One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that women, in general, don’t eat nearly as much protein as they should. Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Numerous studies suggest that a high protein diet has major benefits not only when it comes to weight loss, but metabolic health as well. Not to mention that this macronutrient helps build muscles and is essential for recovery.
Eating a diet high in protein helps you burn more calories. Protein has a thermic effect in the body which means the body expends energy or burns off calories during the digestion process. Compared to other foods like carbohydrates, which have the same caloric value, protein actually has a greater thermic effect. High protein intake may boost your metabolism significantly, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
Protein reduces appetite and keeps hunger in check. When it comes to macronutrients (fats, carbs, protein), they all affect your body differently. Studies show that protein is by far the most filling than the other two. This is because protein reduces the level of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. At the same time, it boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full. It is suggested that women that need to lose weight and especially belly fat, should focus more on high protein intake and prioritize it more than carbs or fats.
Protein also helps you increase lean muscle mass and it improves your strength. This shouldn’t come to as a surprise, after all, protein is the building block of your muscles. Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you do strength training.
At some point, there was a lot of talks that protein, mainly animal protein, is bad for your bones. This was based on the idea that protein increases the acid load in the body, leading to calcium leaching from your bones in order to neutralize the acid. However, numerous long term studies show that protein, including animal protein, has major benefits for your bones. Women who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. As women, we are at high risk of osteoporosis, especially after menopause. By eating a diet high in protein and staying active, we help prevent that from happening.
Another benefit of a high protein diet is that it prevents cravings, especially late at night. By consuming enough protein-rich foods during the day, we feel more full which translates in fewer cravings and less overeating.
High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. However, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Because a high-protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and cravings, many women who increase their protein intake tend to lose weight almost instantly. Upping your protein intake can not only help you lose weight but keep it off in the long term.
Many people believe that a high protein intake harms your kidneys and they are afraid of increasing the protein in their diet. While high protein intake may harm individuals with kidney problems, it has no relevance to people with healthy kidneys.
Protein not only helps you recover faster and repair your muscles after training, but it also can help your body repair itself faster after it has been injured. That is because protein forms the main building blocks of your tissues and organs.
As we age, our muscles gradually weaken. Eating more protein is one of the best ways to reduce age-related muscle deterioration and prevent sarcopenia. For even further benefits, staying physically active, lifting weights or doing some sort of resistance exercise is crucial.
If you need to lose weight, improve your metabolic health, or gain muscle mass and strength, make sure you’re consuming a diet high in protein.