Protein is a hot topic in the industry right now – and we’re seeing it creeping in as an added ingredient in all kinds of unexpected places, from milkshakes to snack bars, in stores across the country. But, in this ever-growing body conscious market, is it just a fad or is it as important as we are being led to believe?
Protein is what our bodies use to heal and repair tissue – from hair and nails to skin, enzymes and hormones – essentially, protein is the Lego bricks that make up everything inside us. Whether you’re just trying to live your normal life, or you’re working hard to bulk your body into muscular gains and bodybuilder fame, you need to be sure you’re getting the right amount – and right kinds – of protein.
So, do we need to stick to foods which are naturally rich in this Lego brick magic, or shall we grab a few of those milkshakes on our way through the lunch queues? Let’s look at some of the reasons it matters.
Often, when we reach for a sugary treat or fizzy drink, it isn’t an instant energy fix we are craving – but instead is our bodies crying out for the building blocks it needs to keep performing. Protein gives us the energy we need, and the components our body needs for literally any process – so stick to snacking on protein rich alternatives, and cut back on those fast-acting sugars which just trick you into feeling a boost.
Stay fuller for longer
Fatty or carb laden breakfasts might get our hearts racing – but they will also get your hunger rushing back before you know it, and you’ll crash mid-morning, desperate for another bacon butty! If you opt for foods packed with protein in place of your cereal or toast you’ll hold hunger at bay for far longer – and be less tempted to snack mid-morning.
Keep it up!
There are many sources quoting different figures for precisely how much protein you need – and it shouldn’t all come from the same source (chicken breast for every meal, anyone?!) but on average, most studies find that women need around 80 grams of protein a day, and men a little more, at up to 120 grams; this varies from person to person, and depends on your body type and activity levels – but in general, it’s best to be sure you’re getting a good range of protein from various sources (and don’t fall into the trap of thinking those all have to be animal products; vegans can get their fix from pulses, beans, nuts and seeds, and soy based foods like tofu).
Whether you’re aiming to body build or just need a healthy energy boost which will protect your body and rejuvenate you on a cellular level (literally!) protein’s importance is being recognised on a growing scale – and this might just be one dietary fad that stands the test of time.