You need to eat adequate protein to ensure your body is working at peak performance and has all the building blocks necessary. One of the many benefits of eating more protein is improved weight control. Protein fills you up and leaves you feeling fuller for a longer period. It lowers your ghrelin—the hunger hormone—level and increases peptide YY—a gut hormone that makes you feel full. One study showed that when obese women increased protein intake from 15% of their calories to 30% of their caloric intake, they reduced the number of calories they ate by an average of 441 daily without intentionally trying.
You’ll build stronger bones when you eat more protein.
You may have read that a higher protein intake causes calcium to leach from bones to neutralize the increased acid load from protein. Most people would believe it would make a higher protein diet bad for bones, but that’s not true. Over the long term, consuming more protein helps build stronger bones. Studies show that people consuming more protein have more bone mass as they age and a lowered risk of fracture or osteoporosis. More protein also helps maintain muscle mass, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
More protein aids in gaining muscle mass.
Protein is a building block for muscles. It’s why you eat a combination of carbs and protein before and after a tough strength-building workout. It helps maintain and build muscle mass. If you’re trying to lose weight, consume protein to ensure you won’t lose muscle mass. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so the more you have the higher your metabolism.
Consuming more protein can help you lose weight in other ways.
Are you prone to late-night snacks or crave food between meals? Protein not only helps you feel fuller, but it also can reduce cravings. Craving food isn’t the same as being hungry and late-night snacking normally doesn’t involve hunger either. Studies show that by upping your protein intake to 25% of your caloric intake, you can reduce daytime cravings by as much as 60% and nighttime snacking by 50%. Consuming protein can also increase your metabolism while you digest it. It’s the thermic effect that increases calories burned and keeps the metabolic fires burning throughout the day.
- You’ll reduce the risk of a heart attack when you increase your protein intake. Controlled trials show that a higher protein diet reduced blood pressure and even reduced other risk factors for heart disease.
- If you have an injury, protein helps the body do repairs faster. Whether you cut your hand chopping vegetables or fell outside, eating more protein provides the nutrients necessary to speed recovery.
- Increasing protein in your diet can make weight loss easier and help maintain that weight loss. An increase in your protein intake can help you keep weight off permanently.
- People often worry that too much protein can damage their kidneys. If you have a kidney problem, a high intake of protein may be harmful. For everyone else, a diet higher in protein won’t affect your kidneys.
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