How Does Protein Help Your Body

What Are Amino Acids

How Does Protein Build Muscle?

Amino acids are molecules that combine to form proteins. Both Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life because when you digest proteins, whats left are amino acids.

Protein synthesis or continuous repair of body proteins needs a constant supply of amino acids.

Although the body can recycle some amino acids from the previous breakdowns, it is not enough to replace them. And so, we must eat foods rich in protein to keep up with the demands of amino acids.

The human body needs several amino acids in large valuable amounts to meet health requirements.

Weight Loss And Bone Health

In the past, experts thought obesity would protect bone health. The tension skeletal muscles put on the bones they are attached to helps stimulate bone growth. More bodyweight often means more muscle, which usually means stronger bones.But this is not the whole picture.

If muscle mass has been reduced maybe by multiple rounds of weight loss, especially with very low-calorie restriction a person who is overweight or obese may also have a condition called sarcopenic obesity, which is having both low muscle mass and obesity.18

Additionally, the hormonal and inflammatory aspects of obesity can undermine bone health.19 Both obesity and calorie-restricted diets for weight loss are associated with an increased risk of fracture.20

This seems to create an impossible bind. If both losing weight and being overweight are bad for bone health, what can you do? The answer may be a higher protein diet for weight loss.

Ensuring you get plenty of protein may help protect your bones during weight loss.21 Adding weight-bearing exercise to the mix makes it even more likely youll reduce the bone loss that can occur while dieting.22

However, higher protein diets can help with weight loss in other ways, besides just protecting bone health. The effects of protein on appetite are also important for taming the hunger that can derail any diet.

What Are Proteins And What Is Their Function In The Body

Proteins are made up of many building blocks, known as amino acids. Our body needs dietary protein to supply amino acids for the growth and maintenance of our cells and tissues. Our dietary protein requirement changes throughout life. The European Food Safety Authority recommends adults consume at least 0.83 g of protein per kg body weight per day . Plant and animal-based proteins vary in their quality and digestibility, but this is not usually a concern for most people if their total protein meets their needs. We should aim to consume protein from a variety of sources that benefits both our health and the planets.

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What Happens In Your Body When You Eat Protein

Its not like you eat a piece of chicken and that protein goes directly to your biceps. Dietary protein gets broken down and reassembled into the various kinds of proteins that exist in the body. No matter what kind of protein youre eatingplant or animal, complete or incompleteyour bodys first objective is to break it back down into all the different amino acid units it was assembled from, Dr. Tewksbury explains, through the digestive process.

Then those little singular amino acids get reconfigured into whatever kind of protein your body needs. For instance, some proteins in the body make up antibodies that help the immune system fight bacteria and viruses. Others help with DNA synthesis, chemical reactions, or transporting other molecules, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences explains.

What Are The Best Ways To Get It

How eating the right protein

Protein comes in lots of different forms. Reach for healthy, low-fat sources. Steer clear of saturated fats and highly processed options. Try to eat it throughout the day instead of cramming it into one meal. Keep up your fruit and veggie portions to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Genetics Home Reference: What are proteins and what do they do?

Skeletal Muscle: The beneficial role of proteolysis in skeletal muscle growth and stress adaptation.

The FEBS Journal: Mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth and atrophy.

Sports Medicine: A brief review of critical processes in exercise-induced muscular hypertrophy.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health.

Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior: Food Craving and Food Addiction: A Critical Review of the Evidence From a Biopsychosocial Perspective.

Obesity: The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men.

The British Journal of Nutrition: Presence or absence of carbohydrates and the proportion of fat in a high-protein diet affect appetite suppression but not energy expenditure in normal-weight human subjects fed in energy balance, Amino acids and immune function.

PLoS One: Dietary protein and blood pressure: a systematic review.

JAMA: Effects of Protein, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate Intake on Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids.

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Do I Need A Protein Supplement

Some people can get all they need from food alone. But many others find it’s expensive, inconvenient, or just uncomfortable to eat that much. That’s when it can be helpful to use shakes, powders, and bars to help.

“Consider powders and drinks to be supplements of convenienceâand use them that way,” Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., recommends. “If a shake after training is the only way you’re going to get protein at that time, have the shake. If you’re trying to gain weightâor lose weightâand you’re in a position where you’d either have a shake or miss a meal entirely, have the shake.”

If you’re aiming to increase your intake, a shake or smoothie is an easy way to get 25 grams per serving, or more, as a snack or alongside your breakfast. Protein powder also works surprisingly well in many recipes for cooking and baking.

In the past, shakes were something most people associated with bodybuilders or athletes. Today, they’re far more common, and everybody from young people to the elderly regularly use them.

