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Home » The 6 most important benefits of protein (for fat loss and health)

The 6 most important benefits of protein (for fat loss and health)

The 6 awesome benefits of protein

The x awesome benefits of protein. What if I told you there is a food out there that will keep you satiated, increases your metabolism, help with weight loss and has many other benefits?

You probably think I am crazy or trying to sell some new fat burner magical b*llshit to you. But I am not. There is a food out there that can do all that.

I am talking about protein, maybe not necessarily one food but a macronutrient. This is one of the three main macronutrients, next to carbohydrates and fats.



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What is protein?

Before we dive into the amazing health and fat loss benefits of protein, we are going to cover the absolute basics of what it is exactly.

Protein is a macronutrient made of amino acids. It has multiple roles in your body. It functions as building blocks, enzymes, cell signaling and DNA.

Proteins can differ in their sequence of amino acids, this is all determined by your genetic blueprint.

Almost all plants and small organisms can produce the 20 amino acids on there own. However, animals and humans need to take some in from the diet.

These amino acids cannot be created and are called essential amino acids. Normally you don’t have to worry about taking in all amino this almost goes without saying.

But when you follow a diet that excludes meat, you need to be a little more conscious of this. Especially when you follow a vegan diet.

Most essential amino acids are found in meats but can be taken in when you combine legumes with whole grains. This combination will also provide you with all the essential amino acids.

At the end of this article I talk a bit more about good protein sources.

Sources of protein

Protein can be found in meats, fish, legumes, dairy products, and whole grains. Some are higher in concentration than others. You can also supplement protein with protein powder.

This is not necessary, therefore the name supplement, but it can make it easier to hit your daily goals and can add some variation in your diet.

#1 Hair health

Protein can be seen as the building blocks of our bodies. Most people know this but only think in term of muscles. However, protein builds a lot more than just that.

It is essential for every organ in the body but is also really involved in the health of your hair. Keratinocytes are responsible for making keratin (this is a type of protein required for hair growth).

If you are short on protein in your diet, the body will cut the supply off to the hair follicles, hair loss can occur or your hair can become lifeless and fragile.

If losing hair is a problem you might have a vitamin deficiency or experience stress. Adding protein and iron to your diet can cover the two basic factors your hair needs to function.

#2 Nails

Your nails are made of protein as well. So a protein deficiency has a big impact on the health and appearances of your nails. It will also stall the growth of your nails.

Increasing your protein intake can lead to stronger nails. Not only protein is important for this, also iron. If you have an iron deficiency your nail health will go down as well.

If you want to take in more protein and iron your best option is to go for red meats. Since red meats contain both.

#3 Muscle mass

Consuming a high protein diet is great for increasing overall muscle mass. To do this you have to do some sort of resistance or weight training. This causes microdamage to your muscles, it sounds worse than it actually is.

This microdamage needs to be fixed, and luckily protein is there to do this. By building back your muscles they will come back a little stronger and bigger.

So the next time you workout you want to do just a little more than last time to make sure you start this process all over again. This is the way to build bigger muscles.

To recover from this damage your body needs amino acids, these can be found in protein. But if it misses one of the essential amino acids your body can’t function properly.

To recover from microdamage your body needs rest, that is why it is important to take rest days after a training session. Some good sleep and nutrition will do the rest!

#4 Weight management 

One of the biggest characteristics of protein is that it is really satiating. In fact, it is the most satiating macronutrient out there.

This is because it takes a long time for our body to fully digest it. This is because of the complex chemical structure of a protein molecule.

Hunger is one of the biggest problems when dieting. Increasing your protein intake can really help you with fighting this hunger feeling.

Try to go for leaner protein sources when dieting. You can go for higher fat options, but you can save some calories this way!

The same goes for fiber since these cannot be digested at all.

#5 Metabolism 

Protein is not only the most satiating macronutrient it is also the one with the highest TEF. This stands for thermic effect of food. And means the number of calories you burn during digestion and absorption.

The TEF of protein is about 20%, this is really high in comparison with the 5-10% of carbs and fats. This way it can also help you with weight loss because your net calorie intake will be lower.

If you eat 100 calories of protein it takes 20 calories of this to burn it, so you only consume 80 calories.

Protein reduces your appetite which leads to eating fewer calories on a day to day basis. This is great because you don’t have to start tracking your food intake or control portion size.

Just increasing your protein intake can lead to an automatic reduction of calorie intake. (1)

Because of this reduction of calorie intake, a calorie deficit is a lot easier to achieve. A deficit means that you consume fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis, so more calories out than in.

This way your body has to find a different energy source, it will first burn through the glycogen (carbs) stored in your muscles and then go to body fat.



#6 Fewer cravings

This benefits ties in with the last one. But consuming more protein can actually reduce the cravings you have! Cravings can be your worst enemy when it comes to dieting and weight loss. These cravings tend to get worse throughout the day.health benefits of protein

Most people consuming a high protein diet have less obsessive thoughts about food and have a lower desire to eat at night. When 25% of your total calories come from protein it can reduce your cravings by an amazing 60% and cut down your late night snacking in half!health benefits of protein

How much protein?

Now you know why protein is pretty freaking amazing you need to make sure you get in enough but don’t overdo it. So how much should you take in? The average human being needs 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.

But when you do weight or resistance training and your goal is muscle gain you can up this to 1-1.2 grams of protein. Another way to set a number is to take your total calories and make sure about 30% of that comes from protein.health benefits of protein

When you are vegetarian or vegan you need to up your total protein because you don’t consume foods with a full amino acid profile.

Vegetarians need 1.2 x 0.8 x body weight in kg. So if you weigh 60kg you need to consume 1.2 x0.8x 60 = 57.6 grams of protein. If you are vegan it is 1.3 x 0.8 x body weight. health benefits of protein

Good protein sources:

There are so many protein sources out there. But if you are vegan or vegetarian you need to pay a bit more attention to the sources you consume.

To get the full amino acid profile your body needs to function you should eat legumes and whole grains together, this makes sure you won’t lack any amino acids!

Great options are chicken and turkey, white fish, shrimp, tuna, eggs, tofu, legumes, protein powders, and tempeh. health benefits of protein