Why is protein important?
Very few people suffer from protein deficiency, but this does not mean that increasing your protein intake is not important for your health.
A diet rich in protein has many health benefits and science has confirmed them in numerous studies.
Here are the main reasons why you should consume the right amounts of protein.
1.-Increases muscle mass and strength
Protein is an essential macronutrient that makes up muscles, tendons, organs and skin and serves to produce enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and other molecules.
Without protein, life as we know it would not be possible.
Since proteins are one of the components of muscles and these tissues tend to break down and regenerate, it is obvious to think that proteins serve to increase muscle mass.
And so it is: an abundant intake of protein helps to rebuild worn and deteriorated muscle tissue and contributes to muscle gain.
Increasing protein intake also helps prevent the muscle loss that normally occurs when a person goes on a weight-loss diet.
Protein prevents muscle loss while keeping your metabolism revved up and your body burning fat.
The general recommendation is to consume 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but many studies suggest that between 1.5 g and 2.2 g of protein is sufficient, depending on the individual.
The main characteristic of proteins is their powerful satiating effect.
When you eat protein-rich foods, you feel fuller more easily and your stomach stays full longer.
Numerous studies have confirmed that a high protein intake results in a spontaneous and automatic reduction in calorie intake, up to 441 fewer calories per day.
The feeling of satiety produced by protein is due to the way protein affects weight-regulating hormones:
- They increase the levels of the satiety hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin.
- They reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
3.-They burn more calories
When you eat a food, your body needs to burn calories to digest and metabolize it in order to make use of the nutrients it contains.
Depending on the thermal effect of each food, your body will need more or less calories and, specifically, proteins require more calories for their metabolism than carbohydrates or fats, for example.
Thus, a diet rich in protein has been shown to increase metabolism and increase calorie burning by up to 80-100 calories per day.
A person who consumes large amounts of protein can burn up to 260 calories more than a person who consumes little protein, which is equivalent to one hour of moderate-intensity workouts.
4.-Reduction of cravings
Cravings are a kind of “reward” that our brain asks for without having a physiological need, that is, without being hungry.
When you have a craving, you feel like eating something sweet, full of calories, and most of the time it’s very difficult not to give in to temptation.
For this reason, the best way to beat a craving is not to have it, and here protein can be your best ally.
According to several studies, a protein diet decreases cravings by up to 60% and the desire to snack late at night by 50%.
5.- Maintain an ideal weight
Some research shows that consuming 30% of total daily calories in the form of protein produces a weight loss equivalent to 5 kilos.
In the same way, a protein diet significantly increases the elimination of abdominal fat, that fat that accumulates around the organs making your belly grow and is the cause of several diseases.
However, what you can’t imagine is that protein intake not only helps you lose weight, but also helps you keep it off.
In one study, increasing protein intake by as little as 3% decreased weight regain by 50%.
6.-Prevents bone disease
Excessive protein intake has always been believed to increase the risk of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
The protein can cause some weakening of the bones by increasing the body’s acid levels, as the body draws on calcium from the bones to neutralize it.
However, this only occurs in the short term and many studies have confirmed that a diet rich in protein in the long term positively affects the skeletal system.
In other words, a high amount of protein increases calcium retention and absorption and improves bone metabolism, which translates into a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures, mainly in older people and postmenopausal women.
There is some scientific evidence that proves that a high protein intake favours the reduction of blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension, a risk factor for numerous cardiovascular diseases.
Several studies have shown that increasing protein intake can reduce systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.15 mmHg.
There is also evidence that a protein diet helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
Protein deficiency has been associated with a slower rate of healing and scarring, reduced collagen production and wound dehiscence, i.e. spontaneous opening of a sutured area, with “stitches”.
That said, it can be concluded that a diet rich in protein can significantly promote healing and wound healing and accelerate tissue recovery after injury.
9.-Protection of muscular aging
As the years go by, your health gradually deteriorates in many aspects and muscles are one of the victims of aging.
Sarcopenia is one of the main diseases that attacks elderly people and consists of the degenerative loss of muscle mass and strength.
It is a disease associated with age and its prevention is possible through an increase in protein intake.
Physical exercise is also another method of prevention and weight lifting or resistance training can significantly decrease the risk of sarcopenia.
10.-They do not harm the kidneys.
Experts recommend that people with kidney problems avoid consuming too much protein, which can make the situation even worse.
However, this does not mean that protein intake harms or damages your kidneys.
Numerous studies have confirmed that protein diets, unlike other diets do not negatively affect the health of your kidneys when they are fully healthy.