BENEFITS OF PROTEIN
1. PROTEIN MAKES YOU FEEL FULL
Protein promotes satiety, or the feeling of fullness, more than both carbohydrates and fat. This can be beneficial for athletes who are often fuelling their bodies for long stretches of time.
2. PROTEIN BOOSTS METABOLISM
Along with reducing appetite, eating protein temporarily boosts metabolism. The body uses energy to digest and make use of the nutrients in food. This is called the thermic effect of food, and protein’s thermic effect is much higher than that of carbohydrates and fat.
3. PROTEIN HELPS MAINTAIN YOUR MUSCLES
Since protein is the building block of your muscles, eating adequate amounts of protein helps maintain your muscle mass and prevents muscle wasting. So if you walk a lot, enjoy cycling, or do any sort of exercise to stay active, you need to eat protein.
4. PROTEIN AIDS WITH MUSCLE RECOVERY & GROWTH
Not only does eating protein help prevent muscle breakdown, but it can also help build and strengthen muscles. Combining regular activity and exercise with high protein intake promotes muscle growth and strengthening. High-quality proteins contain all of the essential amino acids and are rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Leucine, one of these BCAAs, plays a major role in promoting muscle growth and recovery after resistance and endurance exercise. These high-quality proteins exist in animal-based protein foods such as lean poultry, beef, fish, dairy, egg products, and whole eggs. High-quality plant-based options include soybeans and tofu. Protein powder supplements are also commonly used by athletes, especially post-exercise when real food sources of protein tend to be less accessible.
5. PROTEIN IS GOOD FOR YOUR BODY
Protein forms the main building blocks of your tissues and organs. Eating a high-protein diet can help your body repair quicker after injury. Finally, there is the misconception that high protein intake harms your kidneys. This idea comes from the recommendation for people with poorly functioning kidneys (usually from pre-existing kidney disease) to eat a low-protein diet. However, while protein can cause harm to people with kidney problems, it does not harm those with healthy kidneys.
NUTRITION TIP: AVOID ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS
Ultra-processed foods are foods containing ingredients that are significantly modified from their original form. They often contain additives like added sugar, highly refined oil, salt, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colours, and flavours as well. Examples include:
- Snack cakes
- Fast food
- Frozen meals
- Canned foods
Ultra-processed foods are highly palatable, meaning they are easily overeaten, and activate reward-related regions in the brain, which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. Studies show that diets high in ultra-processed food can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. In addition to low quality ingredients like inflammatory fats, added sugar, and refined grains, they’re usually low in fiber, protein, and micronutrients. Thus, they provide mostly empty calories.
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