In Part One of this series, we talked about ways to make protein taste better, and why protein will not make you bulky! Here in Part Two, we are going to talk about how it helps satisfy your appetite, why your body probably isn’t storing your protein as fat, and why it can help improve your body composition. We are going to try to take this myth down from every possible angle. If you have heard anything that keeps you away from eating more protein, be sure to comment on this article in the forums section and we will write a Part Three!
Why are females scared of protein? I think it is because they see the meathead guys eating loads of protein and they assume that is why they are huge. I suppose when you see them drinking six protein shakes a day, you are going to think that! Of course, that is a part of it, but that is because they are probably consume 3-4x the amount of protein than a normal individual who is not working out hard. They usually lift so much weight that they break down their muscle tissues big time. Thus, they must repair those tissues with an extra amount of protein. You obviously don’t need nearly the amount that bodybuilders take, but upping your intake anywhere from 25-50g a day might not be a bad idea!
Protein makes you feel satisfied longer.
I always wondered why a 8-12oz steak would fill me up for five hours, where as if I have a bowl of Honeycomb cereal, I will feel hungry an hour later. It has to do with the spike in our blood sugar levels. Since protein doesn’t affect our blood sugar like carbohydrates do, you don’t experience the blood sugar high and the blood sugar lows associated with the higher carbohydrate intake. Your energy is more sustainable and steady. Protein also releases a higher amount of the satiety hormone PYY than both fat and carbs (which helps you stay fuller for a longer period of time). Don’t get me wrong--I’m not trying to scare you off of carbs. Of course you still should eat some carbs, but don’t be afraid of protein!
Your body is less likely to store protein as fat.
Any excess amount of carbs or fat are stored as fat! You may already know that protein can be converted into carbs by a process called gluconeogenesis, but you have to eat a LOT of protein in order to start storing it as fat. Most people who experience a lot of cravings simply do not eat enough protein, which keeps them full as we mentioned above. When people get cravings, they are likely eating a higher carbohydrate diet. The extra carbs that you don’t use are then stored as fat. Most females--unless they are taking an extra protein supplement--probably do not consume enough protein, which in turn leads to cravings and more carbs or sweets.
Improve your body composition.
Protein helps with muscle contraction, recovery, oxygen transport, blood clotting, and even as a last resort source of energy (after fats and carbs) if needed. It also helps regulate many of your body’s regular chemical processes. Having more protein available helps all of these processes run smoother.
Regulation of your blood sugar levels (less crashes)!
One of the main reasons it can help improve your body composition is because it doesn’t have nearly the effect on your blood sugar levels as a high carbohydrate diet does, as we mentioned earlier. Protein doesn’t cause the insulin spikes that carbs do, and protein helps maintain lean muscle mass, unlike fat and carbohydrates. If you are looking to “tone” up, then I would highly recommend upping your protein intake. Even if it just means that instead of cereal for breakfast, you eat some eggs, it could be a great idea. Eating ample amounts of protein will provide the building blocks for your body to create more muscle, which can help to burn off excess fat.
Not all carbohydrates are good for you!
Refined, simple carbohydrates are not good for you at all. Obviously you know sugar is not good for you. So, if some carbohydrates are not good for you and some fats are not good for you, that leaves eating more protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs! The refined / simple carbs really have no nutritional value except for a crazy spike in your blood sugar. Examples of these kinds are breakfast cereals, syrup, sweets, table sugar, pop (soda), etc. The problem with these foods too is that they have an unbelievable amount of calories in them, and they don’t fill you up like that protein will.
Replace your “empty” snacks with snacks containing a moderate amount of protein.
If you can replace all of those high carbohydrate snacks with something that is moderate to high in protein, you will see a big difference. You will not only consume less calories overall, but you will have more steady energy and less crashes. Regular foods containing protein will have a much better impact on your body than these “empty” forms of carbohydrates.
It will leave you feeling more satisfied, and your body will thank you for the sustained energy!
Jared Enderton – Jared is a weightlifter, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and a nationally ranked weightlifter in the United States. He has earned his Bachelor’s Degree (with honors) in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Iowa. His certifications include: ACE-PT, CrossFit Level 1, and USAW- Sports Performance. He is also a former State Champion and All-American wrestler in the state of Iowa. In addition to working as a weightlifter and a personal trainer, Jared also has an extensive background in researching and selling sports supplements.