Why Protein Is Important

Protein is not like carbohydrates and fats, which are primarily just sources of energy. Protein is necessary for the body to function. It is also necessary for building the structures that make up the body, such as bone and muscle.

If you are an older adult, you need to pay special attention to protein intake. Older adults, especially women, need more protein to preserve bone and muscle but tend to eat less of it.

Protein is also important during weight loss, again to preserve bone and muscle. Maintaining muscle mass keeps your metabolism burning energy, making weight loss more effective and easier to maintain.

Finally, protein helps you manage your appetite and your cravings. You can give your willpower a boost by ensuring you get adequate protein every day, starting with your first meal.

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How Much Protein Do I Need A Day

According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. That means that the average sedentary man should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, and the average woman should eat about 46 grams.

Protein Assists In Healthy Aging

How protein works on your body | Nutrition Time – EP4 | Lifesum

Aging is inevitable, but aging gracefully can be tricky. Fortunately, protein can help with healthy aging. Much like it helps dieters hold onto their muscle mass, consuming protein wards of age-related muscle loss. A protein-rich diet can also help people maintain their bone mass as they age, reducing their risk of dangers like osteoporosis and fractures.


So what does protein do for your body? Clearly this macronutrient supports human health in many significant ways. Despite its importance, the body doesnt store protein. For optimal health, you need to continually provide the body with plenty of quality protein. Thats why many people opt to incorporate protein supplements into their daily routine. Theyre a convenient way to ensure that youre providing your body with the protein that it needs to function well.

Are you ready to add more protein to your diet? Chicken is an excellent source of protein, and todays innovative chicken protein powders make enjoying its benefits easy. Whether you prefer a tasty protein shake, a crunchy snack, or a low-calorie broth, products built around chicken protein are a smart choice. Stop by BarnDad Nutrition today to learn more about our high-quality, protein-packed products.

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How Important Is Protein

Protein is an important nutrient for everyone, not just athletes and body builders. That doesnt mean you need to start drinking protein shakes every day. Most people can get the protein that they need from a healthy and balanced diet. Heres why protein is important, how much protein you need each day, and some great protein-rich foods.

Theres Too Much Extra Stuff In Your Shake

Is your protein shake full of added sugar? While some added sugar in a protein shake can be useful for restoring glycogen stores after a workout, too much of it can be a problem, especially if youre not using it post-workout.

Also, are you adding other ingredients to your shake?

If you use high-calorie foods, like nut butters, dried fruit, and avocado, you might be consuming more calories than you realize.

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Improves The Immune System

Protein benefits the body by helping with antibodies build-up and strengthening the immune system to fight off infections. These protein antibodies are vital in the human system. Without them, bacteria and viruses would be free to multiply and spread diseases. Once the human cells produce an antibody against a particular disease, itll never forget how to make them. This is the reason why we heal faster from infections after the first few times. In addition, eating proteins when afflicted with any disease or infection gives the immune system a fighting chance against such disease or infection.

These are the basic importance of proteins to the body. Below are the benefits of having enough protein in the body.

Animal Versus Plant Protein

The Basics of Protein

Is all protein the same? No, not really.

Animal proteins are considered complete sources of protein meaning they supply all nine essential amino acids whereas all plant sources aside from soy are incomplete.30 This doesnt mean you cant get all essential amino acids from plant sources. It simply means you will need to combine different sources, such as beans with nuts or whole grains.

Your body also absorbs animal proteins much better than most plant proteins, meaning you can eat less for the same effective amount of protein. Again, that doesnt mean you cant get adequate protein from plant sources. But it does mean you may need to increase your intake goals by 20% or more.31

Lastly, plant sources of protein tend to be higher in carbohydrates than animal sources. If you follow a very low-carb or keto diet, this can make meeting all your goals challenging.

Soy is unique among plant proteins since it is a complete protein and appears to have similar bioavailability, muscle-building effects, and weight loss benefits as animal proteins.32

However, aside from soy, evidence suggests animal protein may be more beneficial for strength and muscle maintenance and may provide a better source of micronutrients, especially from red meat. 33

Longevity and chronic diseases

Summary: Animal versus plant proteins

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What Happens If You Eat Too Much Protein

There is insufficient evidence to establish a threshold for protein intake and EFSA have stated that a protein intake of twice the DRV is still considered safe under normal conditions.1For individuals with kidney disease excessive protein can be an issue and these individuals should consult a registered dietitian or general practitioner before increasing protein levels.

Important For Healthy Hair And Skin

What we eat is far more important for healthy hair, nails, and skin than any cosmetics regime.

