Why You Should be Eating More Protein

Why You Should be Eating More Protein
Protein is a big deal for your body and is essential in many of its functions and its abilities to keep you in your best shape. Optimally, depending on your fitness goals, you want to be eating .7-1.2 grams per pound of your body weight.

Many people, however, fail to meet this goal due to poor choices in their diet and snacking habits. It’s important to make sure that your body is getting sufficient protein from the right sources.

Here’s what protein does for your body:

  • Helps build strong and healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Repairs body tissue and help build new tissue
  • Is a building block for bones, muscles, cells, and blood
  • Helps prevent muscle and bone deterioration as you age

So, how can increasing your protein intake help you reach your weight loss goals?

Eating sufficient protein has been shown to control hunger and reduce cravings.
Protein reduces your level of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and increases the satiety hormone peptide YY, which makes you feel more full.

Additionally, protein is the building blocks of your muscles. It’s no surprise that incorporating regular exercise and weight training, and adding in a diet high in protein, will help you to build lean muscle mass. This will help you gain both muscle and strength while increasing the rate at which your body burns calories throughout the day.

A high protein intake has a high thermic effect of food (TEF), meaning that your body uses energy and burns calories to break down foods and use their nutrients. Protein has a much higher TEF than fats or carbs, at 20-35% vs. 5-15%. Protein can boost your metabolism, help you burn more calories, and therefore, help you maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight. Who doesn’t want to burn more calories at rest?

Okay, that all sounds amazing, right? How do you begin to incorporate more protein into your diet?

Protein comes from a wide variety of sources, and even in some foods that you wouldn’t expect to have significant levels of protein. These include:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Beans & Legumes
  • Protein supplements, like whey protein

In order to start increasing your protein intake, a simple solution is to make sure that you incorporate a lean protein into each one of your meals. Adding some chicken breast to your salad and a couple of eggs to your breakfast will increase your protein intake significantly.

You might start to notice something when you do this: you’ll start to feel fuller faster. If you think you might be losing your appetite towards the end of the day, and won’t have room for any more of those protein-rich foods, there is a solution.

Now more than ever, there are more and more snack options that are lower in carbs and fats and higher in protein.

Swapping out your cookies, chips, pretzels and other snacks for these nutritional alternatives is not only a better choice for your health but also allows you to intake more protein more easily.

Taking even the small steps to swap out your snacks with higher-protein options can help you increase your daily protein and puts you on a path to your fitness or weight loss goals.