The Importance of Protein Intake

Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed a trend: labels on foods are marketing themselves as “high protein” or “protein rich.”  As these labels become more commonplace, it’s clear that people want high protein food and are buying it.  It’s easy to dismiss it as just another fad, like low carb or low fat diets, but studies have shown that protein intake is super important for all adults, not just weightlifting meatheads.

Dietary protein, is broken down into amino acids by enzymes called proteases in the stomach.  Some amino acids cannot be made by the body (there are 9 “essential” amino acids), so they must be taken in through the diet.  Animal protein (whey and casein from dairy included) contains a more diverse profile essential amino acids than plant protein, but where and when you get your protein is less important than getting the adequate amount in.

These amino acids, when combined with resistance training, trigger muscle protein synthesis, the process responsible for growing muscles and getting stronger.

protein

The number might seem like a lot, but consider this: 4 oz of chicken breast has 24 grams of protein.  If you make protein the main component of your meals, you’ll easily hit the minimum targeted range.  It doesn’t need to be boring, bland, and boiled either.  If you don’t have spare calories, you can use zero/low calorie condiments.  If you need ideas on recipes that aren’t so calorically restrictive, follow me on Pinterest for healthy recipes.  Finally, if you just want someone to give you guidance on how to eat for your goals, feel free to consult with me.

Here are my source articles, which go into a much more detailed exploration of the topics I’ve lightly covered:

Examine.com: How much protein do you need per day?
Examine.com: Does high-intake protein help while dieting?
Examine.com: How does protein affect weight loss?

Other commonly asked questions on dietary protein can be found on Examine.com’s review on this page.

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