Even though the main dispute about the best and worst diet is between fats and carbohydrates, there have been many studies aimed at resolving whether more or less proteins in the diet are healthier and more slimming. Many of them concluded that high protein diets are better for the metabolism and for weight loss, and here are 10 scientifically proven reasons why eating more proteins could be the healthier and better option for a fit body:
1. Gives you feeling of fullness
The main benefit of eating more proteins according to most nutrition experts is that protein is filling, leads to the feeling of satiation after consuming smaller quantities of food. This means that by following a high-protein diet you will eat less and yet feel less hunger as well, plus the cravings for snacks between meals will be reduced. The scientific explanation for this effect of proteins on the human organism is that proteins actually cause the level reduction of the ghrelin hormone which is the “hunger hormone”, and at the same time cause the “satiety hormone” peptide YY to increase, and thus the feeling of fullness.
This has a powerful effect on losing weight as the calories will go down when more protein is added to the diet. Especially for overweight people who want to lose that extra belly fat, exchanging some of the fats and carbohydrates in the diet with more protein could have a dramatic effect.
So, the conclusion is that proteins reduce the appetite by affecting the hunger and satiety hormones, and that high-protein diets are very effective for weight loss, especially for reducing belly fat.
2. Increase muscle mass and strength
Proteins are crucial “building blocks” of the muscles, so they help increase muscle mass as well as muscle strength. Thus, it is logical that body builders and physically active people should follow a high-protein eating regimen, in order to provide the necessary proteins to “feed” the muscles and allow them to grow in mass and in strength. Also, even if you don’t want to build more muscle mass, proteins are crucial for preventing muscle loss, especially when on a weight loss regimen, when the body could go into a catabolic state.
This means that protein is crucial for muscle mass and strength, and it can help build it up or keep it when losing weight.
3. Improves bone health
Protein also has a great effect on bone health. Some studies have concluded that people who consume more proteins have a tendency to maintain their bone mass for longer plus they are at lower risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures as they age.
This means that protein is crucial for bone health, and consuming more proteins will keep the bones healthier even in the later stages of life, which is especially important for women who are more prone to developing osteoporosis and suffering bone fractures after menopause.
4. Reduce craving of junk food
Eating protein will help reduce the cravings for unhealthy snacks especially those which often occur late night. As most people know, such cravings can be very difficult to control, so avoiding them altogether is the best idea. This is where protein comes in handy – a study found that a 25% increase of protein intake leads to about 60% reduction of cravings and 50% reduction of cravings for a snack at night.
So, if you are the victim of common cravings for snacks, especially at night, try to increase your protein intake, and these hard to resist cravings will be reduced or disappear.
5. Helps fat burning
Another benefit of eating more protein is the fact that it boosts metabolism and helps fat burning. The fact is that the human body actually burns calories while digesting food which is known as the thermic effect of food. But, the digestion of different foods causes a different level of thermic effect of food. The high protein intake has been found to boost the metabolism and to increase the calories burnt to 100 or more per day, just from digestion.
For those who are looking to lose weight, it is good to know that eating protein will boost the metabolism, and will help calorie burning per day just through its consumption and digestion.
6. Improves cardiovascular health
Certain studies have concluded that high protein intake can actually help resolve issues with elevated blood pressure, and chronic high blood pressure could lead to serious and even fatal health conditions. The trials concluded that high protein intake can decrease the blood pressure with 1.76 mmHg for systolic and 1.15 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure. Thus we can safely conclude that consuming more protein can actually make you healthier and reduce the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, or suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.
7. Maintain healthy weight
We already mentioned that the increase of protein will boost the metabolism, help burn more calories and help weight loss, but another fact is that protein not only will do that, but will help maintain the weight after the weight loss diet and regimen is over, which is the biggest challenge after losing the unwanted weight. It has been found that by simply increasing the protein intake from 15% to 18% of the calorie intake after stopping a diet, the regain of weight will be reduced by 50%.
The conclusion is that protein not only benefits weight loss, appetite reduction and calorie burning, but helps keep the optimum weight even after the weight loss regimen is over.
8. It’s not bad for healthy kidneys
Some people believe that the intake of too much protein can harm the kidneys, which is partly true but only for people who already have kidney problems, but it is not a factor for people with healthy ones. So unless you suffer from kidney disease, there is no danger of increasing your protein intake.
9. Help the body to heal faster
Another beneficial effect of protein is that it helps the body repair faster and better following an injury. This is due to the fact that protein is actually the main component of muscle, organs and all body tissue. Thus eating more protein following an injury will help the body to heal more rapidly.
10. Stay strong for longer
Eating protein can help maintain a fit body for longer. This means that sufficient protein intake can help prevent the shrinking of the muscles which comes with age and is called sarcopenia, and which can cause fragility of the bone structure, weakness of the body and an overall reduction of the quality of life when one becomes older. So, increase your protein intake now in order to stay fit, strong and well for longer.
As for the question of how much protein is good and will actually benefit your health? Well, there is no one universal answer because people are different. Most people in the developed countries consume proteins which amount to 15% of their daily dietary intake, which is sufficient to stay healthy. But for those who are after losing weight, then increasing the percentage of proteins in the total calories is important, as well as for those who want to gain muscle mass and strength.