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The importance of protein in your diet

How proteins can help you with the weight loss and total body support

Protein is one of the basic building blocks for our body and one of the most important macronutrients among fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Proteins consist of amino acids, which are the basic building blocks for other proteins in our body, present e.g. for muscle, tissues, skin, organs; they are needed for the functioning of our genetic material, neurotransmitters, enzymes or the immune system. It is super important for the proper functioning of our body.

Unfortunately, the modern western diet often does not provide the right amount of protein, and we often have cravings for something sweet or fatty - we rarely have cravings for something containing protein. One of the theories explains this is the fact that our body needs the right amount of protein (general recommendation says at least 0.8g per kilogram of body weight, i.e. in the case of a woman weighing about 65 kg, it would be over 52g of protein per day) and if the body is unable to meet its needs by eating foods rich in protein, then it choses to eat enough products high in carbohydrates or fats to provide the amount of protein they need - which means at much larger amount of food consumed (as food rich in carbohydrates and fats are low in proteins). Proteins give us the feeling of being full - we definitely feel fuller after eating scrambled eggs for breakfast than a croissant, and also helps stabilizing blood sugar levels - which also protects us from potential cravings and helps to eat less 😊

People who consume less proteins at breakfast have been shown to eat more at dinner than those who consume the recommended amount of protein at breakfast. In fact, the latter group not only did not eat more at lunch, but their food intake was reduced throughout the day. There was also a difference between the two groups at dinner time, with those eating more protein at breakfast eating significantly less than the low-protein breakfast group. The low-protein breakfast group also ate more saturated fat, sugar, and salty foods, and less of the recommended foods (vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, etc.). Another role of protein in weight loss is that it increases the metabolic rate. Why?

As I mentioned earlier, protein is a building block of muscles, and the greater the muscle mass, the easier it is to burn the calories consumed, because muscles will process them faster than fat tissue. Taking care of muscle mass is especially important after the age of 40, because it is then more likely to atrophy, so muscle strengthening exercises are most advisable. In addition, increased muscle mass makes the body respond better to insulin and helps protect the body against insulin resistance. Protein products of animal origin contain quite a significant amount of so-called branched chain amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine), which help stimulate the body to build muscle mass. Carnitine is another amino acid that is found in animal protein and is super important for the work of our mitochondria, our own energy factories, and the organs that have the most of them are the heart, liver, brain and muscles.

The best animal based sources are meat, eggs, fish, shellfish and dairy (if you can tolerate it). I also like taking collagen powder which helps providing building blocks for collagen - rich tissues.

Plants are also sources of proteins however they would provide much less grams of proteins for the same amount of food. The best plant based sources of proteins are pulses, lentils but also some vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli, quinoa, seeds and nuts. And one of my favorite sources of plant based proteins are good quality hemp or pea protein powders.

It might happen that you may have difficulty digesting proteins - this may indicate a deficiency of acid in the stomach. In such situations when we have a meal rich in proteins it is worth drinking half a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or get support with digestive enzymes.

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