There is so much information out there regarding diet and nutrition, including what we should be eating more or less of. Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming, not to mention confusing. It’s important to understand the benefits and effects of your diet, especially if you are working towards a healthier lifestyle or have specific fitness goals.
Your protein intake in particular can have a great impact on your overall fitness and health, but how and why? Wellbeing365 take a closer look at what a high protein diet means.
What is protein?
Our diet is made up of a number of different elements, with three main macronutrients that our body needs to function. These macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats and protein, and they provide the calories or energy for your body.
Protein is typically found in animal products but a lot of other foods can also provide the levels of protein you need. For example, there are now many different types of protein powders for women and men made from pea, hemp, casein and rice, amongst others, that offer great animal-free protein and amino acids. Amino acids are the building block of protein, which is the building block for muscle mass. Our bodies don’t store amino acids, which is why it’s important to eat sufficient amounts of protein, as it helps the body to fuel muscle mass.
How much protein should you eat?
The amount of protein you need in your diet is dependent upon your weight and your fitness goals. Each gram of protein is the equivalent of around 4 calories. Adults generally need around 0.8g-1g of protein per kilo of body weight, per day. For the average woman, this means around 45g and for men it is 55g, but this is just a rough guide.
This is equal to around 2 portions of meat, fish, nuts or tofu every day. A portion should fit in the palm of your hand.
If you are hoping to adopt a high protein diet, you are no doubt hoping to reach a fitness goal of some description. For the likes of weightlifters and strength athletes, your protein intake will probably reach around 1.4g-2g of protein per kilo of body weight. For endurance athletes, protein intake could be around 1.2g-1.6g.
What impact does a high protein diet have on your body?
A higher intake of protein can have a number of benefits for your body and fitness levels. For instance, a high protein diet will support muscle gin and repair, as it means your body will be more effective at increasing lean body mass. Similarly, a high protein diet can promote fat loss. Eating more protein can help you to feel full, which could be crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and shedding any excess fat.
What’s more, eating more protein could stabilise your blood sugar levels. It’s been found that protein has a minimal effect on your blood sugar, as opposed to carbohydrates which can cause the levels to spike.
Some amino acids play a key role in helping your hormones to stay balanced, and so eating a higher protein diet might even help to improve your mood too.
Examples of high protein foods
If you’re hoping to increase your protein intake, there are a wide range of food that can help you. Most high protein foods include animal products, including eggs, milk, yoghurt, meat and fish. However, vegetarians can also get a good source of protein from food like nuts and seeds, as well as beans and pulses.