Recently, I’ve seen a lot of TV commercials and computer ads in reference to different diet programs. Just to name a few: The South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem ads have been running rampant on TV. Not to be left behind are Jenny Craig and the Atkins Diet. These ads promise that you’ll lose several pounds and a few inches in only a few weeks. They also use people who supposedly had amazing results with diets as part of their marketing campaign. If you’re like me, you probably were tempted to give these programs. Especially after seeing and imagining the results you could have for yourself. But, do these diets really work?
From what I’ve gathered, you sign up for whatever membership you choose and have meals sent straight to your door. Sounds pretty easy and convinient, right? Maybe, however, if you go this route, you will be eating foods that someone else picked out for you. If that doesn’t bother or concern you, and you want try out one of these programs, then I say “more power to you”. Hopefully you’ll be another success story, and these programs aren’t just all show and no substance. Me, personally, I don’t like anyone dictating to me what I can and cannot eat. What about you? I like creating my own meal plans, and tweaking it around whenever I feel like eating something in particular. Whatever plan I create for myself, I always make sure I get enough of the most important macronutrient…protein. Protein is an absolute vital component in your fitness journey.
As you know, protein is the body’s main building blocks. They break down into amino acids inside the body to build tissues such as muscles, skin, organs and other molecules like hormones and enzymes. How much protein you need really depends on your lifestyle. If you are very active and a you workout a lot, you would need a lot of protein as opposed to someone who is a homebody or coach potato. Right now, you’re probably wondering why protein is so important in your quest to lose fat or build muscle. Well, let’s take a look at the benefits of a high protein diet.
The Benefits Of A High Protein Diet
Build More Muscle and Strength
Muscle tissue consists primarily of protein. You break them down when you exercise and activiate protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process where the body creates new muscle tissues to add to and replace the damaged ones. A study conducted by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also shows how a high protein diet can positively effect muscle and strength gains with resistance training. Can you picture yourself saying “Welcome to The Gun Show” while flexing your soon to be massive biceps?
Preserve Muscle and Lose Fat Faster
In 2004, The Harvard School of Public found that a high protein diet increased rate of weight and fat loss. Also, in 2010, the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom discovered that a high protein resulted in less lean body mass loss in athletes when dieting to loss weight. Lastly, The Millenium University in New Zealand found that a high protein diet resulted in less stress and less fatigue than a low protein diet. And less stress means that your body is working at optimal levels to help you reach your fitness goals. So with a high protein diet, you can not only maintain lean muscle, but maximize fat loss as well. Sounds like a win win if you ask me.
Feel Fuller and Less Hungry
Once I started taking my workouts and diet seriously, I always felt a bit of guilt whenever I felt full. Whenever I felt stuffed, it always felt like I ate more food than I should (which is detrimental to fat loss). I came to find out, fortunately, that reason I felt full and content, was due to the increase of my protein intake. The University Of Washington School Of Medicine in Seattle, WA found that with a high protein diet, your appetite decreases meaning you feel fuller longer. It also means that you decrease the risk of overeating and stunting your fat loss.
Preserve Muscle As You Grow Older
As we age, our bodies go through a process called sarcopenia. It’s a process where muscle mass and strength deteriorates as we get get older. Research shows that sarcopenia can cause obesity, as well as lead to a high level of mortal risk (in other words, death). This is a why high protein diet is definitely beneficial for elder people. The University of Connecticut have also discovered that a high protein can reduce the risk and even prevent sarcopenia, as well as osteoporosis.
Best Sources Of Protein and How Much To Eat
I love meat. Always have, always will. Animal protein (meat, fish, dairy and eggs) and whey protein are by far the best sources of protein out there. They have have a high amount of essential amino acids. They are both popular among athletes, bodybuilders and us normal, everyday looking to build muscle and get stronger. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, click here to find out how to get enough protein on a plant based diet.
How much protein should you eat? According to the scientists at McMaster University, optimum protein synthesis should be stimulated if your protein intake is about .6 to 1 gram per body weight. However, if you workout very intensely on a regular basis, you should keep your intake around 1 to 1.2 grams per body weight. A high protein diet works to preserve the muscle when you are in a calorie deficit training for fat loss. The leaner you are, the more protein your body needs while in a calorie deficit.
As you can see, a high protein diet is paramount. Whether you are an professional athlete or bodybuilder, or an everyday person with the goal of building muscle, losing fat or just to improve your diet, everyone can reap the benefits of a high protein diet. Do you agree? Has increasing your protein intake helped you in any way? How? Leave a comment below to let me know.