The Benefits Of A High Protein Intake
A lot of the healthy products which we stock are high in protein, after all, we are called Protein Package. But why is protein so integral to your diet? How does it help you improve your physical performance and how much should you be consuming per day?
In virtually every scientific paper, all agree that protein is vital for humans to function properly and stay healthy. Protein is found within every cell that your body is made of, your muscles, skin, hair, and bones. Widely regarded as the key building block of life, protein is clearly important for our bodies.
Many people consume enough protein to prevent deficiency, but most individuals would be healthier with a much higher protein intake.
To get us started, we’ve listed five science-backed reasons to eat more protein.
1. REDUCES APPETITE
There are three main macronutrients: fat, carbohydrates and protein. Various scientific studies now show that surprisingly, protein is the most filling macronutrient. Simply put, you’ll feel fuller after consuming less food and fewer calories.
It’s been found this is due to protein lowering levels of hormones that trigger the feeling of hunger and increasing the release of weight-regulating that make you feel satiated.
For the snackers out there that find themselves between meals searching for something to ‘get them by’ or ‘tide them over’, a high protein snack is what you should be reaching for. It’s most likely the most effective way to fill that spot with the lowest number of calories consumed.
Food cravings can be super frustrating and one of the hardest things to overcome when you’re looking to maintain a healthy balanced diet. Studies suggest that one of the best ways to overcome them is to increase your protein intake and it’s proven to work for late-night cravings too (we agree, they’re by far the worst).
The majority of your protein intake should be found in healthy whole foods like chicken breast, lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy produce and nuts but often that’s not quite enough for you to get the most benefit from your diet.
This is where your protein bars, doughnuts, crisps and snacks come in handy - simply swap them for your standard high-sugar chocolate bar or packet of crisps brimming with saturates and you’re already making a positive change to your lifestyle.
2. INCREASES MUSCLE GAIN AND IMPROVES RECOVERY
As covered earlier, protein is the key building block of your muscles, therefore, eating the right amount is essential to maintain, grow and repair them after exercise - especially following strength training.
If you didn’t already know, during workouts and physical exercise, your muscles get microscopic fibre tears which break down the muscle tissue. Afterwards, a repair and synthesis process allows the muscles to rebuild themselves. If this is repeated over time, the muscles become both larger and stronger which is how it’s possible to grow your muscles.
It’s been proven that eating a high-protein diet can help increase muscle mass and strength due to it assisting the body's natural muscle recovery processes. Although protein helps, it’s important to remember that your body still needs a recovery period, this shouldn’t be simply skipped because you’re now eating protein bars. You’ll technically make less progress doing that than if you were resting and recovering properly between workouts and fitness routines.
If you’re losing weight or on a cut, maintaining a high protein intake can also reduce the level of muscle loss you’d usually suffer from during weight loss. This is because in a period of weight loss your body will not only reduce fat stores but reduce muscle size too and a high protein intake can counteract much of that.
3. BOOSTS METABOLISM
When you’re eating anything that contains calories it generally increases your metabolism, this is due to your body using those calories to break down and digest the nutrients already in the digestive system - this is called the thermic effect of food.
This is where it gets interesting, different types of foods have different levels of effects on calorie burning. Compared to fats and carbohydrates, protein can actually boost your metabolism by up to three times more which increases the number of calories your body works through on a daily basis.
That right there is boosting your body's metabolism naturally through diet alone. Awesome right?!
4. HELPS WITH LOSING WEIGHT
Helping you lose weight comes from a combination of both points one and three earlier in the list really.
As eating high protein foods and drinks will reduce your appetite, over an extensive period of time, those consumption reductions can quickly add up to place you in a caloric deficit which is required for reducing body fat levels.
Pair this with naturally boosting your metabolism which actually makes your body burn more calories without any additional ‘work’ from you; it’s no wonder many studies have shown high-protein diets are associated with healthy weight loss.
Don’t think of this as an easy way to lose weight, it will still take time, patience and a whole lot of mental focus.
5. INJURY REPAIR
Broken bones, muscle pain and skin damage, they’re all some forms of injury to the body. With protein being the building block of them all, it’s no wonder that increasing your intake should help with the repair of them - just like it does for muscle recovery.
As an example, protein is renowned for maintaining bone mass and enhancing calcium absorption sourced from foods. Now, we’re not saying that a protein flapjack is going to fix a broken leg in the space of a week but even if it helps a small amount - what’s the harm?
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD YOU EAT?
It’s very difficult to give a one size fits all number for how much protein you should consume per day as it varies from person to person depending on factors like sex, height, activity levels and more.
As a good estimate based on a wide range of nutritional studies, between 1.7–2.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight seems to be a range in which you’ll reap the most benefits of protein after considering the law of diminishing returns.
SO HOW CAN I EASILY INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE?
As mentioned previously, most of your protein intake should come from whole foods like chicken breast but it’s often hard to achieve those 1.7–2.3 grams without some form of supplementation or health foods.
As a quick example, I weigh 12 stone and 3 pounds which equates to 171 pounds. Let’s first covert this into kilograms if you also know your weight in stone, for an approximate result, simply divide the pounds weight value by 2.205.
171lbs ÷ 2.205 = 77.56kg
So now we have our weight in kilograms, let's calculate our healthy range of daily protein intake.
The lower limit: 77.56 x 1.7 = 131.85 grams of protein per day
The upper limit: 77.56 x 2.3 = 178.38 grams of protein per day
Therefore, between 131.85 and 178.38 grams of protein would be a good target for me to aim for daily.
Luckily for you, at Protein Package, we have plenty of high-quality products from brands around the world that are filled with protein and in stock to pick and mix.
Probably the quickest and most effective way to boost your protein intake is to use a protein powder (powdered version) or protein shake (ready-to-drink). The pre-made ones like Grenade's Protein Shakes are generally more expensive per serving but of course, come with that extra feature of convenience.
Talking of convenience, protein bars and snacks are a tasty way to snack better with them also being low in carbs, fat and sugar as well as coming in at just 200 calories per serving.
To finish up on a final bonus benefit of protein is that keratin, collagen and elastin (all of which are proteins) even help ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity to the skin to make your skin appear younger and healthier.