On that note, protein plays an integral role in the optimal health of all of them.

When we consume protein, it breaks down into its constituent amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of our body.

The reason we call these amino acids building blocks is because they have a critical function in the growth and repair of cells within our body.

Amino acids also contribute to the formation and structure of our skin and hair, with the main component of both being a structural protein called keratin .

As a result, maintaining a sufficient protein intake is beneficial for promoting healthy hair, nails, and skin.

Protein insufficiency can cause hair loss or hair thinning, and this is especially the case for women in the postmenopausal period .

Key Point:

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How Much Protein Should You Consume And How Often

So now that weve covered the many benefits of protein, lets talk about how much you need, especially if youre using it to supplement your workouts.

If youre a moderately active adult, I recommend between 0.5 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If youre regularly doing resistance training, youll want between 0.8 0.85 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Eating more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight has not shown to have any additional benefit.

Timing of protein intake is especially important for athletes or anyone trying to build muscle. Exercise, especially resistance training, stresses the muscles. Eating protein after a workout helps repair the muscle breakdown that has occurred and further builds upon that muscle.

You should aim to consume at least 20 grams of protein within a half-hour after exercising. Choose high-quality proteins after training and at mealtimes.

How Much Protein Does The Body Need

Does Protein Powder Work? (Spoiler: YES, but there’s a catch)

The daily maximum amount the body can use for protein synthesis is said to be around 2 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight. Consuming more protein will not increase synthesis, but increase the amount consumed as energy, and lead to an increase in body fat. Too much protein can also burden the liver and kidneys.

The daily maximum amount used for protein synthesis is around 2g per 1kg of body weight

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Common Concerns About High

According to some scientists and outdated published articles, high-protein diets can be harmful to your kidneys, bones, and blood sugar. Some even believe that higher-protein diets lead to higher rates of cancer.23

With respect to kidney health and protein intake, it is well-recognized that people with severe chronic kidney disease should restrict protein intake. Dietary protein will not, however, cause kidney dysfunction in people with healthy kidneys.24

With respect to bone health in older adults, it was previously believed that high protein intake would lead to osteoporosis via inducing chronic metabolic acidosis . Multiple studies have since failed to show that high protein intake causes loss of bone density and fractures.25 In fact, protein may even help bone health.26

Another concern with a high-protein diet especially for those on a low-carb diet is that the amino acids in dietary protein could cause a significant rise in blood sugar.27 According to studies, however, the opposite may be true, and increased protein may improve blood sugar.28

With respect to lifespan, data from flies, mice, and other animals suggest that restricting protein may increase longevity, while human data are very weak.29 We need to consume adequate protein to prevent loss of muscle tissue and frailty as we age, so restricting that nutrient in order to increase lifespan may not benefit general health.

Protein Willpower And Self

Clinicians who work with people trying to lose weight sometimes encounter patients who feel as if they just cant stop eating. This can happen on many kinds of diets. Despite following their diet all day, in the evening, the ice cream in the freezer calls to them irresistibly.

At some point in our lives, many of us have felt an urge to eat even when we know weve had plenty of calories for the day. We may attribute this urge to a craving or lack of willpower.

But could it be a lack of protein instead?

The protein leverage theory suggests and research, along with clinical experience, confirms increasing protein intake at the first meal of the day, whenever that occurs, can stop evening cravings and urges to eat, without having to call on willpower.

Researchers have found most Americans eat sufficient protein at lunch and more than enough at dinner, with most people eating very low protein at breakfast or none at all.27 This pattern alone could be an indication of protein leverage at work, as the body tries to meet its protein needs before the overnight fast.

Several studies show when participants are given a high-protein meal at the start of their day, cravings, snacking, and overall energy intake go down.

For example, when study participants consumed eggs for breakfast, rather than a bagel with the same number of calories but lower in protein, they ate fewer calories over the course of the day, without any other modification to their diet.28

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How To Calculate Your Recommended Protein Intake

The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. To maintain nutritional balance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines recommends protein make up about a quarter of your plate.

To calculate the target number of grams of protein you should eat each day, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36. The result should get you within the recommendation to source 10 to 35 percent of your daily total calories from protein. Usually that means having some kind of dairy at each meal plus a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards thats 3 ounces or the equivalent amount of plant-based protein at lunch and dinner.

Keep in mind that these recommendations may change depending on age and health. The recommendation changes for athletes, too. People who exercise frequently or are training for a race need to increase their protein intake to between 1.1 and 1.7 g per kg of body weight daily. Anything over 2 g per kg of weight is considered excessive.

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