Protein is one of the macronutrients, besides carbohydrates, fats and alcohol (let’s forget about that last one for now). It seems like the world is split into 2 sides when it comes to protein consumption. One side, the side that works out on a regular basis, understands the importance of protein consumption and are most likely to get in more than enough. The other side is most likely not into working out and thinks that getting a good amount of protein in each day is not something they should prioritize. These are stereotypes of course, there are people who work out and their nutrition looks like crap and there are also people who don’t work out regularly, who understand the value of well-balanced amounts of protein in their nutrition. Yes, it is true that I am part of the first group so I might be a bit bias. By the end of this blog, I hope to clear up the reasons of why protein is so beneficial
The basic science of protein
Unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein is our one and only building block. Protein consists of smaller and different amino acids molecules; these amino acids are divided up into different groups. Group 1 = essential amino acids, group 2= non-essential amino acids and group 3 consists of semi- (non) essential amino acids. The difference between the 3 groups is whether the body is capable of producing the amino’s on its own or if its dependent on external sources. The body is not capable of producing the essential amino acids so it relies on food intake to get it. The non-essential amino’s are being produced by the body so there’s no need to help the body get in more. The body is able to produce enough of the semi- (non) essential amino acids but in some cases there’s need for more, that’s why its semi.
There are a lot of different opinions on what the right amounts of protein are. If you don’t work out regularly, I suggest you get in about 1-1,5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (0,6-0,8 grams per lbs. of bodyweight) , that amount will make sure that you’re getting a good amount of protein in each day. If you work out on a regular basis I would highly suggest you get in about 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (1 gram per lbs. of bodyweight), because the body needs more protein to support your muscle maintenance and recovery.
Maintaining/ increasing muscle mass
When you work out at the right intensity you’re breaking the muscles down. Because our body is capable of adjusting itself to basically everything we throw at it, it wants to develop bigger and stronger muscles. In order to get stronger and recover it needs something to build off and that’s where protein comes in (that’s why protein is called a building block).
Keeps you satisfied longer – keeps cravings at bay
Protein has a less profound impact on our blood sugar level and with that, our insulin production. Blood sugar level spikes make us feel energized at one point and before you know it, you will feel sleepy, tired and hungry. Since protein has less of an impact on our blood sugar levels it means that we don’t feel as hungry or experience cravings as much. Obviously, this is beneficial to your health when working our regularly, or even if you don’t.
Supports weight maintenance and weight loss
As I have explained in my 3-part series ” why we are actually gaining weight” (you can check that here), blood sugar levels and insulin production are directly responsible for weight gain. Going back to my last point, I explained how protein has a smaller impact on both of these, which makes it a better source when we’re trying to lose weight. Another reason why proteins help us lose weight is because it helps you maintain muscle mass. Every pound of muscle mass burns an extra 50-60 calories every single day, if you do the math that adds up to a lot of calories over a week, month and years
Healthier bone structure
Protein is a building block but that doesn’t mean it just limits itself to our muscle mass. Proteins help us maintain a healthy bone structure. When we get older it can help us hold on to our bone mass better than other people who don’t prioritize protein as much.
High protein sources
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