Anyone who works out knows how important it is to eat protein-rich foods because protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle mass. But did you know that protein is vital for everyone, not just sports people?
What is protein?
It is not enough just to know the word protein and that it is worth eating. It is important to understand why we all need it so much and how we can obtain it.
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. Protein is the basic building material for the body, muscles and immune system function. Sufficient amounts of this essential nutrient are required to maintain various bodily functions.
Types of proteins and their functions
Many of you probably don’t know that proteins have different names and functions.
There are a number of protein types, each with a specific function in the body. Here are some examples:
1. Enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions in the body. Examples of enzymes include digestive enzymes that help break down food and metabolic enzymes that play a role in energy production.
2. Structural proteins. Structural proteins provide support and shape to different tissues and organs in the body. Examples of structural proteins include collagen in connective tissue, keratin in hair and nails, and actin and myosin in muscle tissue.
3. Transport proteins. Transport proteins move substances such as oxygen, nutrients, and waste products around the body. Examples of transport proteins include haemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, and lipoproteins, which transport cholesterol and other lipids in the blood.
4. Hormones. Hormones are signalling molecules that regulate different physiological processes in the body. Many hormones are proteins, including insulin, growth hormone, and thyroid hormones.
5. Antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that play a role in the immune system by recognizing and neutralizing foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.
6. Contractile proteins. Contractile proteins play a role in muscle contraction and movement. Examples of contractile proteins include actin and myosin in muscle tissue.
Reasons why we need to eat enough protein
When eating protein, it is always worth knowing and understanding its role in our body and health in general.
1Protein reduces appetite and hunger
Some studies show that protein is the most nourishing nutrient you can eat. It helps you feel fuller with less food because it reduces levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. It also raises levels of peptide YY, the hormone that makes you feel full.
In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories caused overweight women to eat 441 calories less per day without restricting themselves to anything.
2Reduces cravings and the desire for late-night snacks
The desire to eat is different from normal hunger – it’s not just that your body needs energy or nutrients, but your brain telling you to eat because it wants a delicious reward.
Nevertheless, cravings can be incredibly difficult to control. The best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring. One of the best methods of prevention is to increase your protein intake.
One study in overweight men found that increasing protein to 25% of calories reduced food cravings by 60% and halved the desire for a night snack.
3Increases muscle mass and strength
Protein is the building block of muscles. Therefore, eating enough protein helps you maintain muscle mass and promotes muscle growth during strength training. If you are physically active, lifting weights or trying to gain muscle mass, you need to make sure you get enough protein.
4Boosts metabolism and enhances fat burning
Eating plenty of protein can speed up your metabolism for a short time.
This happens because the body uses up calories to digest and use the nutrients in the food. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).
In one study, the high-protein group burned 260 more calories a day than the low-protein group.
5Helps to maintain weight loss
Because a high-protein diet increases the metabolism and leads to an automatic decrease in calorie intake and food cravings, many people who increase their protein intake lose weight almost instantly.
Moderate increases in protein intake have been shown to help maintain weight. In one study, increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories reduced weight loss by 50%.
Consequences of not getting enough protein
Protein deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in many functions of the body. If you don’t get enough protein, it can lead to several negative consequences, such as:
1. Muscle loss: Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. If you don’t consume enough protein, your body may break down muscle tissue to use as a source of energy, leading to muscle loss and weakness.
2. Slow recovery: Protein is necessary for repairing and rebuilding tissues, including after an injury or intense exercise. Without enough protein, your body may take longer to recover and heal.
3. Weak immune system: Protein is needed to make antibodies, which help fight infections and diseases. Without enough protein, your immune system may be weakened, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses.
4. Nutrient deficiencies: Many foods that are high in protein are also rich in other important nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. If you don’t get enough protein, you may also be at risk of developing nutrient deficiencies.
5. Hair, skin, and nail problems: Protein is necessary for the growth and maintenance of hair, skin, and nails. Without enough protein, you may experience thinning hair, brittle nails, and dry or flaky skin.
6. Increased appetite: Protein is known to be more satiating than carbohydrates or fat. If you don’t get enough protein, you may feel hungrier more often, leading to overeating and potential weight gain.
Overall, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to support your body’s many functions and avoid these negative consequences.
Let’s sum proteins up
Proteins are essential macromolecules that play crucial roles in the structure and function of living organisms. Proteins have a wide range of functions including structural support, transport of molecules, enzymatic reactions, and signalling. Adequate protein intake is necessary for maintaining good health.
Hungry for knowledge? Here you go!
In this video, Dr Berg will explain to you how much protein we need. Dr Berg specializes in healthy ketosis and intermittent fasting. He is the director of Dr Berg’s Nutritionals and a best-selling amazon.com author.
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