Protein is one of the essential building blocks required by the body to perform everyday functions of the human body.
From growing to the old age, protein is needed to maintain strength and immunity which is why a diet rich in proteins is fundamental to better overall health and performance. In fact, a wide range of 10-35% proteins has been standardized by most researchers for better health.
‘Protein diets’ have become popular ever since studies conducted by institutions across the globe have shown the various benefits of incorporating higher levels of protein in meals.
While weight loss is the most well-known effect of adopting such a lifestyle, protein diets can also lead to stabilized blood-sugar levels and rapid absorption of important nutrients.
Why Protein Diets?
Another reason behind the prevalence of increased protein intake is the various amounts of foods that can be cooked and eaten in comparison diets that demand to stick to fewer types of meals cooked in a certain way.
In this way, a person switching to Protein diets is less likely to be bored and break the diet than a person constantly consuming the same items on a daily basis.
Unlike the other mainstream plans, protein diets do not rely completely on deprivation of most of the widely consumed food items such as eggs, meat, and even nuts. While there are categories of preferred or ‘right proteins’, the diet overall does not call for the complete abandonment of the ones that do not fit directly under the banner.
The availability of a great number of foods packed with high-protein makes the diet inclusive for different types of people like vegans or vegetarians. No matter what sort of protein one chooses to take, sustained decrease in appetite and cravings are guaranteed to be observed
while strict calorie counting diets lead to blood-sugar fluctuations that can cause increased hunger and dissatisfaction. Such hurdles can affect affects activities every day. Moods swings and distraction from work can worsen mental health.
Furthermore, slow metabolism, weakened immunity and health issues are typical outcomes of restricting calorie intake. Protein diets, on the other hand, have seldom paved the way for serious problems.
Benefits of Protein Foods
Muscle Build up
Adding proteins to diet is a prerequisite for healthy body mass and maintenance of body tissues such as ligaments and tendons.
Not only does protein help in body and muscles building, leaner muscles in the body need amino acids to develop as well as to avoid damage caused by ‘muscles atrophy’.
The human body very often breaks down leaner muscles to fulfill its energy levels at times the required amount is not met.
Similarly, in order to overcome muscle ache or damaged muscles, higher levels of protein are taken for a speedy recovery.
There are numerous studies that have highlighted the ‘feeling full’ effect of protein diets which is that a person is less likely to eat within a few hours of having a meal due to the longer digestion period of proteins in the stomach. In comparison with Carbohydrate rich food, protein foods are typically not taken in plethora amount.
Binge-eating or overrating, therefore, can be effectively controlled with the addition of proteins.
Furthermore, Thermo-genesis is a process induced by proteins in the body which forces the body to burn more calories for better digestion.
Thus more calories can be burned even by adding enough proteins in a normal diet without any cutting or restriction of calories.
Maintenance of Blood-Sugar Level
Insulin is an essential hormone required for breakdown and effective absorption of food. A disrupt in the levels of insulin can lead to major health issues such as Diabetes type II. Therefore, it is often advised to take foods that need a lower amount of insulin to digest, especially in older age groups.
Proteins require less insulin than fats or Carbohydrates to be metabolized. The glycemic index is mainly used for determining the blood sugar levels in foods. Highs and lows in blood sugar levels are seen when consuming Carbohydrates or sugars while proteins have shown to stabilize, rather than disturb the levels.
Hence, proteins in diet can lessen the rate of blood-glucose absorption as well as keep you satisfied and away from mood swings and troubled concentration.
Bone Health and Strength
A number of studies have shown that certain types of proteins and healthy bone structures are related. Better absorption of bone-building nutrients such as Calcium can be accelerated by intake of protein-rich foods.
In addition, an overall balanced diet with abundant proteins can help in the healing of broken bones, fractures and even bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
In addition metabolism and growth is connected to protein diets which corroborate the claim on the requirement of proteins especially in growing and old ages groups to prevent bone damage as well as hampered bone formation.
Heart and blood pressure
One of the most significant benefits of protein diets, especially in the elderly purported by recent studies is the decreased chances of heart diseases and blood pressure.
Protein is deemed as one of the natural remedies to stabilize blood- sugar levels, decreasing the chances of diabetes or obesity and other heart-related causes.
Secondly, protein diets tend to balance the overall diet as well as reduce the levels of triglyceride and keep check of ‘bad cholesterol’ which is connected to numerous serious health issues.
Reverse Effects of Aging
Glutathione is the primary antioxidant responsible for battling carcinogens that cause the harmful effects of aging.
Deficiencies in Glutathione have been linked to oxidative stress which in return causes age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Cystic fibrosis and various other fatal diseases. Protein plays the main role in Glutathione synthesis.
Hence, diets rich in proteins lessen the risks of age related disease and minimize the overall effects of aging such as muscle loss or Sacropenia which can be successfully treated by consumption of enough amino acids in daily meals.
Best Sources of Protein
While different types of proteins can be consumed in accordance with one’s lifestyle and diet, protein foods that have higher nutritional value with less saturated are typically recommended such as:
- Lean meats (such as chicken)
- Low-fat dairy products
- Seeds and Nuts
- Lentils and Beans
While these are the protein rich foods that are commonly taken and suggested, it is also better to switch foods with others after a few weeks or days to avoid cravings from boredom as well as the addition of a variety of nutrients.
For example, in seafood, salmon can be switched with any other fish that meets the expected levels of Omega-3s.
What is the Ideal Amount of Protein?
Protein is one of the nutrients necessary for the proper functioning and development of the human body and like all other nutrients should be taken in an appropriate amount.
While there are endless advantages of the protein diet, eating more than enough will not provide additional benefits but like any other nutrient can cause potential harm.
Where there is little evidence that suggests that protein can cause harmful effects, going overboard with any nutrient is anticipated to be hazardous. Secondly, studies have suggested that it is better to eat certain types of proteins than others as all protein is not alike. It, for instance, is better to add lean meats rather than red meat to a protein diet.
Just like some times of fats are better than others, proteins can vary too and just like anyone would avoid going over the top with Sodium, too much of anything is not good. A balanced diet, meeting all the needs of the body is ideal for better health.