Athletes of various kinds have long advocated the use of a high-protein diet for its well-known advantages in weight loss, muscle gain, and physical performance. The fact is that protein is the body’s most important building block, so your ability to build a strong body will naturally depend on giving your body the best bricks it can get.
What Is Protein?
Protein is a macronutrient, which means that it is a primary fuel source. Together with carbs and fat, protein is one of the three most important nutrients to human health. They are called macronutrients because the body needs to consume large amounts of them. Vitamins, by contrast, are not needed by the body in huge quantities. Protein can be a dietary problem because, although your body needs a large amount of it, the body cannot store it. Therefore, all your protein has to come from diet and supplementation.
To give you an idea of just how much your body uses protein as a building material, it is worth noting that the body of a 154-pound human will generally contain about 24 pounds of protein. This protein is found in the muscles, hair, skin, blood, and many other bodily structures. Your body also uses protein for more specialized purposes. Specialized proteins in the blood deliver oxygen to the rest of the body, while other specialized proteins called hormones help the body to communicate and to act as one organism. Other specialized proteins called antibodies help to ward off disease and infections.
How Does Protein Impact My Fitness Plan?
Many people think of a high-protein diet as a diet for weightlifters and serious athletes. While this is true, there are benefits for average people as well. One of these is the fact that a high-protein diet tends to be lower in fat and carbs, making such a diet very good for weight loss. The body also uses a certain amount of its energy to digest food, and protein takes more energy to digest than fat or carbs. These factors make it hard to get fat while using a high-protein diet.
The FDA recommends that everyone should have a daily protein intake of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, many experts believe that this number is entirely too low. This study found that 1 gram per kilogram per day is a more realistic figure. It also found that athletes only need a little more protein than the rest of us.
It is commonly believed that men need more protein than women, but plenty of research indicates that the difference is mainly due to the different fitness goals that men and women pursue. Men usually want big muscles, while women generally want to be lean and trim.
Some people believe that too much protein in your diet is a bad thing and that it can even lead to kidney failure and weight gain. However, there seems to be little scientific evidence to support these claims. To overdose on protein would be a very difficult thing.
What About Supplements?
Getting enough protein from food can be expensive or difficult for some people. If you can’t afford to eat lean meat and fresh vegetables every day, or if you just prefer smaller meals, a protein supplement can give you a lot of flexibility and a way to make up for any deficits that might be present in your diet.
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Protein And Aging:
It is true that the body will require more protein as it ages. Exact requirements will vary by body type, but anyone over 40 should be getting at least one gram per kilo. People over 65 need as much as 1.3 to 2.0 grams per kilo. This happens because the body becomes less efficient in its use of protein with age, meaning that you need a greater intake to achieve the same energy level.
Types of Protein:
Obviously, this is the most natural way to get your protein. The most common sources include meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. These animal products are also normally rich in the amino acids that your body also needs. Vegetarians will normally need to do a little more research and get creative, as plant sources do not usually contain the right variety of proteins and amino acids unless properly combined.
There are many protein powders on the market, but the differences between them come down to one simple factor: the primary protein source and the quality of the protein. The most popular source is whey, and whey powder in various forms has become a staple among bodybuilders. Some other products use powdered milk, eggs, casein, or soy. For those who prefer herbal solutions, there are products based on peas, rice, hemp, and other plants. This is good because people have many options depending on their dietary preferences. It should be noted that both casein and whey are derived from milk, so stay away from these if you are lactose-intolerant.
There are many protein bars on the market that claim to deliver all the protein you need for a heavy workout. In practice, some are much better than others. Some of these are just candy bars with different packaging, containing too many added fat and carbs. Remember, energy bars are expensive, and you can get carbs and fat from anywhere! Only buy protein bars that contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving. 20 to 30 grams per serving is preferred. You may even consider making your own!
Protein has been shown many times to be effective in stimulating muscle growth. Muscles are built through a process called muscle protein synthesis, and high-protein diets are needed for this process to attain its maximum results. A protein supplement can also be a great thing to enjoy right after a workout. At this time, your body is still in a muscle-producing state. This will more directly benefit your muscles. This phenomenon is referred to as an “anabolic window.”
The most common way to take protein powder is to add it to some milk and mix it up. Some products come as a ready-made shake mix so that you only have to add water. In theory, though, you could add it to any food or drink. The trick is finding just the right amount so that you get your nutrition without ruining the taste of your food.
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