Most health and fitness junkies these days know how important it is to eat a diet rich in protein. It seems everywhere you turn, someone’s guzzling a protein shake or nibbling on a protein bar (or cookie, or ball).
Pssst! Aussie Bodies makes a great-tasting range of protein-packed bars, balls and shakes. Just saying…
Have they all gone mad, or are they onto something?
They’re definitely onto something. Proteins are quite literally the building blocks of life. Protein plays a role in nearly every part and process of the body – it is used to build bone, hair, nails, skin and of course muscle tissue, but it is also important for the production and action of enzymes, hormones and antibodies.
Burn baby, burn!
Protein is also regularly celebrated for its role in weight loss: eating adequate amounts of protein as part of a balanced diet can improve body composition, keep hunger at bay, and even encourage fat loss. But despite popular misconceptions, a protein-rich diet is not just for the body builders and dieters among us. Here are 7 reasons everyone should eat more protein. Spread the word!
It is widely known that eating protein staves off hunger and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. In fact, people who eat high protein diets tend to eat less overall. One 2013 study found young women who ate a high-protein breakfast were less hungry and ate fewer snacks in the evening than women who ate a normal-protein diet. And a 2014 study found women who ate high-protein afternoon snacks felt fuller and ate fewer calories at dinner than women who ate energy-dense, high-fat snacks.
Low protein diets have been shown to slow metabolism, increase insulin resistance and increase body fat. Conversely, a diet rich in protein helps maintain lean muscle mass, which requires lots of calories to maintain, even at rest. The more muscle mass you have, the better your fat loss will be. Ergo, doing exercise that promotes muscle growth and strength, such as weight training, coupled with a protein-rich diet, is one of the best ways to lose body fat without sacrificing precious lean muscle mass.
Popeye should have switched his spinach for an Aussie Bodies Lo Carb Protein Bar! Recommendations vary, but one 2011 study on optimal protein intake for athletes found that consuming 1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight was most effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis, building strength and preserving lean muscle mass. Other evidence suggests that when you consume protein is just as important as how much: a recent study found subjects who did weight training three times a week and then consumed a protein drink just before bed had significantly greater improvements in muscle size and strength than those who did not consume protein.
Stressed out? We’re all stressed out. The good news: whey protein shakes (like Aussie Bodies Perfect Protein) have been shown to improve cognitive function and performance in “high-stress” subjects by increasing serotonin levels. And, while the goal should always be to limit the stressors in your life, eating protein might help mitigate the damage stress does to your body and may even reduce the stress itself. And breathe out…
Studies have shown that eating glycine-rich proteins found in skin and gelatinous cuts of meat (like lamb shanks, osso bucco, meat and chicken broths) before bedtime can improve sleep quality. Sweet dreams!
Studies have consistently shown that consuming protein increases bone density and wards against osteoporosis. For bone health, most experts also recommend eating plenty of calcium – a 2014 study found the effects of increased protein intake on bone health may only be beneficial when enough calcium is consumed.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are essential for connecting neurotransmitters and keeping your brain sharp. The neurotransmitter norepinephrine, for example, is important for alertness and concentration, while serotonin is involved in mood, sleep, memory and learning. Getting enough protein at every meal helps keep your brain firing and your moods stable. In fact, researchers at Deakin University recently found that a protein-rich diet incorporating lean red meat combined with strength training promotes cognitive function and strength in older women.