Protein is one of the most essential nutrients when it comes to a balanced diet. It gives your organs and muscles their strength and can help build muscle and maintain it. It’s essential for wellness for the general individual, as well as performance for bodybuilders and other athletes.
Strangely, most of what we hear about protein is either false or widely misunderstood. Part of this is a scientific process: Our understanding of what nutrition looks like evolves over time. New research doesn’t necessarily change the field constantly, but years and decades of separation bring new knowledge.
Because of this, it becomes important to dispel protein myths. Discovering the truth about protein helps you better integrate it into your diet and understand more about our bodies.
Holding hard to disproven truths can have negative effects. On the lesser end, you may get less from your workouts and meals. On the worse end, you may be actively sabotaging yourself.
Olivers is dedicated to helping people be their best. This takes dedication, devotion, and knowledge. Keeping abreast of the latest information takes work, but it doesn’t have to be challenging.
Read on — it’s time to change the way we see protein.
How Protein Works: The Building Blocks
We all know that protein influences muscle growth. However, the particular way in which muscle growth is influenced by protein has to do with other factors. These relate to the overall function of protein in the body.
Protein allows for maintaining the strength and shape of your tissues. These include musculature and other elements. Your body needs protein in order to respond to outside stimuli, particularly where an injury is related. For this reason, those suffering from illness or injury have a higher need for extra protein than others.
All About Protein Consumption
At the same time, your body can only reliably use a certain amount of protein. Eating too much protein can cause waste to build up in your blood, aggravating kidney diseases. This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly cut a swath in your protein intake; Extra protein is primarily an issue for those suffering or predisposed to kidney disease.
Your body utilizes protein through a process known as protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is a complex enough process that some hypothesize all creatures which perform it share a common ancestor.
In protein synthesis, your body links together essential amino acids to create linked chains of protein. These are then utilized where necessary, including replacing degraded or used-up protein molecules.
When building muscle mass, your body is actually healing injuries. Muscle growth occurs due to microscopic injuries within a muscle group being healed by your protein. These new muscles grow back larger, and potentially stronger.
The process of exercise also improves the rate of protein synthesis in regards to a need for more protein in your body. This relationship is complex but redefines the way we can examine our own relationship with protein.
Even if you suddenly find yourself temporarily unable to work out, a solid protein intake and healthy eating habits can aid the healing process.
How the Body Processes Protein
Your body can only process so much protein at once. That excess protein is usually stored as fat while your body excretes the amino acids. This can cause weight gain, which depending on your particular needs, may be helpful.
As implied above, increasing your activity level increases the amount of protein your body uses. Getting enough protein in specialized circumstances, such as recovery or maintaining or increasing body weight, may require consulting a dietitian. Generally, a daily protein intake of .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended.
This recommended dietary allowance implies that even sedentary men should consume around 56 grams of protein a day. Getting enough protein isn’t just for athletes; It’s essential for healthy bodily function.
How Protein Fits in Your Diet
We, as a civilization, are obsessed with our protein intake. Protein bars, protein powder, protein supplements, and more all serve to ensure we get enough protein. Not all protein foods are created equally, unfortunately. Our sources of protein matter just as much as their individual protein content.
Popular wisdom states that some sources of protein, such as red meat, may contribute to heart disease over time. Yet, there is a broader study that may impact your choice between animal and plant protein entirely.
A 2020 study compared blood pressure in those who maintained an omnivorous diet with those who consumed only plant protein: Those who consumed plant protein saw a significant, healthy reduction in blood pressure. On the other hand, those who consumed animal protein saw no noticeable change in their blood pressure.
This suggests that plant protein may reduce the risk of heart disease and related illnesses.
No matter what protein you eat, it is essential that it is complete. Proteins consist of amino acids, which also go for those we consume. There are nine amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and must be acquired through diet. A good source of protein contains all nine of these.
One myth about complete protein is that no plant adequately provides enough protein to live healthily. This is a blatant myth, with foods such as quinoa proving it wrong.
Protein and Other Substances
Protein, carbs, and fats have often been in close discussion for their importance as macronutrients. All help provide the body with the energy to do what it does. Historically, fats and carbohydrates have both been demonized for supposedly being an enemy of health and weight alike.
We’re now rethinking this. Fats improve the function of particular organs like the liver and brain. It has also been thoroughly proven that only some fats are bad. Some protein sources, like Greek yogurt, are somewhat devoid of fat. Integrating dietary proteins rich in both amino acids and healthy fats can help boost your performance more than other foods.
Carbohydrates and proteins have a complex relationship. The former, like whole grains, is a better source of energy, while the latter makes for an essential structural tool in our body.
Many food groups that are high in one aren’t necessarily high in the other. This makes whole meals rather than individual snacks important in maintaining an intake of both.
You should aim to eat both pre-workout and post-workout. The fact that fats are accepted as good opens up a wide realm of dietary choices for your day. Eating the same exact foods constantly may get boring after enough time.
Debunking the Protein Myths
False information about protein, whether it be about how it works or your needed grams of protein, will always exist. Dietary science is constantly evolving, giving us a fresh understanding of how our bodies work. On another level, old misinformation can be repeated to the point that it becomes easy to disprove and hard to remove.
It takes a critical eye to sift through new developments to uncover the truth behind these complex issues. The stakes are in some ways higher, especially depending on your needs. Properly calling on protein can increase your physical fitness while also protecting your cardiovascular health.
And knowing where to find this new information matters too. Our love of technical performance apparel comes from a love of doing our best every day. This includes the newest evolution in fabrics and the latest scientific developments.