Proteins make up to around 15 percent of our total body weight. It makes up the skin, bones, hair, and almost every other body tissue.
Enzymes responsible for different chemical reactions in our bodies plus the hemoglobin also rely on proteins to function.
Each protein molecule is made up of 20 common building blocks; amino acids.
But then, our bodies don’t store these amino acids. Instead, they make them through modifying the existing amino acids or building them from zero.
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, each adult man should get at least 15 percent of his daily calories from protein supplements. For athletes though, there are plenty of contradicting facts on how much proteins is enough for their bodies.
Now, considering that proteins are essential for lots of bodybuilding processes including repairing of worn out muscle tissues, etc, if you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, you need more of them.
Too much of it could be dangerous though. So the next question is; how much should an athlete consume?
A recent report published by the Academy Of Nutrition, and Dietetics, Dieticians Of America, and American College Of Sports Medicine, suggests that athletes, bodybuilders or physically active individuals should consume between 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg of their total body weights.
This data doesn’t, however, take into account whether you’re an endurance or strength athlete.
According to this report still, the upper end of protein intake is highly recommended during periods of intense training, and calorie restriction to maintain the muscle masses.
Other health benefits of eating more protein include:
1. Eating More Proteins Helps Manage Appetite, and Cravings
Multiple research reports show that eating more proteins helps suppress hunger hormone, ghrelin.
It also boosts peptide YY levels, a hormone responsible for making you feel full.
If you’re having cravings, proteins can help you suppress them especially when you’re looking to get rid of belly fat.
2. Provides Stable Energy For The Body
Apparently, it’s the carbohydrates that provide us with the highest amounts of easily accessible energy sources.
When carbs are lacking in our bodies though, the body can use the existing protein to make glucose.
Our bodies can break protein into little glucose molecules when carbs are not available/insufficient.
In this case, the broken down protein is used to feed the brain. If you need a stable energy boost though, it’s recommended that you combine your carbohydrates rich meals with some protein elements.
Here, your body won’t break down the proteins to release energy.
It will break down the carbs but the protein which is full of fiber will slow down the rate of sugar absorption hence avoiding energy crashes etc.
This slow digestion also ensures you have stable energy for longer workout periods.
3. Helps Lower Blood Pressure Levels
American Heart Association (AHA) reports that over 100 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure.
To add more salt to open wounds, high blood pressure is also the leading risk for strokes, etc.
After diagnosis, controlling hypertension is way much easier. You only need a little change in your lifestyle in terms of dietary habits and exercise.
How do proteins lower blood pressure? You could be wondering.
Well, increased protein intake reduces systolic blood pressure by around 2 to 2.3mmHg. Proteins also help in the manufacture of peptide hormones; insulin which is important in diabetes control.
When proteins are also combined with carbohydrates, they help stop glucose breakdown hence stopping its absorption in the blood.
This helps avoid insulin spikes thereby reducing its dangerous effects.
4. Enhances Hair Growth
Several research data blames hair loss on insufficient proteins in the diet.
Biotin helps produce Keratin, an essential hair protein that helps promote hair growth.
This is also why most hair products are made of proteins, and collagen which are beneficial in promoting healthy hair growth.
5. Proteins Help Prevent Osteoporosis, Bone Disease, and Joint Health
Having more protein in the body helps your body organs absorb calcium an element important in stopping osteoporosis.
By eating more proteins you also maintain your body mass significantly, especially when in advanced ages.
Proteins also help reduce the risks of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
6. Helps In Synthesis, and Repair Of Muscles
Exercises build and break down muscles.
Muscle hyptography is a process in which your body muscles tears and activates the body’s repair response. Muscle hypotography is only possible when there are sufficient proteins in your body.
This best explains why most dieticians recommend that you eat more proteins after an intense workout to repair torn muscle fibers. This is because, after post workout injury, your body transports amino acids to the damaged muscle cells so you can grow myofibrils which makes up the muscles.
Which Are The Best Forms Of Proteins?
Not all proteins are made equal. Different proteins play different roles in our system. It’s also worth noting that good food selection is mandatory for a good diet. Below are ideas to guide you in choosing proteins for your dietary plans.
Who needs them? Generally speaking, you don’t need protein boosts after an intense workout if you’re not a bodybuilder. According to current data, and statistics, an average American adult male only needs a 15 percent protein intake. That’s enough for you too to maintain your muscles with regular exercise.
It’s recommended that you ditch these highly processed carbs. It’s advisable that you only go with proteins with the least saturated fat content.
Protein Shakes, and Powders.
A rather popular source of proteins for most bodybuilders are protein shakes or powders. Note that, these sources are only great in providing amino acids. There are also meal replacement shakes today, even for special types of diets.
They have very little nutritional content. Besides most ready to drink shakes also have a lot of caloric sweeteners and sugars in them.
These could lead to energy crashes during workouts. Consider reading the labels before making purchases.
In as much as proteins are great in maintaining bone mass, and densities and managing appetites, etc, it’s prudent to consider your sources of proteins.
A good dietician will help you evaluate good protein sources, and help you choose protein types which will help you reach your goals faster.