What is protein?
Proteins form the main building blocks of your body. These are pretty much used to make muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules. These molecules serve many crucial functions.
Is regular intake of a protein important?
There are certain nutrients that are very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Without the inclusion of these nutrients in your diet, your health and body composition might tend to suffer. However, these are different opinions on how much protein people actually need. Most of the official nutrition organizations suggest a good amount of protein intake.
Proteins are made out of smaller molecules that are known as amino acids, which are linked together like beads on a string. These linked amino acids form long protein chains. These are folded into complex shapes.
A few of these amino acids can be produced by your body, while you must get others through your diet. The ones that you must include in your diet are called essential amino acids.
As per the Dietary Reference Intake, 0.8 grams of protein needs to be consumed per kilogram of body weight. This is equivalent to 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to:
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
This amount is low apparently. Though it may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, it is far from sufficient when it comes to ensuring optimal health. The right amount of protein is a subjective sense for any individual, it depends on many factors. These factors are inclusive of their activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals and the current state of health.
How does the quality matter?
Animal protein provides all essential amino acids in the right ratio for you to make full use of them. This is because animal tissues are similar to your own tissues. When you eat animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, you do pretty well protein-wise.
On the contrary, when you don’t eat animal foods, getting all the required amount of protein and essential amino acids are really difficult. This is the reason some people take protein supplements. These supplements are pretty useful for athletes and bodybuilders.
Protein is a structural molecule that is assembled out of amino acids. Most of these proteins cannot be produced by your body. Animal foods are high in protein. This is why they provide all essential amino acids.
Do proteins help in losing weight?
When you are going for weight loss, you need to befriend proteins. You should take in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. When you consume protein, it can increase the number of calories you burn. After all, proteins boost your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite.
Protein at around 25–30% of total daily calories boost metabolism by up to 80–100 calories per day. Proteins can lead to effective weight loss. By reducing appetite, it can reduce appetite. Thus, it gives way to a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein helps you to feel full in a better way than fats or carbs do.
Protein at 25% of calories heightens feelings of fullness. Not only that, it reduces the desire for midnight snacking by half. You also tend to have reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.
The truth is that a protein intake of around 30% of calories is important for weight loss. This percentage is pretty much optimal for weight loss. It strengthens your metabolic rate. It causes a proper reduction in calorie intake.
Proteins lead to gaining muscle as well as strength
Muscles are mainly made of protein. Now, muscles are dynamic. They constantly break down and rebuild. When you wish to gain muscle, your body needs to form more muscle protein than it breaks down. So, your body needs to acquire net positive protein balance. This is usually called nitrogen balance, mainly because protein is high in nitrogen. If you want a lot of muscle, you have no other option but to eat a greater amount of protein.
If you truly want to hold on to muscle you have already built, you need to increase your protein intake at the time of losing body fat. This is mainly because a high protein intake can help prevent muscle loss that usually occurs when dieting.
When you consider muscle mass, you need to focus on the daily grams of protein per kilograms or pounds of body weight. If you want to gain muscle, you need to go for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or 2.2 grams of protein per kg. As per many nutrition experts, protein needs to be a minimum of 0.7 grams per pound or 1.6 grams per kg. Keep in mind that more than 0.8 grams per pound have no benefit. When the intakes are slightly higher than 1 gram of protein per pound, it is beneficial.
In case you are carrying a lot of body fat, you can use either your lean mass or your goal weight, instead of your total body weight. This is because mostly your lean mass determines the amount of protein you need.
Here are the top reasons why protein can help you lose weight:
- Saving calories
Protein helps you feel fuller longer. Protein intake slows down digestion. This keeps you feeling satisfied for a longer time period.
- Curbing carb highs and lows
When you pair protein with carbohydrate-rich foods, it slows down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream.
- Requiring more energy
Protein has a higher TEF(Thermic Effect of Food) compared to carbs and fat. This implies that you’re burning more calories to process protein than to process the other two.
- Facilitating fat burning
Your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy. This is especially when it doesn’t have help from either carbohydrate or protein. When you are in the process of losing weight, continue to eat enough protein in your diet. It leads to the preservation of calorie-burning lean muscle.