We’ve all heard that protein is an important component of our diet. “Rich in Protein” labels are often plastered over healthy food products, fitness magazines frequently recommend having a high-protein diet, and almost every bodybuilder in the gym has a protein shake in hand. But why exactly is it good for us? Here are 5 solid reasons.
Protein builds muscle mass
To put it more accurately, protein combined with exercise helps to stimulate muscle growth. In fact, it’s a common rule that achieving a shredded and ripped physique is 20% exercise and 80% diet. When performing resistance exercises like like weight lifting, your muscles start to experience micro tears which is a normal response when they are overworked. And this is where protein comes into play. The protein’s amino acids will help to rebuild and repair your damaged muscles. The rebuilding process often overcompensates the muscles with more size and strength to reduce the possibility of another microtrauma.
Protein keeps you full
Protein takes more time to digest compared to fats or carbohydrates, thus it keeps you feeling full over a longer period of time. This can be beneficial for those trying to shed those pounds as there’s a lesser likelihood of craving snacks and junk food when you feel full. Studies have also shown that consuming protein has highly satiating effects. So up your protein intake to keep the hunger at bay.
Protein stabilises blood sugar levels
When consumed alone, protein does not create an increase in blood sugar levels as much as carbohydrates do. In a study by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 12 subjects with type 2 diabetes were put through a 30:40:30 intake ratio of protein to carbs to fat and later on a 15:55:30 intake. Results indicated that their glucose levels dropped by as much as 40% when on the former high-protein intake. They then concluded that a high-protein diet can lower blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes and improve overall glucose control.
Protein keeps you happy
Serotonin is widely known as the “happy hormone” and it is produced from an amino acid called tryptophan which can be found in high-protein foods like chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. High blood sugar levels can potentially lead to depression. Referring back to our previous point, having a protein-rich diet is necessary for battling depression and keeping your mood levels in check.
Protein improves cognitive functions
Tyrosine is an amino acid that’s one of the building blocks for protein. Once it is inside our system, tyrosine is converted into norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in one’s attention and thinking. A study has shown that having a high-protein diet resulted in improved reaction time for a group of young males. In short, protein isn’t just food for your muscles, it’s also food for the brain.
It is recommended that the average person consumes 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 60kg, you are advised to consume 48 grams of protein everyday. To give you a rough idea, one average serving of chicken breast has 30 grams of protein and one egg has 6 grams of protein. Did you know that one packet of Youmee contains 11 grams of protein? That’s already 23% of the daily recommended protein intake for an average person weighing 60kg! If you’re fairly active or would like to pack on more muscle, then you’ll have to further increase your protein intake. Click here to calculate how much protein you should be eating according to your activity levels and fitness goals.