7 Science Backed Reasons To Eat More Protein.
Most Of Us Already Know That Protein Makes Muscles, But Do You Know What Else It Does….
I want to tell you something really interesting. It turns out that Popeye’s favourite superfood doesn’t contain that much protein, but is actually super for scientific reasons that have only just come to light recently. Spinach, the go to emergency power food for fabulous forearms contains something interesting called ‘Ecdysterone’.
Scientists at the Freie Universitat Berlin’s Institute of Pharmacy have recommended that ecdysterone, a hormone found in spinach, be included in the list of prohibited substances for athletes because the performance gains of individuals dosed with ecydestorone was that great.
As per the study, “significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in those participants that were dosed with ecdysterone.”
Maria Parr, one of the study’s scientists, said that their “hypothesis was that we would see an increase in performance, but we really didn’t expect it to be that big”.
Anti-doping agencies are currently not allowed to test for ecdysterone because it isn’t on the list of banned substances, he explained.
This, combined with its greater than expected effect on performance, is a worry. “It’s very powerful because it’s invisible,” said Botre. “It’s not on the list.”
But, we came here to talk about my favourite nutrient protein….
So, lets jump right in to the 7 science backed reasons we should all be consuming more protein.
1. Protein Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels
There are three macronutrients; fats, carbs, and protein. They all 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 (Trusted Source).
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 (Trusted Source, and another Trusted Source).
These effects on appetite can be powerful. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories consumed on a daily basis made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day without intentionally restricting anything (Trusted Source).
If you need to lose weight or belly fat, consider replacing some of your carbs and fats with protein. It can be as simple as making your potato or rice serving smaller while adding a few extra bites of protein rich foods such as quinoa, amaranth grain, tofu or a chemical free, all natural complete protein supplement.
So to summarise, A high-protein diet reduces hunger, helping you eat fewer calories. This is caused by the improved function of weight-regulating hormones.
2. Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
Protein is the building block of everything your body does, from cell production for healthy skin and hair to of course making healthy muscles.
Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you work out which will assist you with everything in life from walking the stairs at work to looking good or achieving your desired athletic goals. Whether you want to complete a 10km running race, compete in your first cross fit competition or improve your vinyasa flow practice, protein is an important foundation that your body needs to be fueled with. So, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein.
So, to summarise — Muscle is made primarily of protein. High protein intake can help you gain muscle mass and strength while reducing muscle loss during weight loss.
3. Reduce Cravings & Desire for Late-Night Snacking
A food craving is different from normal hunger.
It is not just about your body needing energy or nutrients but your brain needing a reward (18 Trusted Source).
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.
One study in overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60% and the desire to snack at night by half (Trusted Source).
Likewise, a study in overweight adolescent girls found that eating a high-protein breakfast reduced cravings and late-night snacking. This is a great way to start the day.
To Summarise — Eating more protein may reduce cravings and desire for late-night snacking. Merely having a high-protein breakfast may have a powerful effect.
4. Protein Boosts Your Metabolism & 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).
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% (Trusted Source).
High protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn. This can amount to 80–100 more calories burned each day (Trusted Source, Trusted Source and another Trusted Source).
In fact, some research suggests you can burn even more. In one study, a high-protein group burned 260 more calories per day than a low-protein group. That’s equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise per day (Trusted Source).
So to summarise — High protein intake may boost your metabolism significantly, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
5. Protein Helps Your Body Repair Itself After Injury
Protein can help your body repair itself after it has been injured.
This makes perfect sense, as it forms the main building blocks of your tissues and organs.
To summarise — Eating more protein can help you recover faster if you’ve been injured.
6. Helps Maintain Weight Loss
Because a high-protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and cravings, many people who increase their protein intake tend to lose weight almost instantly (Trusted Source & another Trusted Source).
One study found that overweight women who ate 30% of their calories from protein lost 11 pounds (5 kg) in 12 weeks — though they didn’t intentionally restrict their diet (Trusted Source).
Protein also has benefits for fat loss during intentional calorie restriction.
In a 12-month study in 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 (Trusted Source).
Of course, losing weight is just the beginning. Maintaining weight loss is a much greater challenge for most people.
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% (Trusted Source).
If you want to keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.
Summary — Upping your protein intake can not only help you lose weight but keep it off in the long term.
7. Protein Helps You Stay Fit as You Age
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 (Trusted Source & a 2nd Trusted Source).
Eating more protein is one of the best ways to reduce age-related muscle deterioration and prevent sarcopenia (Trusted Source).
Staying physically active is also crucial, and lifting weights or doing some sort of resistance exercise can work wonders (Trusted Source).
Summary — Eating plenty of protein can help reduce the muscle loss associated with aging.
The Bottom Line, Literally.
Most people already eat around 15% of their calories from protein, which is more than enough to prevent deficiency.
However, in certain cases, people can benefit from eating much more than that — up to 25–30% of calories.
If you need to lose weight, improve your metabolic health, or gain muscle mass and strength, make sure you’re eating enough protein.
Wishing You Wellness
Aaron is the founder of www.thehonestearth.com To lead a quality life, one must be nourished with quality. We make the best plant based protein powders & superfood supplements with sustainable ingredients from around the world.