Proteins are essential to every part of the human body. Bones, muscles, skin, and nearly every vital organ or tissue contain them.
The body needs protein to function and survive and must get it through food. However, the body cannot store protein long term for future use, so people need to consume enough protein every day to ensure the body gets enough to work correctly.
- Protein is one of three macronutrients used by the body for energy .These macronutrients include protein, carbs and fats.
- Protein is a series of amino acids linked together like a chain. The links that hold these amino acids together are known peptide links. Amino acids are primary source for nitrogen in the body.
- Three types of Amino Acids -
- Essential Amino acids - Which must get through your diet
- Non - essential amino acids - Our bodies produce such amino acids
- Conditional acid - This is essential under special circumstances like illness
Function of protein
- Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels
The three macronutrients — fats, carbs, and protein — affect your body in different ways. Studies show that protein is by far the most filling. It helps you feel more full — with less food.
This is partly because protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.
- Weight loss
- Consuming a good amount of protein is beneficial for maintaining your weight as it keeps you fuller for longer and reduces craving.
- Keeping protein intake high can also help prevent muscle loss during weight loss.
Although the lifestyle change is an important requirement during your weight loss journey, studies show that controlled calorie intake associated with moderately high protein intake can be effective and a practical weight loss strategy.
- Boosts metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
- Eating can boost your metabolism for a short while. That’s because your body uses calories to digest and make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
- If you are trying to lose a little belly fat, consider replacing your carbs & fats with protein in daily meals or snacks.
- Antibodies are proteins in your blood that help protect your body from harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses
However, not all foods are the same in this regard. In fact, protein has a much higher thermic effect than fat or carbs — 20–35% compared to 5–15%
- Muscle recovery and growth
- Not only does eating protein help to prevent muscle breakdown, but it can also help build & strength muscles.
- If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein.
- Protein is the building block of muscles, eating adequate amount of protein helps maintain your muscle mass and prevents muscle wasting.
- Athletes & individuals with more muscle need to eat larger amount of protein daily to maintain their higher muscle mass.
- Provides Structure
- Some proteins are fibrous and provide cells and tissues with stiffness and rigidity.
- People who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age and 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.
- These proteins include keratin, collagen & elastin, which help form the connective framework of certain structures in your body.
- Keratin is a structural protein that is found in your skin, hair and nails.
- Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
A food craving is different from normal hunger. It is not just about your body needing energy or but your brain needing a reward. Yet, cravings can be incredibly hard to control. The best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring in the first place. One of the best prevention methods is to increase your protein intake.
- Lowers Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Interestingly, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure. As per various studies, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Helps You Stay Fit
One of the consequences of aging is that your muscles gradually weaken. The most severe cases are referred to as age-related sarcopenia, which is one of the main causes of frailty, bone fractures, and reduced quality of life among older adults. Eating more protein is one of the best ways to reduce age-related muscle deterioration.
How Much Protein Should You Consume and How Often?
So now that we’ve covered the many benefits of protein, let’s talk about how much you need.
If you’re a moderately active adult, we recommend between 0.8grams - 1.2grams of protein per kg of body weight. If you’re regularly doing resistance training, you’ll want between 1.4grams – 1.7grams of protein per kg of body weight.