Today’s blog is from our Red Deer Personal Trainer, Brianna Lawry CPT, enjoy!
She’s going to be discussing the The Importance of Eating Enough Protein. Take it away, Bri!
Protein is the building block of life. Protein helps the body repair cells and make new ones. It is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women. Most people either do not eat enough protein or are not getting protein from the right sources. A lack of protein or protein malnutrition, can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity and weakening of the heart and respiratory system. The general guideline for protein intake is 15-35% of one’s daily calorie intake. Another guideline suggests having 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. Some people may benefit from having more, some do not need as much. The amount of protein intake needed varies depending on many factors such as: body weight, gender, age, and level of activity or exercise. The more active one is, the more protein they will need.
Protein does not just come from meat, there are many other sources. The best meat sources are skinless turkey or chicken, bison, lean beef or pork and fish or shellfish. Other non-meat sources include: pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, split peas, or garbanzo beans, nuts and seeds, including almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, or walnuts (just watch how much you eat, because nuts are high in fat), tofu, tempeh, and lastly low-fat dairy products or greek yogurt. It is important to get your protein from different sources because they have different types of amino acids.
There are many health benefits to eating protein. The first being weight control. Protein helps control your appetite by filling you up and balancing hormones…which can lower overall calorie intake. In a 12-month study of 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories. Another benefit is increasing muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolism. When you eat, your body’s metabolism temporarily increases which means you are burning calories by eating. Protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-35%) than fat or carbs (5-15%), which means eating more protein can help burn more calories each day. Our nutrition programs for our strength training clients at our Red Deer Personal Training studio contain about 30-35% protein levels. Having protein after exercise is especially important to muscle tissue so it can grow back stronger. Eating protein after having an injury is also really important for recovery because proteins are the building blocks of the body’s tissues and organs.
Another benefit of protein is how it stabilizes blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that’s required for carbohydrate, fat and protein to be metabolized. However, carbohydrates require much more insulin than fat or protein does. The major determinant of blood sugar levels is the glycemic index response from the foods you eat, so while eating high-carb and high-sugar foods results in fluctuations in blood sugar levels, eating protein does the opposite. Eating protein actually slows down the absorption of sugar during a meal. This means a high-protein diet can help prevent spikes in blood glucose, which is especially important for preventing type 2 diabetes, balancing energy levels and keeping your appetite and mood in check.
There are many other health issues that are positively affected by eating protein, the first being cardiovascular disease. There are two links between heart disease and protein. One regards eating red meat. Harvard School of Public Health has found that eating even small amounts of red meat, especially processed red meat, on a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or any other cause. Conversely, replacing red and processed red meat with healthy protein sources such as poultry, fish, or beans seems to reduce these risks. In regards to the amount of protein eaten, there’s evidence that eating a high-protein diet may be beneficial for the heart, as long as the protein comes from a healthy source.
A 20-year study of over 80,000 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat and protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.
Protein intake also affects blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. A diet high in protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in several studies. In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mmHg on average, and diastolic blood pressure by 1.15 mmHg. Another study found that, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Protein is not only important when trying to lose weight or tone up, but is also important to helping with many health issues, as long as the correct protein sources are chosen. To recap this section, in terms of meat the best sources are skinless turkey or chicken, bison, lean beef or pork and fish or shellfish. Be careful not to have too much red meat or processed meat as they have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and weight control. Other great non-meat sources include: pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, split peas, or garbanzo beans, nuts and seeds, including almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, or walnuts (just watch how much you eat, because nuts are high in fat), tofu, tempeh, and lastly low-fat dairy products or greek yogurt. Protein, the building blocks of our bodies, are a very important part of maintaining body tissues and muscle and should be consumed in healthy amounts in order to develop and maintain our overall health.
So there you have it! You’ve learned what protein is, what is does, why it’s important and how to much to eat! If you are looking for more fitness and health advice, please comment below or call us at 403 347 1707 and one of our Red Deer Personal Trainers will gladly assist!
Sources and Continued Reading Below