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The 9 Benefits of a High Protein Diet
High-protein diets are founded
on the idea that eating more protein-packed foods leads to successful weight
loss. These diets are often low in carbohydrates and/or low in fat, therefore
the dieter is consuming far fewer calories than on a typical diet. There are
many other benefits to a diet high in protein, and it has become a popular
solution for weight loss.
Improved Muscle Mass
Consuming enough protein is
necessary to build and maintain healthy muscle mass, ligaments, tendons and
other tissues in the body. Glutamine is an important amino acid that helps to
maintain muscle, support gastrointestinal health, boost the immune system and
sustain healthy growth hormone levels. A diet consisting of low amounts of
protein leads to muscle atrophy as the body will metabolize the protein in
muscle tissue to support the body’s energy levels.
Whey protein powder is also used across the world to help boost protein
intake and shorten recovery times.
Athletes such as rugby players
also consume a diet high in protein as it enables them to maintain muscle mass
through rugby training, weight training and cardiovascular training.
Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
As opposed to a high-carb diet,
a high-protein diet does not result in fluctuations in blood sugar levels. In
fact, eating protein rich foods can decrease the absorption rate of glucose
into the blood stream, which is especially important in maintaining energy
levels, preventing type 2 diabetes and keeping your mood and appetite under
Help Improve Your Mood
Certain amino acids such as
glutamine play an important role in maintaining the levels of hormones dopamine
and serotonin which are responsible for controlling our moods. Amino acids are
also important in the synthesis of these hormones and other neurotransmitters
that calm us and keep us positively beaming throughout the day.
High-protein diets have been
found to stimulate weight loss for many reasons. Eating more protein tends to
curb a person's appetite by keeping them sated for longer. This limits
overeating which can lead to weight gain.
High-protein diets have also
been found to increase the body’s metabolism due to their characteristic low
carbohydrate amounts. In the absence of enough carbohydrates, the body resorts
to metabolizing fat so as to maintain energy levels; a process known as
ketosis. Continuous ketosis eventually results in weight loss.
Promote Healthy Brain Function and Learning
In order for the brain to
maintain concentration and keep energy levels high, it requires a constant
supply of amino acids. Hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters that are
critical for cognitive function are all made up of amino acids.
Studies show that when the
brain is deprived of amino acids, learning and coordination declines, but once
the essential amino acids are provided, learning and motor skills improve (2).
Help Maintain Strong Bones
Many studies have indicated
that a positive co-relation exists between eating more protein-rich foods and
better bone health. Recent studies in the elderly in the U.S. show that elderly
people who consumed low protein diets consisting of 16–50 grams of protein per
day experienced the greatest amount of bone loss (3).http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11127216
When individuals consume low
protein diets, insulin-like growth factor production is reduced and this has a
negative effect on calcium and phosphate metabolism in the bones and bone
formation. A protein rich diet can heal bone fractures, prevent bone weakness
and even bone loss (osteoporosis) by increasing calcium/phosphate absorption
and helping with bone metabolism.
One of the important roles of
amino acids is to help the body synthesize glutathione, a very important
antioxidant and help us detox and reduce carcinogens that increase the rate of
aging. Research shows that a high-protein diet can help in the treatment of
sarcopenia, a disease associated with the loss of muscle tissue as a natural
part of the aging process (4).http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1562S.full
Promote Heart Health
Recent studies indicate that
substituting a high-carbohydrate diet with a high-protein diet results in lower
LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels (5).
It has also been discovered that an inverse relationship exists between protein
intake and risk of heart disease. Individuals who consume large amounts of
protein tend to have a lower risk of having heart disease or high blood
pressure as compared to those who take low protein diets.
Manage Your Weight By keeping you sated
rich in protein are known to prolong satiety to a greater extent than
carbohydrates or fats, so they can prevent overeating by controlling one’s
appetite. Protein metabolism also initiates a process in the body known as
thermogenesis which requires the body to expend more energy (calories) in order
to digest food (6).http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1558S.long
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