How Does Protein Help With Your Body Composition Goals?
Let's look at this from two perspectives:
1. Muscle Gain
We can think of protein as being the "building blocks of muscle." When we exercise or workout, we're essentially breaking down muscles in order for it to grow back stronger. However, this growth may not be optimized without adequate protein intake. Thus, the role of protein is to help preserve and repair the damaged muscles so that it can become bigger and stronger.
It also takes a lot more effort for the body to maintain muscles (compared to fat). This implies that for an individual with lots of muscle mass, he or she will burn more calories compared to a different individual of the same weight, but without lots of muscle mass - just by existing! Burning more calories, as we know, leads to our next point, fat loss.
2. Fat Loss
Protein is especially important for fat loss. As we've just mentioned, protein helps to preserve and build muscle, which in turn helps with fat loss by burning more calories. To put very simply, the formula for fat loss is calories in < calories out. Protein helps with controlling (reducing) overall caloric intake because it has high satiety (keeps you full!) Our protein also has added fiber for an extra boost of fullness. Another way that protein increases caloric expenditure is through the thermic effect of food (TEF). This is more complicated but basically, it takes your body more energy to digest protein than it does with other macronutrients (i.e., fats or carbs). As a result of using more energy, the body also burns more calories.
Taken together, you can see how protein consumption can lead to your body composition goals, whether to gain muscle, lose fat, or just to maintain and live a happy life 😊