by Joel Marion
Eating enough protein in your diet cannot be underestimated. Don’t sell this powerhouse macronutrient short……
To take a deeper look, a diet higher in protein provides the following 7 benefits:
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1. Increased Lean Muscle Mass – A solid exercise program simply provides the stimulus for the body to burn fat and build muscle; your nutrition and your protein intake provide the building blocks to recover and adapt. With a higher protein intake, you feed and maintain your muscle tissue while dieting, and that means faster metabolism and greater calorie-burning (and fat-burning) even at rest!
2. Increased Thermic Effect of Feeding – All the foods we eat require energy to be broken down and absorbed in the body, but this “thermic effect” for protein is about twice as high as it is for carbohydrates or fats. A higher protein intake essentially means increased metabolic rate and heightened fat burning when dieting.
3. Increased Satiety – A diet higher in protein leads to greater feelings of fullness and being satisfied. Who likes to be hungry all the time?
4. Increased Glucagon – Glucagon is a hormone that counteracts the effects of insulin in fat tissue. While insulin can blunt the body’s ability to burn fat and instead tell it to STORE fat, glucagon produces the opposite effect, which means more fat burning. Essentially, glucagon is responsible for decreasing the body’s ability to make and store fat in fat cells and in the liver. This again means more fat burning and less fat storage.
5. Improved Fat Loss – Studies show that simply replacing carbs with protein – without lowering calories – actually increases fat loss and spares lean muscle tissue. That is, if you increase your protein intake while simultaneously decreasing your carb intake, you don’t even have to eat less to burn more fat!
6. Reduced Cholesterol – An increase in protein intake with a simultaneous decrease in carbohydrate intake leads to reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides and increases in HDL (good) cholesterol. This is a very good sign for cardiovascular health and function.
7. Optimized Immune System Function – Every cell in your body is composed of different types of proteins, including those of the immune system and the antibodies that help make it up. Diets deficient in protein can result in depletion of immune cells, an inability for the body to make antibodies, and other problems related to the immune system. A high protein diet, however, produces the opposite effect.
Those are just a few of the highlights associated with a higher protein intake. There are other, less measurable benefits of a higher protein intake.
For example, most people feel a significant increase in mental clarity, alertness, and energy when consuming a higher protein diet. Essentially, we’re talking about more lean muscle mass, less body fat, a faster metabolism, faster recovery from training, and improved overall health, vitality, and performance.
Eating a diet high in protein, however, doesn’t mean eating the same boring, bland foods or pinch-your-nose, gritty protein powders over and over.
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