The benefits of increasing your protein intake

Protein is the body's building blocks. It is in every cell in your body, and vital for not just staying strong, but a normal functioning body. Below are 4 key benefits you can expect to see by increasing protein intake in your diet:

  1. Optimise Recovery – The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g/kg/day, but this recommendation is for sedentary people! When exercising, active people put strain on their muscles and this strain results in small tears which need to be repaired. Fortunately our body repairs and rebuilds our muscles so they grow stronger, however, it does require us to eat protein in larger quantities than the current RDA. Current evidence indicates a range of at least 1.2 to 1.6 g/kg/day of protein is a better target for achieving optimal health outcomes in adults [1].
  2. Appetite Regulation – In numerous studies it has been shown that the consumption of high protein meals promotes the feeling of fullness [2]. This is perfect if you are trying to lose fat by creating an energy deficit because you will feel less hungry.
  3. Maintain Muscle – When losing weight it is better to lose fat as opposed to fat and muscle, because then you reveal your muscle and look toned. Eating a higher protein diet has been shown to be better for maintaining your muscle mass when on a diet [3].
  4. Thermogenic Effect – This means the amount of energy required by the body to digest, absorb and dispose of food. This process requires about 10% of the total calories we eat daily! Protein requires more calories to digest than carbohydrate and fats, therefore eating a high protein diet is beneficial for weight loss.  

 Author: James Hudson

[1] Phillips, S. M., Chevalier, S., & Leidy, H. J. (2016). Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(5), 565-572. 

[2] Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., ... & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(6), 1320S-1329S.

[3] Mettler, S., Mitchell, N., & Tipton, K. D. (2010). Increased protein intake reduces lean body mass loss during weight loss in athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42(2), 326-337.