Most people who want to lose weight know that protein is needed while dieting but many people do not know how protein helps in weight loss and aids our bodies in many other ways.
Protein is one of a complex group of molecules that makes up your hair, nails, bones and muscle. Simply put, protein helps tissues work the way they should.
Here are a few facts about protein and how it helps the body to reduce weight and keeps the body functioning the way it should:
- Energy Restoration: Carbohydrates and fat are the top sources for getting energy but when you are running low on calories like during active weight loss, protein is what helps to restore your energy.
- Muscle Building: Protein is what helps you from losing too much muscle mass when dieting and cutting calories. It also helps those who are looking to increase muscle mass by lifting weights.
- Bone Strength: Getting the right amount of protein during weight loss is important to prevent losing your bone strength. Bones need to be strong when on a weight loss plan as exercising plays a big role in weight loss and physical activities can lead to falls/breaks. This is especially important for aging patients as it can help to prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).
- Reduces Appetite and Cuts Cravings: Studies show that protein is the most filling of the macronutrients which means you need to eat less to feel full. More protein especially in the evening can keep the dieter satiated and prevent them from eating high carb foods that are not appropriate for weight loss.
- Increases Metabolism: A high protein diet increases metabolism (the rate that the body uses calories). When protein intake is higher, the body burns more calories even at rest. Keeping a consistent increase of protein intake during weight loss maintenance can also help the dieter from gaining the weight back.
- Immune System Support: Because proteins are made up of amino acids, they play a large role in the immune system. Adding protein to the diet can help in turning disease fighting cells like T-Cells and B-Cells into germ fighters. These cells look for and kill harmful cells that enter the body.
- Heart Help: Studies have shown that protein aids in reducing high blood pressure. Also, studies have reported decreases in LDL or bad cholesterol. Two very good reasons to increase protein intake.
- Heals Injuries: Protein can help the body heal itself after an injury. This is because of its ability to form the building blocks of tissues and organs. Protein reduces inflammation and repairs tissue at the site of the injury.
- Nutrient Transport: Proteins act as vessels that carry vitamins, minerals, sugars, cholesterol and oxygen through the blood stream and into the cells and tissues that need them. Some proteins also store nutrients like Iron to provide a back-up supply when needed.
A higher protein intake is important not only for successful weight loss but for keeping the body functioning at the level needed to ensure; adequate energy, muscle and bone strength, immune system support, heart health, injury prevention/repair and transportation of vitamins and minerals to cells and tissues in the body.
Sources: healthline.com/nutrition/10 reasons to eat more protein; Benefits of Protein Web MD/ webmd.com/men/features/benefits-protein#1; The Importance of Protein/HealthWise
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