A high protein has been recommended for bodybuilders and those looking to improve their health for several years now. While there are some risks involved in getting too much protein, as long as you are eating the right protein and getting enough exercise this is the most scientifically proven way to eat for increased muscle, lower fat, and more energy each day.
The type of protein you’re getting matters a great deal. Always opt for lean meats and high-quality protein shakes if you’re going to supplement.
Here are four solid reasons to up your protein intake if you’ve been on the low end and have noticed that you aren’t getting the results you want from a healthy diet plan.
1. Easier to Build Lean Muscle
When your body is fed adequate amounts of quality protein it has the building blocks necessary to help your muscles repair themselves after a strenuous workout.
Keep in mind that simply eating more protein does not help you build muscle. You need to combine the intake of additional protein with a high-intensity strength training regimen in order to put that protein to use.
Having a frame of lean muscle helps you in many ways. Not only does it give you strength to get through your day with energy to spare, it raises your metabolism, so you’ll be burning fat even when you’re sleeping or watching a movie on the sofa.
What happens if you don’t eat enough protein: If you work your muscles out and don’t consume enough protein you’ll be shortchanging yourself and limiting the effectiveness of your workouts.
2. Keeps You Feeling Full Longer
Protein is very satisfying, and many protein sources take longer to digest than fruits and vegetables. Combining your protein with a carbohydrate, healthy fat, and vegetables is the way to go if you want to cruise through till your next meal time.
Protein shakes are often used as meal replacements, or as snacks to help curb hunger pangs and cravings between meals. Many times these shakes will be very balanced, also providing carbs and fat to mimic an ideally portioned meal.
Eating protein by itself will generally not lead to long periods of feeling satisfied. You need to combine it with a carbohydrate in order to stay “in the zone”
What happens if you don’t eat enough protein: If you are eating a meal that is primarily based on carbohydrates you’ll find that you don’t stay full for very long, and after an hour or two you are looking around for something else to eat, and typically you’ll crave more carbs.
3. Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Even if you’re not diabetic, or prediabetic, you can still benefit greatly by monitoring your blood glucose levels and keeping them in healthy ranges.
You can usually tell how well you’ve balanced a meal by the way you feel a few hours after you’ve eaten it. This can help you fine tune your individual protein needs so that you’re not getting too little – or too much – protein.
Proactively keeping your blood sugar in mind will help you avoid the onset of diabetes over the long term, and in the short term will provide you with more energy and less feelings of malaise, so it’s worth the effort it takes.
What happens if you don’t eat enough protein: A meal high in carbohydrates can send your blood sugar soaring, leading to feelings colloquially referred to as a “sugar crash”. It’s recommended to balance things out by eating protein as well to avoid symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
4. Provides Sustained Energy
One benefit of getting enough protein is that it will provide you with useful energy that you can use to be more productive through your day.
We’ve already seen how protein can help you with your blood glucose levels by helping to avoid sugar crashes. Bodybuilders will load up on protein before a workout to make sure that they have enough energy to lift weights intensely.
If you currently consume little protein on a daily basis, and complain of low energy levels, you’ll surprised by how much more energy you feel when you start getting more protein. It’s easy enough to try it for a week and record any changes you experience at key times of the day.
What happens if you don’t eat protein: You may find that you don’t have long-lasting energy, and that your energy levels “crash” around midday. Protein helps to sustain you through the most active parts of your day. Relying on carbohydrates or stimulants like caffeine to give you energy is a losing strategy, as these may work in the short term but usually end up leaving you feeling drained.
Can I get too much protein?
It’s definitely possible to consume more protein than your body needs to be healthy. Each person’s protein needs are unique, based on several factors including height, weight, and individual goals regarding muscle size and strength. If you are on an exercise program that includes strength-training, you’ll need more protein than someone that just wants to do cardiovascular exercise and not build muscle. There are protein calculators that can help you determine just how much protein you should get. They’ll ask you for your age, your height, and your activity level before computing how much protein you should eat in grams per day.
Potential Drawbacks to a High Protein Diet
Eating excessive amounts of protein from low quality sources, and without getting proper exercise, is not recommended. Recent studies are confirming that eating protein sources high in saturated fat is the wrong way to go. A high protein diet using lean, high quality sources of protein coupled with resistance training results in lean muscle being added to the body, an increase in metabolism, a reduction in blood pressure, and more benefits, and should not be confused with an unhealthy high protein diet.