Protein is commercially recognised as the prime muscle-building nutrient. But it offers significantly more than that. The benefits of a high protein diet not only assist in building muscle but also plays a key role in fat loss, weight maintenance and a whole host of other benefits.
Consuming a diet high in protein will transform your eating habits and lifestyle from poor to great. The many benefits of protein may not be familiar but are simply too good to disregard.
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A diet high in protein is often overlooked as a potential method for fat loss, general wellness and having lots of energy. When you think of protein, the likeliness is that you think of bodybuilding and protein shakes.
Whilst protein plays an important role in building muscle, there are considerably more positive influences that this type of diet will have on the body. To suggest a diet high in protein is only useful for muscle building is inaccurate.
Benefits Of A High Protein Diet
Besides building muscle, benefits of a high protein diet include:
- Reduces the level of hunger
- Suppresses appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods
- Helps maintain weight loss
- Boosts metabolism and increases fat-burning process
- Maintains strength in bones
- Vital role in repairing and recovery of muscles
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Reduces Level Of Hunger
When you consume foods with a substantial amount of protein, you will find that you need less food to feel satisfied. Out of three macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat), protein will leave you feeling the most full for longer.
So if you are trying to reduce the number of calories you consume, protein is the most obvious choice. You will not need to eat as much as you would do compared with a meal that is high in carbohydrates or fat.
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Suppresses Appetite And Cravings
Unhealthy snacking is usually a major driving force behind weight gain in most people. Portion control and meal sizes are one thing, but then it is the time in between meals that is often a downfall within a lot of people’s diets.
Further benefits of a high protein diet show that protein is the most satiating micronutrient of the 3 (Carbohydrates, Fat & Protein). Therefore, when consuming meals high in protein you will feel much more satisfied and full so those usual cravings in between meals and late at night become much more manageable.
Related Article – How Sugar Cravings Are Curbed By Consuming More Protein.
Helps Maintain Weight Loss
Maintaining weight loss is made easier due to the aforementioned points of proteins’ effects on the reduction of cravings, and appetite and its ability to help with calorie restriction.
Fad dieting usually leads to fluctuation in weight with no emphasis placed on long-term weight maintenance. A diet high in protein will not only assist the fat loss protocol but also keep excess weight from returning.
As a long-term plan, a diet high in protein is the most effective strategy for longevity in both health and wellness.
Boosts Metabolism And Increases Fat Burning Process
More benefits of a high protein diet show that foods high in protein have been shown to boost metabolism, with an increase in calorie burning. This is due to a process called the Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF) which is where the body uses the calories you have consumed for energy. Protein has a much higher rate of TEF compared to foods high in carbohydrates. 1
Maintains Strength In Bones
Protein is particularly important for maintaining the strength of bones, particularly with age. Strong bones are less likely to suffer from bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Also, strong bones are less likely to fracture or break on direct impact which can be extremely beneficial for older people who wish to remain active.
Repairing And Recovery Of Muscles
Even if you do not regularly undertake intense bouts of exercise, your muscles will always be in use. Simply being alive and the human body in operation requires a lot of work from muscles just to stabilise the skeleton. These muscles do not get to rest and will therefore require external sources of energy from food to work sufficiently.
According to scientificamerican.com protein provides your muscles with amino acids that act as the building blocks to keep them sturdy. These amino acids also help to repair any muscles which have been damaged through exercise and general fatigue.
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How Much Protein Is High Protein?
When committing to consuming a high-protein diet, it can be tracked in different ways. The two most simple and effective ways are:
- Consume 1.6-2.2g per lb of body weight per day
- Commit to consuming 120-140g of protein per day
Let’s take a look at each of these different methods in more detail. That way you can decide on your own preferred routine.
1.6-2.2g Protein Per Pound Of Bodyweight Per Day
The gap between 1.6g and 2.2g is fairly substantial, particularly when you add it up over a full day of eating. The solution to this is to aim for 1.9g of protein per lb of body weight. Then if you fall short or go just over that number, you know you will be more or less in the right place.
If each meal you consume has around 30-40g of protein, you will feel fuller for longer. This halts the requirement of unnecessary snacking and large portions of food. If you are actively training alongside this, the protein will help your muscles repair and recover. This process results in both muscle gain and fat loss taking place concurrently.
All the other macronutrients will fall into place if you just focus on your protein requirements. Most foods contain carbohydrates and fat anyway, so you can be left to focus on consuming enough protein. The focus should still be implemented on healthy sources of protein. Do not take this as a free pass
These recommendations are accurate for a person who is not excessively overweight or underweight. There are extreme instances where these recommendations may not be appropriate.
Aim For 120-140g Of Protein Per Day
This method is much more straightforward if you prefer not to spend too much time working out your calorie intake. Although this way of protein calculation may not be as specific and accurate, it can still provide you with all of the listed benefits.
By aiming for this target, you will still consume a substantial amount of protein each day. This reduces the time taken out to calculate too many macronutrients and calories but is not specific to the individual.
Different Sources Of Protein
Protein is available in many different forms of foods aside from just protein shakes. There is protein contained in a lot of foods and some of the most notable ones are:
- Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Pork etc.)
- Fresh Fish
- Protein Powder
- Protein Bars
- Vegan-friendly meat and snack substitutes
Related Article – What Are The Best Bodybuilding Snacks?
Looking for more plant-based snack recipes? Check out this article on delicious plant-based protein snacks from UKfitness.pro which gives you recipes, ingredients and methods.
Ideally, a healthy balanced diet will consist mainly of whole foods. The idea that you should consume multiple protein shakes per day is unnecessary. Whilst supplementing your diet with bars and shakes is a good idea, they should do exactly that – supplement your diet.
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If you are looking to educate yourself further into the depths of nutrition, then look no further than Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan M.D. This book comes with substantially more than just a few recipe ideas. With scientifically-backed research and endless amounts of information included, it is the most essential reading you will ever need to undertake. This book will provide you with a new outlook on the importance of foods you consume and how they even alter your whole genetic makeup.
- Ravn AM, Gregersen NT, Christensen R, Rasmussen LG, Hels O, Belza A, Raben A, Larsen TM, Toubro S, Astrup A. Thermic effect of a meal and appetite in adults: an individual participant data meta-analysis of meal-test trials. Food Nutr Res. 2013 Dec 23;57. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v57i0.19676. PMID: 24376394; PMCID: PMC3873760.