People like to argue about fats and carbs. However, almost everyone agrees that protein is important. Numerous of studies have shown that a high-protein diet has major benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.
9 science-based reasons to eat more protein:
1. Protein Can Reduce Appetite and Hunger Levels
The three macronutrients (fats, carbs and protein) affect our bodies in different ways. Studies show that protein is by far 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.
2. Protein Can Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
Protein forms the building blocks of muscles.
Perhaps not surprisingly, numerous studies show 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.
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
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 and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
A food craving is different from normal hunger.
It is not just about your body needing energy or nutrients, it is about your brain needing a "reward".
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.
5. Protein Can Boost Metabolism and Increase Fat Burning
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.
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.
7. Protein Can Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off in The Long-Term
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients.
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.
Protein also has benefits for fat loss when intentionally restricting calories.
In a 12-month study of 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of 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 weight, keep it off and prevent obesity in the future, then consider making a permanent increase your protein intake.
8. Protein Can Help Your Body Repair Itself After Injury
Protein can help your body repair after it has been injured.
This makes perfect sense, given 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 recovery.
9. 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.
Source: Kris Gunnars