Out of the three macronutrients, protein is the least controversial.
A high-protein intake is promoted, be it your trainers, or nutritionists.
The recommended daily allowance is so ridiculously low that almost anyone who increases their protein intake to this optimal range would reap the benefits we are about to discuss.
The need for protein intake increases as your activity increases.
The RDA for sedentary adults is 0.8g/kg of bodyweight. But for active adults, the need for protein increases to this optimal range: (1.2-2)g/kg of bodyweight.
Here are 6 science-based reasons why you should eat more protein every day.
Protein helps manage appetite
What is one of the most important things when it comes to losing weight? Managing cravings..right?
Eating more protein has an increased satiety effect that leads to a feeling of fullness.
Now, ghrelin is a hormone which stimulates appetite and promotes food intake4<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12575908>
Fifteen healthy men were studied in a single-blind, crossover design. The results were clear: The High-Protein breakfast decreased postprandial ghrelin secretion more than did the High-Carbohydrate breakfast. 5<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16469977>
Protein helps boost metabolism
If you are one of my students from my best-selling Nutrition course, you know that I give TDEE a lot of importance.
TDEE is one of the core concepts when it comes to weight loss and optimizing your health.
One of the components of TDEE is TEF—Thermic Effect of Food, also known as diet-induced thermogenesis.
Now, TEF for protein is the highest at 20-30% of the protein calories consumed.
To put in real terms, if you eat 500 calories of protein, 40-60 calories will be burned to digest the remaining protein calories (without you having to do anything!).
This may not seem like much, but every little bit all adds up, especially if you look in the long term.
Protein helps you lose fat:
Naturally, when your cravings are reduced, it leads to less and less food consumption, which decreases your overall caloric intake for the day. Several studies have concluded that more protein helps with fat loss. 6<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12566476>, 7<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15466943>, 8<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15051856>.
Another randomized control trials over a period of 6 months comparing two diets—High Protein and High Carbohydrate. Weight loss after six months was 5.1kg in the HC group and 8.9 kg in the HP group! 9<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10375057>
Yet another randomized six months strictly controlled dietary intervention followed by 6-12 months dietary counseling period, and a subsequent 24 months follow-up concluded that weight loss was greater in the HP group (9.4kg versus 5.9kg)10<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15303109>
Protein helps with increase and maintaining muscle mass
Strength training combined with more protein in your diet can help you gain muscles
Protein, as we know it, is the building block of muscle tissue, and numerous studies support the fact that more protein intake (definitely higher than the RDA) becomes essential when you take part in physical activities.
Click here to know the optimal protein intake based on the type of activity.
Protein helps you with weight maintenance in the long term
We all want to lose weight and retain it…right?
In a New-York Times article13<https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/health/biological-changes-thwart-weight-loss-efforts-study-finds.html> it was stated that more than 90% of dieters who lose weight gained it all back!
Well, the good news is that an increase in protein intake into the optimal range along with regular workouts and an energy-controlled diet has the potential to sustain the weight loss and help you to stay within a healthy weight range or BMI.
This is due to increase in satiety and retention and/or increase in lean mass as we learned in the previous points.
Proteins helps you improve reduce blood pressure.
Hypertension leads to strokes and heart attacks. In a 2014 study by researchers from the Boston School of Medicine published in the American Journal of Hypertension concluded that:
Participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100g/day) had a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure compared to the lowest level intake
Conclusion and My Recommendation
RDA recommendation of 0.8g/kg of bodyweight is geared for sedentary individuals.
If you are an active person taking part in strength training and another intermittent type of activities than the need for protein increases, and it’s to consume within this optimal range: (1.2-2)g/kg of bodyweight.
It becomes even crucial if your goal is to increase muscle mass and/or lose fat and, most importantly, for weight management in the long term.
What do you think about these benefits?
Have something you like to add.
Let me know in the comments below!
Sources & References [ + ]