What Does Protein Do For The Body
Diets plans are everywhere. It seems like every other year a new diet plan is sweeping the nation. You have your Jenny Craig. The Paleo diet is a personal favorite of mine. Then there’s the Mayo diet, the vegetarian, the vegan, and the anti-inflammatory. You’ve got the Zone, intermittent fasting, and the South Beach. It’s easy to get lost in a wave of information. Something that is fairly consistent through different eating plans and diets is the importance of protein. Seems like this would be a good place to discuss what does protein do for the body.
What Is Protein
Proteins are large bio molecules consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. They play many critical roles in your body. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units – the amino acids. These are attached to each other in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids which can be combined to make a protein. It is the sequence of amino acids which determines each proteins unique structure and function. Who said biology isn’t fun? This lays the ground work for what does protein do for the body. Let’s take a look.
What Does Protein Do For The Body
Proteins perform a variety of functions in your body. Here are some of the major ones:
Transport & Store: These kinds of proteins bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout your body.
Messenger: Messenger proteins such as some types of hormones transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, organs. and tissues.
Antibody: Antibody proteins bind to specific foreign particles like viruses and bacteria to help protect your body.
Structural: Protein provides structure and support for cells. Looking on a more macro level they also allow your body to move.
Enzymes: Protein enzymes carry out almost all of the chemical reactions that takes place in your cells. They assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA.
What Does Protein Do For The Body – Volume 2
Here’s a few other key things that protein does for your body.
Maintains proper pH: Protein plays an important role in regulating the concentration of acids and bases in your blood and other bodily fluids. A constant pH is necessary as even a little change can be harmful or even potentially deadly.
Growth & Recovery: Your body requires protein for growth and maintenance of tissues. Your bodies protein needs are based on activity level and health. Under normal circumstances your body breaks down the same amount of protein that it uses to build and repair tissues.
Balances Fluids: Proteins regulate body processes to maintain fluid balance. Albumin and globulin are proteins in your blood that help maintain your bodies fluid balance by attracting and retaining water.
Increase Immune Health: Proteins help form immunoglobins, also known as antibodies, to help fight infections in your body. Antibodies are proteins in your blood that help protect your body from infections and viruses.
Now that we have a better understand of what does protein do for the body let’s take a look to see if you’re getting enough protein.
Do You Get Enough Protein
The question of do you get enough protein comes up frequently in weight lifting, diet, and healthy eating discussions. And as you might imagine the “correct” amount of protein you need depends upon the source you hear it from and what you are trying to accomplish. If you are happy with your weight and level of fitness, that’s one level of recommended protein. If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, that’s another answer.
Most official nutrition organizations recommend a modest protein intake. The DRI (or Dietary Reference Intake) recommends .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is also .36 grams per pound. This equates to 56 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams for the average sedentary woman.
If you are interested in losing weight you might consider increasing your protein intake. Many diets call for 30% of your total calorie intake to be protein. These are backed up with studies to show that if your diet consists of 30% being fueled by protein you will increase weight loss. This translates to 150 grams of protein per day, based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet.
If you are trying to gain muscle the need to increase protein has been proven as well. Many muscle growth diet plans call for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if I’m a 160 pounds man trying to put on muscle, I will need 160 grams a protein per day to fuel those big boy muscles I’m growing. This has been a bodybuilding rule of thumb for decades.
Protein Is an Important Diet Tool
I mention this above but it’s worth repeating since so many people are worried about losing weight. Increasing your protein intake to make up a greater proportion of your calories is a great weight loss tool to have in your arsenal.
Many studies have shown that eating protein can increase the number of calories you burn everyday by giving your metabolic rate a boost up. It also can help reduce your appetite.
When you have a diet that includes 25% – 30% protein you’ll get an increase in your metabolism that translates to burning 80-100 more calories per day.
Protein is great at helping to reduce your appetite. Why you might ask? Because protein keeps you feeling full much better than both carbs and fat. How’s that for a shout out to protein!?
Easy Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake
If you decide you want to increase your protein intake for one reason or another here are some easy ways to accomplish that. It’s certainly something to consider now that you have a better idea of what does protein do for the body. Here we go!
Snack on cheese – When you need something for a snack have a stick or some bites of cheese as well as something else (like an apple). Everyone likes cheese.
Protein powder – Putting protein powder in a smoothie is an excellent and easy way to pump up your protein intake.
Use Peas – Peas have 8 grams of protein per cup. Anytime I have a salad I try to load up on peas as a topping.
Beef jerky – I was just thinking about this. I have an inexpensive dehydrator that I have used to make beef jerky. So much cheaper than buying it and just as good.
Try protein water – Yes, there is such a thing. I’ve never tried it but heard it’s kind of sweet.
Include protein at every meal – For the most part this isn’t that hard. Probably the toughest is breakfast. Get creative and eat some protein for breakfast.
Well gang, we’ve taken a look inside what does protein do for the body. As you can see it does a lot. If you didn’t already know it you’ve now got a better perspective on how important protein is. With so many people wanting to either lose weight or get in better shape, having enough protein is absolutely essential.
It’s not that difficult to increase your protein intake. Just takes some awareness to your current diet and a willingness to make a few changes. You might find it helps you achieve some results you’ve wanted for a while. There’s a saying out there I’ve heard more than a few times,”abs are made in the kitchen”.