If those Protein World ads are anything to go by (FYI we don’t think they are, but hear us out on this one) protein is THE key ingredient if you’re after a fitter, healthier body.
Everywhere you look, protein is being peddled as the way to tone up, slim down and get healthier fast. Loads of traditionally unhealthy foods are being pumped full of it (ice cream, crisps and cookies have now all had a protein-makeover) and it’s almost as if “protein” has become synonymous with “healthy”.
But is it really that simple? Does eating your weight in protein suddenly mean you’ll be super healthy and rocking a six-pack by summer?
No, not really.
While protein IS essential for building muscle, it’s really just an important part of our diets overall, as nutritionist Naomi Mead explains:
“Protein is a component of every cell in our body, and is a building block for our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, nails and hair. It’s also vital for muscle repair and recovery, hormone production, brain function and sleep. Eating enough protein also helps keep our blood sugar levels balanced by preventing insulin spikes (the same ones behind those 4pm energy slumps, mood swings, and intense sugar cravings), and supports healthy weight management. In addition, protein is extremely satiating, which means eating it keeps us fuller for longer.”
So basically, we need protein for A LOT of reasons, not just for toning up.
If you’re an average person who eats fairly healthily but who doesn’t exercise much (truth bomb: many people don’t!), you already DO get enough protein through your diet (the recommended daily amount is 46g for women, 56g for men. For scale, one chicken breast has 21g). The big exception is vegetarians and vegans, who do need to be more aware of where they’re getting protein from, as the best sources tend to be animal products. But if you’re not exercising, simply eating more protein isn’t suddenly going to give you guns (or buns) of steel.
But for you gym bunnies, your protein count SHOULD increase as your gym sessions do. Working out literally tears the tiny muscle fibres, and protein helps builds them back up again.
And that’s why protein powders, shakes and crisps seem so appealing. Post-gym, you can get a quick hit of muscle-supporting protein on the go, without having to faff about with chicken or yogurt or even nuts. The problem is, while these foods are full of protein, they’re ALSO full of added fillers, sugars, sweeteners and other crap.
Like Naomi says, “I would recommend always opting for a 100% natural protein powder such as Pulsin Protein or The Organic Protein Company to avoid added fillers, sugar and sweeteners. If the label is packed with unfamiliar ingredients and chemical-sounding names, stay away!”
Vegan protein powders such as pea or hemp protein can also be a great way of boosting protein intake for vegans and vegetarians, whether or not you’re a gym-goer.
And if you can’t be bothered with the powders? Try these foods for a hit of protein
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
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Source : Cosmopolitan