Why should we care about protein, anyway?
Everything is high-protein these days, and you’ve undoubtedly heard that you should be eating “enough” protein. But why is that?
When it comes to every day life, protein is vital for a heathy life. Our bodily functions rely on protein, and everything from your immune system to your digestive system relies on protein!
If you’re eating in a surplus, odds are you are trying to build some muscle. And what you’ve heard 1000 times is true- protein is the building block of muscles. While you will be able to build muscle without eating tons of protein, you’re making the job much harder for yourself by no maximizing your protein intake.
When you’re in a deficit (or dieting) protein is the most important. It’s recommended to increase your protein intake when you’re dieting, for a few reasons- most importantly, is allows you to hold onto as much muscle as possible. If you’re in a deficit for a long time, you’re bound to lose some muscle, but prioritizing protein will help minimize that effect. Protein is also satiating, helping you to stay full while eating less than you’re used to, and the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macronutrients, which means it requires the most energy to digest, burning more calories (it’s not a significant amount, but can help!) All of that being said, how much protein do you actually need? The most widely recommended amount is 1g per pound of bodyweight. Which I’ll admit, I aimed for that number for a very long time (and at one point even higher), but you do not need that much. Since I dropped my protein intake a bit, my progress in the gym has actually improved! Why? Because my body gets to put the extra carbs and fats to use, and it has my body feeling much better (and less gassy, I might add)
0.6g per pound of bodyweight is plenty if you’re aiming to eat high protein. That means if you weight 150 pounds, that’s about 90g of protein, which is much more manageable than trying to consume 150g every day!