5 Reasons Why Protein is the Latest Buzzword
So what is all the buzz with protein these days? Is it just another fad for weight loss gurus and bodybuilders? Absolutely not. Protein is an important nutrient found in food and is essential for muscle repair, weight management and so much more! Yet not all protein-containing foods are treated equally. Foods rich in high-quality protein like dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, pork, fish and soy contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. Amino acids are building blocks of protein that help build, repair and maintain body tissue. This is why high-quality protein is so vital to our bodies.
Recently, research has shown that it’s not just how much protein you eat, but when you eat it that makes a big impact on your health. Consuming similar amounts of protein at each meal throughout the day may actually be more beneficial than trying to cram in your entire days’ worth of protein at one meal. Unfortunately, for most Americans, protein needs are often attempted to be met primarily at dinner with intake at breakfast and lunch falling short.
Protein is important, but unless you know why it’s beneficial, it may be difficult to make room for it throughout your day. Protein is essential for many reasons, but here are five that might cause you to think differently about this nutrient:
1. Protein provides satiety
Eating a higher-protein diet, which means getting about 30 percent of your calories from protein, can lead to greater satiety at meals which may lead to less overeating.
2. Protein is beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance
Research shows that consuming a diet a bit higher than the daily protein recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (0.8 grams protein/kg of body weight per day) and consuming 25-30 grams of protein per meal can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. This is possibly due to the effect protein has on satiety levels and proposed reduction of overall caloric intake.
3. Protein aides in the benefits of exercise
Consuming high-quality protein may also help with faster recovery after workouts, increased muscle repair and improved muscle mass and strength.
4. Protein optimizes body strength
Not only is protein important for exercise, but some studies have also shown that it helps prevent muscle loss, a concerning issue as we age. Eating a diet higher in protein in addition to regular physical activity is thought to help slow the progression of muscle mass loss and function.
5. Protein is found in so many delicious foods and can be cost-effective, too
A glass of milk, which contains 8 grams of protein, is one of the most affordable protein sources available at only 25 cents per eight ounce serving. Additional high-quality protein sources and the amount of protein found in each include:
6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt: 17 g
1 slice of cheddar cheese: 7 g
8 ounces of low-fat cottage cheese: 27 g
3-ounce serving of beef: 25 g
3-ounce serving of chicken breast: 26 g
1 large egg: 6 g
Eating at least three dairy servings throughout the day such as a glass of milk or yogurt at each meal time is an easy way to up your protein intake and reap the numerous benefits that protein has on your health. Incorporating other protein-rich foods, like the ones listed above, can also help you better reach optimal protein levels each day.
Originally published in 2016, this blog has been reviewed for freshness and accuracy.