true that in people with pre-existing kidney disease, restricting protein intake can be beneficial. This should not be taken lightly, as kidney problems can be very serious.
However, while high protein intake may be harmful in people with kidney problems, it does NOT mean that it has any relevance to people with healthy kidneys.
In fact, numerous studies have looked at this and found that high-protein diets have no harmful effects in people who are free of kidney disease
9. Protein Can Help Your Body Repair after injury
Protein helps your body to repair after it has been injured.
As mentioned above, that it forms the main building blocks of the body’s tissues and organs.
Numerous studies have shown that eating more protein after injury can help speed up your recovery.
10. Protein Can Help You Keep Fit as You Get Older
One of the consequences of aging, is that your muscles shrink.
This is referred to as age-related sarcopenia, and is one of the main causes of frailty, bone fractures and reduced quality of life in old age.
Eating more protein is one of the best ways to prevent age-related sarcopenia.
Staying physically active is also crucial, and lifting weights or doing some sort of resistance exercise can work wonders.
You can check protien rich foods in one of our article.