The Importance Of Protein In Your Diet

by Tia Dewick in Nutrition

protein | meat | bbq

Protein is an essential nutrient to consume within your diet and you should aim to have some within every meal throughout the day. Meat is the most commonly known form and research has found that the highest quality form is chicken. Alongside meat, it can also be found in eggs, beans, nuts, green vegetables, Quorn, whey powder and many more.

Animal vs. Plant Diet

There is contrasting research into whether an animal or plant sourced diet is the most effective. Although animal sourced protein has been shown to produce greater levels of protein synthesis (recovery and muscle development) to maximise muscular growth but on the other hand a plant sourced diet has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity (due to a significant reduction in fat intake) and there has also been evidence of reduced risk of several diseases which include heart disease!

Therefore a vegetarian diet does have its advantages!

Is Animal Protein Too Fatty?

Although meat contains higher fat contents than plant protein there are healthier options of meat. So if you are a meat eater, try to consume low fat options such as chicken and try to avoid high fat such as sausages. If you’re an in-store food shopper then explore your options, look for the meat batch with minimal fat or even cut off the fatty bits before you eat.

What Are The Benefits?

The body uses 24% of the energy provided in protein just to be broken down and digested! That’s nearly ¼ of the calories burnt just by eating it!

Meat contains complete amino acids which are building blocks to create new and re-synthesis fibres within the muscle tissue. In terms of recovery post-exercise protein needs to be consumed within 5 hours as this is the ‘critical window’ for optimal recovery. Whey powder and chicken contain sufficient levels of leucine to speed up the rate of recovery through protein synthesis.

How Much Do I Need to Consume?

Intake depends on numerous variables such as training type (i.e. cardio or resistance) and goals. Protein is the unsung hero for weight loss and so with the aim to lose fat, you should have a higher intake at a rate of 1.8 to 2.5 grams per kilogram of body mass. Whereas if your training is very cardio based, you should aim to consume 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of body mass.


TAKE HOME MESSAGE:  Perfect for weightloss (just remember to consume carbohydrates too to maintain energy levels, replace some fat with protein!)