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The Benefits of Protein Beyond Building Muscle

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The Benefits of Protein Beyond Building Muscle

Protein and muscles. Muscles and protein. Those two things seem to always be paired together as if all they cared about was each other. But shortchanging protein as just being useful to muscles is doing the nutrient a major disservice. In reality, protein is integral to many components of our body’s physiology and works to keep you healthy beyond maintaining muscle.

Before we take a deeper dive into the ways protein benefits the body, it’s important to understand how bodies utilize dietary protein. When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids in several steps, starting in the mouth and ending in the small intestine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and can be strung together in endless combinations to create new, different proteins. DNA found within your cells acts like the “quarterback” of amino acids, instructing them how to combine based on the job they are required to do. Since our bodies are made of hard-working proteins, there are endless ways amino acids from food can be used.


All Whites logoAllWhites® are lower in fat, calories and cholesterol and higher in protein than shell eggs, providing energy for every day. If you are an egg lover, you can enjoy your favorite food while feeling good about your choice.


PROTEIN BENEFITS FOR EVERY BODY

Our bodies are made up of proteins from our head to our toes. While muscles are the most evident and well-known place protein is at work, there are many more ways it helps you on a daily basis:

DIGESTION AND POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY

Enzymes are facilitators of many of the metabolic functions that happen around the body. They work to build, break apart and rearrange amino acids related to digestion, protein creation or tissue building.

TRANSPORTS VITAL BODY COMPOUNDS

There are many compounds in the body that work to transport substances from place to place and all are made of proteins. Perhaps the most well-known example is hemoglobin in the blood, which transports life-giving oxygen and lipoproteins, which enables the transport of lipid substances in the watery blood.

BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM

The body has an amazing immune system designed to fight infection and disease. The antibodies in the immune system are made of protein and integral to capturing and defending against viruses. Adequate dietary protein is required to maintain a robust army of antibodies, which can be compromised in the absence of protein or low total calorie intake.

CONTROLS APPETITE AND KEEPS YOU SATISFIED LONGER

Research has shown that a higher-protein meal or snack helps to reduce hunger and extend the feeling of satiety. Specifically, a higher dose of protein (starting at 30 grams) has been shown to suppress the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin early on in a meal, as well increasing the satiety hormone CCK. This translates to you feeling satisfied more quickly in a meal.

LINKED TO BETTER GUT HEALTH

Preliminary research suggests protein — particularly branched chain amino acids — might play a role in the health of intestinal bacteria. This does not necessarily mean a high-protein diet benefits your gut health, but there are definitely protein-derived components of the microbiome.

Written by Jenna Braddock, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition. She is a mom to two little boys and wife to a football coach. She shares real-life strategies for better health and doable, delicious recipes on her site Make Healthy Easy. She is active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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  • Carrie Bradshaw

    Shame on you, My Fitness Pal, for passing off a paid ad as a legitimate blog post. While egg whites contain protein, the yolk has the bulk of vital nutrients. The cholesterol is HDL, or the “good” type that doesn’t promote heart disease. And a natural source of folate, which helps prevent birth defects. You’re doing a great disservice to your readers for posting false information.

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  • Edna & Preston Roque- Robertso

    I don’t like to eat, I know that may seem odd but I’ve grown tired of eating. It’s no longer a crutch for me . I know I need protein but I would have to force myself to eat which then causes my body to hold on to it for dear life because it may not see food for a long time. I know that I need to retrain my brain,to accept food as a source of fuel and once again enjoy cooking but my illness took everything away from me,that’s when this started. But I take my many meds even though I hate them so I have to eat and then exercise to get control of myself. I can control that,right?