We’ve all heard how important it is to get protein in our diets. Protein repairs muscle, is great for hair, skin, and nails, helps you stay full longer, and the list goes on. Rarely do we hear why protein has these properties and what to look for in an optimal protein source.
It’s helpful to first start with taking a different view of the body. The body is made up of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, hormones, enzymes, and more. And the amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of each and every one of those components. Throughout the day, as we use our bodies, we use up those amino acids and need to replenish them with protein to maintain our health and well-being.
The body also needs fuel to carry out its everyday functions. It gets that fuel via calories. Protein, fat, and carbohydrates are the three nutrients that provide those calories. A virtuous cycle is triggered from getting a greater portion of your calories from protein. Protein is proven to increase satiety versus other nutrients. It also aids in maintaining lean muscle and building muscle mass. As lean muscle tissue increases, so does your metabolism. This helps you burn more fat. And around we go.
Protein is made up of both essential and non-essential amino acids. The nine amino acids in that first bucket are deemed ‘essential’ since the body cannot make them on its own. It is essential to get those amino acids from your diet to keep your body performing at top notch. For more on how to choose the protein that is right for you, look out for upcoming posts, “Why Whey? Not all protein is created equal” and “How much protein do I need?”
If you have goals to become leaner, faster, or stronger you will need to exercise harder and then repair your body by putting even more protein back in.
- "Why is it important to make lean or low-fat choices from the Protein Foods Group?", https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods-nutrients-health
- “Protein, weight management, and satiety”, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/5/1558S/4650426