When you eat protein, you do a lot for your body. Protein staves off hunger, it feeds your muscles for a lean look, it revs the metabolism, it helps keep your skin clear and your hair shiny, keeps your body healthy and it can even help you burn fat!
- Protein staves off hunger. In fact, adding more protein to your day can help keep you from reaching for those sugary snacks in the middle of the day. Add more lean chicken, wild salmon, nuts, hummus and eggs to your meals and you will notice a difference right away. Even nut butters are a way to add protein and feel fuller longer. Each meal or snack should contain at least 25% protein.
- Protein gives the body a leaner look. It is true! Eating more protein will lead to a body with a lean, long look. Protein helps the body build and maintain muscle. Any added muscle on the body will help increase metabolism and burn fat.
And ladies, do not worry about bulking up. It simply will not happen. Men and women have a different chemical make-up. Men have more testosterone then women, and this is what lends itself to building larger muscles.
- As stated before, protein helps your body build muscle. Protein is actually the building block for muscle, and both men and women need it to help build any type of muscle mass. You can lift all the weights you want, but without the proper fuel, you will never see any muscular gains.
Why? Because our bodies need the amino acids that come from protein. These amino acids are what the body uses to build and maintain muscle.
- That additional muscle mass revs the metabolism, too. All day! So even if you are sitting on the couch, or your desk at work, your body is burning extra calories. A pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day while a pound of fat burns just two!
- In addition to helping the body build muscle, protein also helps hair and nails grow and keep your skin shiny and clear. Protein will also help to stave off illness and disease because it helps to strengthen the immune system and it even helps to prevent anemia and aids in circulation problems.
In order to get the most out of your protein and to build a lean, strong frame, dieticians suggest that women aim to eat 28 ounces of protein per pound of body weight daily, while men should shoot for half a gram per pound of body weight (so if you weigh 200 lbs, you would need to eat 100 grams of protein per day).
There are many options out there when choosing protein, but there are just two ‘types’ of protein. These are complete and incomplete proteins. To be a complete protein, the protein must contain all the essential amino acids. An incomplete protein does not, but if you combine incomplete proteins you can sometimes make a complete protein.
Wondering what a complete protein is? Good examples are eggs, milk, chicken and fish. Most complete proteins come from animals. The incomplete proteins come in the form of nuts, beans and whole grains.
You should, however, note that going overboard with protein is not good either. Eating too much protein can force the body to form ketones that are then released into the bloodstream. This could force the body into ketosis–and this results in fatigue and sluggishness.
Aim to eat protein at each meal, and strive for complete proteins, or incomplete proteins that can be combined to make a complete protein.